FACT • “An observation that
has been repeatedly conﬁrmed, and for all practical purposes, is accepted as ‘true’” (National Academy of Science, 1998) • “Conﬁrmed to such a degree as it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.” (Gould, 1981) • “Truth in science is never ﬁnal, and what is accepted as a fact today may be modiﬁed or even discarded tomorrow.” (NAS, 1998)
NATURALISM Methodological: Science can only
study nature using natural laws. Supernatural entities, while they may exist, are not allowed as scientiﬁc explanations of phenomena. Philosophical: The supernatural does not exist.
THEORY • “A well-substantiated explanation
of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses.” (NAS, 1998) • “Sciencenot only generates facts but seeks to explain them, and the interlocking and well-supported explanations for those facts are known as theories.” (T. Ryan Gregory, 2008)
Theories are the ultimate goal
of science. They explain facts and are tested by generating hypotheses. These three things are distinct aspects of science. Hypothesis Fact
HYPOTHESIS • “Atentative statement about
the natural world leading to deductions that can be tested.” (NAS 2008) • “The rejection of an hypothesis does not automatically imply the refutation of an entire theory because hypotheses are usually sufﬁciently focussed to test only one aspect of complex theories.” (Gregory, 2008)
LAW • A “generalization about
how some aspect of the natural world behaves under stated circumstances.” (NAS, 1998) • Descriptive not prescriptive • SecondLaw of Thermodynamics: the entropy of a closed system not in equilibrium will tend to increase over time, approaching a maximum value at equilibrium.
GRAVITY • We have facts
that we need to explain. • We do not observe “gravity,” we observe it’s effects on the behavior of objects. • There are laws that describe the behavior of objects under the inﬂuence of gravity • We don’t publish “new evidence for gravity” • There are many explanatory theories of gravitation.
GENERAL RELATIVITY • Gravity as
a consequence of the warping of space-time • An incomplete theory - how does it reconcile with sub- atomic quantum effects? Why is gravity relatively weak? • Does this incompleteness make gravity “just a theory”?
“JUST THEORIES” • Big Bang
Theory • Probability Theory • Cell Theory • Theory of Plate Tectonics • Evolutionary Theory • Acoustic Theory • Germ Theory of Disease • Electromagnetic Theory • Atomic Theory • Quantum Field Theory • Kinetic Theory of Gases
A GENERAL PATHWAY • Observe
world (collect observations / facts) • Ask “why” questions • Make explanatory hypothesis • Make predictions or retrodictions • Test predictions or retrodictions by experiment or further observation - Assume uniform cause and effect (actualism) • Eventually form a theory
IS CREATIONISM SCIENTIFIC? “Creation [is]
the bringing into being of the basic kinds of plants and animals by the process of sudden, or ﬁat, creation, an example of which is described in the ﬁrst two chapters of Genesis. … We do not know how God created, what processes He used, for God used processes which are not now operating anywhere in the natural universe.” Duane T. Gish (1995) Evolution: The Fossils Say No! p. 34 – emphasis in original.
IS CREATIONISM SCIENTIFIC? “Creation cannot
be proved [because] creation is not taking place now, as far as can be observed … and is thus inaccessible to the scientiﬁc method.” Henry Morris, Scientiﬁc Creationism, p. 5
IS CREATIONISM SCIENTIFIC? “Creation is,
of course, unproven and unprovable and thus cannot be considered as a fact. It is not subject to test by the ordinary methods of observational science – observation and falsiﬁcation. It thus does not, in a strict sense, qualify as a scientiﬁc theory.” Gish, Evolution: The Fossils Say No! p. 13
RELIGION •A set of beliefs
concerning the cause, nature and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a supernatural agency (or agencies), usually involving devotional and ritual observances and often having a moral code for the conduct of human affairs. • Supernatural: something above or beyond what is explainable by natural laws.
STRICT BIBLICAL LITERALISM Flat-Earthism Geocentrism
International Flat Earth Society Robert Sungenis (Catholic (3,500 members) Apologetics International) Claim support from Isaiah James Hansen: “I sincerely 40:22, Deuteronomy 28:64, believe that evolution and 33:17; Psalms 98:3, 135:7; heliocentricity go together ... To Jeremiah 25:31and Revelation me it appears as inconsistent for 20:8, among others. people to accept creation and then to oppose geocentricity.”
YOUNG EARTH OR “SCIENTIFIC” CREATIONISM
• Biblical literalism on most issues. • “Bible-believing Christianity” • “Special Creation” • Earth is between 6,000 and 10,000 years old. • Special creation of “kinds” (“baramin”) • Historicity of Noachian Flood • Rejection of many of the conclusions of modern physics, astronomy, chemistry, biology, and geology.
OLD EARTH CREATIONISM • Harmonization
of theology • Gap Creationism and scientiﬁc data that began in the 1700’s. • Day-Age Creationism • Acceptance of the age of • Progressive or Evolutionary the Earth but general Creationism rejection of evolution
PROGRESSIVE CREATIONISM • Majority view
among modern OEC’s • Acceptance of modern chemistry, physics, geology, and most of biology. • Sequentialcreation of groups (“kinds”) by God or Pre-programmed appearance of organelles, organs or organisms.
THEISTIC EVOLUTION • The view
of creation taught at the majority of mainline Protestant seminaries, and the position of the Catholic Church. • God creates through the laws of nature • Acceptance of descent with modiﬁcation • To what degree does God intervene Origin of humans? Origin of human mental capacity?
EVIDENTIALISM • Prescriptiveclaim that Belief
in God must be supported by objective evidence. • Any belief is rational if and only if there is sufﬁcient evidence to support it, and rationality is in direct proportion to the balance of evidence. David Hume
NON-EVIDENTIALISM • Claimthat basic beliefs
can be held without objective, rational evidence. • Fideism: religious belief must be based on faith alone. • Faith: Firm belief in something for which there is no proof. Soren Kierkegaard
KURT WISE “If all the
evidence in the universe turns against creationism, I would be the ﬁrst to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate.”