Skip to comments.Academic freedom for creation explanation
Posted on 03/19/2009 10:26:55 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
As a freshman, I haven't been at UT-Martin for very long. But some problems are so obvious that they don't take very long to notice.
In my studies I quickly realized that when it comes to the theory of evolution, Darwin is the only one who gets to answer questions-or ask them.
I want to question this theory-to test it; check its credentials. And I want honest, thoughtful answers to my questions, not pre-formulated quips and deflections. But I have learned that if I'm not an evolutionist, my questions don't get credited, or even heard.
When I ask why theories such as intelligent design are discredited so off-handedly, I typically hear, "Because intelligent design involves metaphysics, but evolution is based only on facts." Well, I am not so sure.
Obviously, Darwin observed mutation and selection processes within the finch species of the Galapagos. But was he really seeing the extreme mutation and selection that would be required to make a bird out of a dinosaur?
It seems to me Darwin's idea of increasingly specialized life descending from simple, single-celled creatures, was entirely conjectural.
The theory might have had its roots in meticulous observation, but considering what we now know, the theory no longer seems to adequately explain such things as biodiversity and the origins of life. Never mind that paleontologists have yet to uncover the majority of "common ancestors."
Never mind that textbooks must be rewritten every time a greater understanding of genetics tells us that birds are actually reptilians; that humans are closer kin to sand dollars than ants or bees.
Never mind the leap of faith required to explain how incredibly complex single-celled life could have possibly developed from a floating mass of random proteins and minerals.
The scientific community assures me that evolution will undoubtedly produce answers to all these problems. But in the meantime, nobody else is allowed to say anything. If you ask me, this isn't academic freedom. True academic freedom would look like a variety of scientists, with differing opinions, having open and respectful debates about their ideas.
It would look like evolutionists actually being willing to learn what intelligent design advocates think, instead of dismissing them off-hand as religious fanatics or Creationists.
On April 6, a non-religious, non-political student organization will be hosting Ben Stein's documentary "Expelled" on campus.
If you are an evolutionist, I encourage you to come and see it and prove that reason, respect, and open minds still factor into today's science.
“...if I’m not an evolutionist, my questions don’t get credited, or even heard.”
I assume that you’re referring to a science class. If so, and if you are challenging evolution on the basis of faith, then you should not be surprised.
I would ask, no demand, evolution to answer the crucial questions to their argument: how microorganisms evolve into people, how lifeless matter became life and where that matter came from in the first place. Taking their argument at face value because they don’t want to deal in metaphysics is bogus. If they can’t prove intelligent design is false, then it remains a possibility, and, if intellugent design is true, then its basis is no longer in theology alone.
Only faith in philosphical naturalism is allowed in 'science' class. This faith is based on 2 fallacies.
First is the fallacy where P is assumed since P implies Q, Q implies P, and Q is observed. This is known as the fallacy of affirming the consequent.
Second is the fallacy where philosophical naturalism is assumed because natural laws exist. This is the fallacy of false cause or non sequitur.
Those two fallacies are all that are needed to justify ignoring all potential causes that do not assume philosophical naturalism 'a priori'.
Why just evolutionary biology? Why not demand that every discipline either explain where any matter or energy they deal with came from, or stop teaching?
“If they cant prove intelligent design is false, then it remains a possibility,...”
Evolution IS intelligent design!
How weak your Christian faith must be to find solace in such logical fallacies. Such is the basis of all creation “science”, unfortunately. Evolution and Christianity are perfectly compatible.
The one question Darwin couldn’t answer. What came first the chicken or the egg?
There war whole books written on how a single cell in our body works and all of them put together still can’t fully explain it and we are supposed to believe that we accidentally evolved from non-living bits of carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen?
Why are you saying his faith is weak when he’s pointing out logical fallacies in the current mindset? He’s said nothing about his own faith, beliefs, or opinions.
In other words, what you’ve done is a cousin of the fallacy of saying “you’re wrong, so I must be right.”
You know, I can wrap my brain around the difficult concept that maybe matter always existed. But, how do lifeless solids and gasses spawn life? If they can explain that, I'll start to listen to their argument.
Not at all.
As I read the post, the original poster claimed that science follows a certain “logical” process. He was wrong in his specifics.
Is it just lifeless solids and gasses spawing life, or the existence of life with the ability to evolve?
I am in full support of you. Hoping for an excellent turn out and open minds.
My son is doing an Origins course including works by Dembski and Behe and others supporting ID and, of course, Darwin and Dawkins supporting THE MONOLITHIC IMMOVABLE TRUTH. We are doing this at home since such open exploration of ALL possibilities is not welcome in the classroom. All perspectives on origins work with the same facts, but come at them from different presumptions and end up with vastly different conclusions. All sides require *faith* in the end imo. It is equally improbable to the human mind that all things came from nothing spontaneously w/o forethought(whence the elements?) or that all things came from an Intelligent Source. One side won’t admit this.
Historically, the scientific community always flips its whig at upstarts (and ends up wrong more often than not).
