I was going to post about something more philosophical or faith related. But, since my last science post was such a roaring success, (it garnered the first visit here by someone who didn’t know me, Jarrn) let’s do it one more time! I wanted to share with people a little bit about scientific investigation. This is probably just for the Christians reading this blog that want to know why I think what I think for scientific reasons. If a Christian is going to disagree with me on natural history for theological reasons, they are free to. They are not likely interested in science, or do not yet understand it. A non-christian will likely read this as a “No Duh” rant. So nothing there.But if a Christian disagrees with my endorsement of mainstream science (biology, geology, cosmology, etc.) for scientific reasons, this is for you! If you’re not here for that, I can’t guarantee you’ll get much out of this. Let get this party started…
Let’s start with biological evolution. That’s where the bulk of my study has been done. First off, one of the most important sites in this whole debate is talkorigins.org. I won’t go into detail on what it is and why it’s there, I’ll let the curious investigate. But these T.O. FAQs will answer:
- what evolution is not
- what evolution is
- why evolution is science and
- what the evidence for evolutionary principles are.
So why do I agree with mainstream science in these areas? The short summary is the YEC/OEC/ID communities have grossly misrepresented evolutionary principles and tremendously obfuscated the nature of scientific enquiry (see point 1 above).
Just so you know I was a dyed-in-the-wool YEC. For years I studied Morris, Ham, Gish, Barshaw and, more recently, Hovind. I read ICR literature, Answers in Genesis literature and attended YEC seminars. I was YEC as YEC gets.
Years went by. With the advent of the internet I started finding things like TalkOrigins and the ASA. I found that mainstream science was, in fact, science. Evolution was not a religion like so many YEC/OEC folks claim. It was science. It made predictions. It could be falsified! Do you realize I lived for 10 years thinking that no evolutionary principle was falsifiable? Boy, was I wrong! It is very falsifiable, yet stands the tests of time and rigorous enquiry. “Scientific” Creationism is in no way falsifiable and therefore, by definition, is not a scientific model.
I learned that almost every scrap of “evidence” for YEC/OEC was either anecdotal evidence, fraudulent evidence, just-plain-wrong evidence all presented consistently with fallacious reasoning. I also learned that these heavy-hitters I mentioned above, systematically refused to address legitimate criticism raised about these issues. The current ID movement is following the same path. So if you wonder why the YEC/OEC/ID ideas are treated with such contempt in academic circles, it’s not because the critics are anti-God or anti-Bible; though sometimes the critics are atheists. It’s because the critics have consistently presented legitimate criticisms which have been ignored almost continually since the beginning of these movements. This demonstrates tremendous intellectual dishonesty in the YEC/OEC/ID movements.
On top of that the YEC/OEC/ID movements are completely scientifically vacuous. (Sorry for the long link). Scientific enquiry is about posing a hypothesis that results in a falsifiable prediction. These YEC/OEC/ID ideas (based on Arguments from Ignorance and Post Hoc reasoning) make no such predictions and, thus, are both vacuous in prediction and are non-falsifiable. As such, they are like bailing water out of a sinking ship at the same rate at which the water is coming in… while just twenty feet from the beach… for twenty years. It’s an awful lot of work, and it’s completely pointless (from a scientific standpoint).
This is the tip of the iceberg. The principles of evolution in biology are just one such topic. Cosmology and abiogenesis are other areas of contention. But I have not yet studied them as much. I’ve been researching biology for only a couple of years now, and I’m just scratching the surface. So I will hopefully get to touch these other areas in due time. In summary, I do not let the Bible color my view of science. People are free to disagree with me on theological grounds (I pretty much expect that). But if you want to disagree with me on scientific grounds, well, that’s empirical. As such, there is a “correct” and “incorrect” way of looking at things. Theology doesn’t often give us such absolutes