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Author Topic:   Creation Science and the Methodology of Scientific Inquiry
TrueCreation
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 8 (50959)
08-18-2003 11:45 PM


I'm attempting to write an essay on the nature of science and the flaws of 'creation science'. A brief intro/overview of my initial thoughts are given in this small draft for a beginning to the essay. This topic doesn't have to be focused on 'the paper' but the discussion of the nature of science, creation science, and the methodology to sound scientific inquiry. Basically just looking for comments, suggestions, or disagreements for that which I have done here:

Creation Science and the Methodology of Scientific Inquiry
Chris Grose

In the attempts to reconstruct the history of the earth, life, and the cosmos there is the requirement of fundamental principles to the methodology of scientific inquiry. Science is often misrepresented in meaning. Science is not merely a synonym for 'knowledge' but involves the interpretation of data and detailed observation in order to explain the natural world. The important factor of potential falsifiability has become the pinnacle requirement in order to call an inquiry scientific. The development of a scientific hypothesis requires that there be the potential for physical observation or modeling of the relevant dynamic processes to falsify itself.

That science merely involves observation, measurement, and experimentation undermines the ability for scientific inquiry to reconstruct a model of history. Just because there has been no documentation of a historical event does not mean that we cannot hypothesize that an event has taken place and perform a detailed analysis to potentially falsify its occurrence.

I would have to argue that there should be no such thing as 'creation science'. Creation science was developed to counter the growing acceptance of an old age for the earth and the development of evolutionary theory. Since 'creation science' is believed to be the alternative science, the new buzz-word of 'evolution science' has been forwarded as the opposition. The problem is that neither of these terms imply an alteration in the methodology of scientific inquiry--or at least they should not. It would be ridiculous to alter the meaning of science, the requirements for deeming something as scientific, or especially to add a required presupposition(such as an old/young earth, or in this case, creation and evolution). In all respects to the advancement of science, I must confess, you either have science, or you don't--"creation science" and "evolution science" by this reasoning and in the authors opinion, should be discredited and are pseudo-sciences.

Indeed, you can develop competing alternatives to the origins and evolution of the earth, life, and the cosmos but no scientific inquiry should ever be performed with required presupposition before it can be rightly deemed 'scientific'. Getting rid of the term 'creation science' or rendering it pseudo-science will not be detrimental to the potentially young earth because the young earth does not have to be based on scientific inquiries with the creation presupposition. The creation should not be presupposed, but inferred from the data. The young earth is potentially falsifiable by many means, and the implications thereof are important to consider. If the earth is very young it can be logically inferred that there must have been some point of initial creation. That the earth and the life on it is young it would be implausible--for obvious reasons--to say that its development and origin ex nihilo would have been entirely naturalistic.

Catastrophic geology is currently under considerable development and is a good example in which we can apply the current authors thoughts on science and creation science--the presuppositions of the latter most particularly. When we look at the geologic record we should not turn to the presuppositions of creation science before we interpret the data. If it is discovered that there is an inconsistency with any presupposition of creation science we need to accept it as scientifically valid and hope that further research will reveal the veracity of an event.

Table 1. Some examples of the presuppositions of creation science

Young Earth (6,000 - 10,000 years old) Global Flood 4,500 - 5,500 years ago
radioisotopic dates not reliable All land dwelling, air breathing life not on the ark died
No "Big Bang" lasted ~1 year
Life created after their kinds 40 days rain
life spans were very long pre-flood After 150 days, dry land appears
all of that seen in geology cannot be older than 10,000 2 - 7 of every kind survived the flood on board the ark
Aspects of the universe were created in the order given in Genesis landmasses rose and sank during the flood
"days" in genesis do not represent periods of time fountains of the great deep broke upen
various languages created after the tower of Babel was built all sediments containing metazoan life layed down during the flood

Some examples of the presuppositions of creation science are given in Table 1. Should we perform our scientific inquiries with the requirement that all of these be absolutely true, and if the data indicate otherwise, it should be rejected? Many young earth creationists would readily say yes to that question. However, when we do this we are rejecting the scientific method and are deceiving ourselves. We should not perform research inquiries--instead what we should do is hope that these tenents of creation science can be concluded from the research, without exception.

[Formatted and prettified table. TC, while linefeeds are not significant in HTML, they are very significant in a message - each linefeed gets translated to <br>. --Admin]

[This message has been edited by Admin, 08-19-2003]


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by Mammuthus, posted 08-19-2003 4:54 AM TrueCreation has not yet responded
 Message 8 by Percy, posted 08-19-2003 4:23 PM TrueCreation has not yet responded

  
Mammuthus
Member (Idle past 4617 days)
Posts: 3085
From: Munich, Germany
Joined: 08-09-2002


Message 2 of 8 (50988)
08-19-2003 4:54 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by TrueCreation
08-18-2003 11:45 PM


Hi TC,
I like it but I am curious as to your target audience?
I think you could also extend the essay to include the problems with intelligent design i.e. no testable or falsifiable hypothesis.

Also I appreciate the emphasis on falsifying hypotheses and that science is not the attempt to a priori exclude other hypothesis for an aesthetic or favored hypothesis/theory.