I’ve tried on many posts to explain why theology and science co-exist but do not trump each other. Science is about observations and experimentation. Theology is faith. Trust in both but don’t try to make one justify the other.
I believe there are two subtle alternative definitions of the word, “Falsifiable,” and much of the debate between creationists and evolutionists revolves around these definitions.
* Ideas are falsifiable when there is some conceivable experiment to test them, but the test may or may not be possible today. This was the view of Karl Popper;
* Ideas are falsifiable when there is some experiment which can be conducted under present scientific knowledge to test them.
If we adopt the first definition, an idea is falsifiable if some conceivable experiment could test it, then we run into a major problem: Which experiments are conceivable?
First, if the history of science has shown anything, it’s that scientists are capable of devising new and ingenious experiments to test ideas. For thousands of years, the Greek and Pagan geocentric Ptolemaic system was adopted by the Church as truth, until Copernicus and Galileo found means to test it. An experiment may be inconceivable one day and conceivable the next. The only difference is the presence of a scientist to conceive of a new experiment to solve the problem.
Second, the ability to conceive is a very subjective and imaginative ability. One person may “conceive a possible experiment” while another may not. Thus our definition of which experiments are “conceivable” or not depends entirely on our imagination. It does not depend on objective facts at all. For example:
I can conceive of an experiment to test for creation vs. evolution. I can build a time machine, travel 6,000 years in the past, and see if there is a Garden east of Eden with two naked people in it (as predicted by creationism), or countless tribes of nomadic men and women settling into agriculture. This would certainly falsify creationism or evolutionism once and for all. But the experiment cannot be conducted, because I don’t have a time machine. Consequently, although this experiment is conceivable, the ideas are still not falsifiable, because the experiment cannot be conducted.
Clearly, defining ideas as falsifiable when they could “conceivably” be falsified is not a useful definition, for two reasons:
* First, scientists conceive of new experiments that were once inconceivable on a daily basis, thus making unfalsifiable ideas falsifiable. Unfalsifiable ideas are in fact the lifeblood of science, because they are the fuel that drives the experiments of tomorrow.
* Second, the definition is not useful because it leaves the criteria for “science vs. non-science” entirely in the imagination of the scientist. For while many experiments may be conceived, they are not useful unless they can be conducted.
This leaves us with the second definition: “Ideas are falsifiable when they are capable of being tested under today’s scientific knowledge.” This leaves us with a much better defined list of ideas which are falsifiable and those which are unfalsifiable. Falsifiable ideas can be tested today, and unfalsifiable ideas cannot be tested today. There is no ambiguity. Nothing is left to our imagination. The experiment either can be conducted or cannot be conducted.
This leads us to a second point: Unfalsifiable ideas are not necessarily false. We simply can’t test them. If we adopt the first definition of falsifiability, that we must be able to “conceive” of an experiment to test the idea, then unfalsifiable ideas are useless, because they can never be tested and thus never become science.
But if we adopt the second definition of falsifiability, that we must be able to perform the experiment to test the idea, then we acknowledge that things which are not testable today may become testable tomorrow, and the goal of science becomes to expand the range of human knowledge by finding ways to test what is not yet testable. Under this definition, unfalsifiable ideas become the lifeblood of science, because it is from them that new experiments are tested, new discoveries made, and new science developed.
So, when we define as falsifiable ideas which may “conceivably be tested,” we call things unfalsifiable and unscientific when we cannot “conceive” of an experiment to test them, and call things falsifiable and scientific when we can conceive of such an experiment. But no actual experiments need be conducted. Therefore there is no objective test to determine whether or not an idea is scientific. The whole process takes place in our imagination, and is subject to the scope of our imagination. And if a person is incapable of imagining a test for an idea, then that idea becomes eternally unfalsifiable and unscientific, never to be tested. Ideas which may be true are tagged as unscientific simply because scientists cannot yet test them.
In the end, a superficial definition of falsifiability is used to exclude those ideas which, although possibly true, do not fit into the scientist’s “paradigm.”
But when we define as falsifiable those ideas which may “be tested today,” we call things unfalsifiable when we cannot test them and falsifiable when we can test them. Consequently, there is an objective test to determine which are falsifiable and which are not; it does not depend on our imagination, it depends on objective science. Further, unfalsifiable ideas are not seen as a roadblock to science, but as the future of science, as scientists develop and improve their ability to experiment, and turn unfalsifiable ideas into falsifiable ones.
How weak your critical-thinking skills must be to find solace in ignoring logical fallacies when they form the basis of a competing philosophy masquerading as empirically-based reason.
" Such is the basis of all creation science, unfortunately."
Failing to recognize that any 'theory' based on logical fallacies is actually based on faith ultimately leads to perfectly nonsensical statements offered in complete sincerity and utter stupidity. Such is the basis of 'science' based in philosophical naturalism, unfortunately.
"Evolution and Christianity are perfectly compatible."
To say the evolution is perfectly compatible with Christianity is to say that faith in philosophical naturalism is perfectly compatible with faith in a supernatural creator. IOW, perfect nonsense.
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