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Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by PaulK, posted 08-19-2003 6:32 AM Mammuthus has responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 14959
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 3 of 8 (50997)
08-19-2003 6:32 AM
Reply to: Message 2 by Mammuthus
08-19-2003 4:54 AM


I thought that it was pretty obivously written for creationists. There is no mention of the doubts about YEC views TC has expressed on these boards - it may be that these have been omitted because a creationist audience would have a negative reaction to any suggestion that the results we already have are very strongly against their preusppositions (cf Glen Morton's experiences, while still a creationist).
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Mammuthus
Member (Idle past 4617 days)
Posts: 3085
From: Munich, Germany
Joined: 08-09-2002


Message 4 of 8 (51003)
08-19-2003 6:55 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by PaulK
08-19-2003 6:32 AM


Then I am obviously too thick to realize who the target audience is I truly doubt hardcore creationists will be particularly enthusiastic about an essay explaining why creation science is not science. I do favor TC's approach of explaining falsifiability as a criteria..in case one or two creationist/IDists actually tries the mental game of seeing if they can come up with a testable hypothesis and defining what would falsify their hypothesis.
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Replies to this message:
 Message 5 by PaulK, posted 08-19-2003 7:06 AM Mammuthus has responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 14959
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.1


Message 5 of 8 (51004)
08-19-2003 7:06 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by Mammuthus
08-19-2003 6:55 AM


Well I would assume that it is written for creationists who beleive that their views can be scientifically supported and who care about scientific credibility.

OK, some creationists would be put off by ANY criticism of creationism. But it is certainly possible that there are those that might be receptive to a case for improving the quality of their arguments.

But if it is not written for creationists - and YECs at that - then who COULD it be written for ? TC has no need to suppress the views he has expressed here to any other audience. Who else would object to the fact that TC has concluded that the Earth is probably older than 10,000 years ?


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Mammuthus
Member (Idle past 4617 days)
Posts: 3085
From: Munich, Germany
Joined: 08-09-2002


Message 6 of 8 (51005)
08-19-2003 7:31 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by PaulK
08-19-2003 7:06 AM


quote:
Well I would assume that it is written for creationists who beleive that their views can be scientifically supported and who care about scientific credibility.

Now that is a small audience!

But you are probably right...I have heard rumors that some creationists sites no longer post Kent Dr.Dino Hovind's crap because it is so fallacious that even they do not want to be associated.

I still think TC's essay would reach a broader group by including Intelligent Design as that group has not presented a testable and falsifiable hypothesis. But creationists for the most part are completely lacking in background and understanding of scientific methodology so hopefully TC can reach a few...not to necessarily change their minds but at least get some of them away from the "evilusion aint true cuz my cat did not give birth to a cow" type of arguing.


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Loudmouth
Inactive Member


Message 7 of 8 (51155)
08-19-2003 2:42 PM


Just a few suggestions:

1. Delve more into the origins of each theory. That is, evolutionary theory came about after looking at the natural world, and the theory was formed to fit the data. In creation science, the theory (even though creationists would call it more than a theory) was made before any data was looked at. I think you allude to these facts, but to me this the most glaring difference between the methodology of the two camps.

2. In the same vein you might also talk about the scientific communities on both sides. Science is by nature a peer reviewed proccess. To make a claim you have to open yourself to criticism on your data, methodology, and conclusions. Creation science lacks many of these traits, for example the Bible is thought to be infallible in relation to the origin and diversity of life without the need for supporting data. I happen to be in the science field and have published one paper. Before the paper was published, it went through an anonymous peer review process where comments on methodology and data were made as well as further experimentation that they felt was needed before conclusions could be safely drawn from the data. Imagine anyone in creation science exposing their data to scrutiny from the scientific community (both camps) before publishing. Books are usually a different matter, but they usually draw from the large pool of published lab/field experimentation instead of specific novel discoveries.

3. Bias seems to be a word thrown around a lot by both sides. I would agree that evolutionists do have bias, but its backed up by a mountain of evidence. Creationists bring up this bias and accuse science of being exclusionary with respect to interpretation. However, as we have all seen, creationists exclude the premise that the diversity of species is explained wholly by natural causes. Both camps are biased, agreed. The big question is who would change their mind if shown evidence contrary to their opinion? More accurately, which model of speciation is falsifiable. I think most evolutionary scientists would eat crow if fossilized modern lions were found next to fossilized trilobites in a rock formation shown to be of the same era as the birth of trilobites. ToE by its very nature, dependent on evidence alone, is falsifiable. Who among the crationist camp has given us an example of how creation could be falsifiable? And if that evidence was found, would they give it up, creationism that is? Doubtful, but I think this illustrates the point. Theories dependent on evidence from experimentation and observation can be falsified by those very same methodologies, while theories based on ideology can only be "falsified" by a competing ideology. Faith based on physical evidence is much different than Faith based on philosophy.

Like a said, just a few suggestions, but what you have so far sounds great. Good luck.

Edited for clarity and material added. Got interrupted by lunch.

[This message has been edited by Loudmouth, 08-19-2003]


  
Percy
Member
Posts: 18431
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.7


Message 8 of 8 (51165)
08-19-2003 4:23 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by TrueCreation
08-18-2003 11:45 PM


TC writes:

That science merely involves observation, measurement, and experimentation undermines the ability for scientific inquiry to reconstruct a model of history. Just because there has been no documentation of a historical event does not mean that we cannot hypothesize that an event has taken place and perform a detailed analysis to potentially falsify its occurrence.

This is sufficiently ambiguous that it provides a lot of wiggle room, but it appears to represent a special pleading that you can hypothesize an event for which you have no evidence, and hence is not science.

The rest seems fine.

--Percy


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