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What is Science

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What is Science?
What is Science?
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What is Science

  2. A systematic method for understanding facts about the natural world with reference to natural law.
  3. 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)
  4. 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.
  5. POPULAR HIERARCHY Fact Hypothesis Theory
  6. 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)
  7. 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
  8. 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)
  9. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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”?
  13. “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
  14. WHAT MAKES A “GOOD” THEORY • Fecundity • Tentative • Testable • Falsifiable • Naturalistic Michael Ruse
  15. 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
  16. 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.
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. IS CREATIONISM SCIENTIFIC? • “Creation science” is not science, and • Neither is evolution, so • Ifone is taught in science class, both should be taught as both are a matter of belief.
  20. Belief: Confidence, faith or trust in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof.
  21. 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.
  22. Allegorically True Literally “Simply A True Story” Revealed Text
  23. AUGUSTINE “If it happens that the authority of sacred Scripture is set in opposition to clear and certain reasoning, the person who interprets Scripture does not understand it correctly.”
  24. Christina of Lorraine
  26. Flat Earthers Geocentrists Young Earth Creationists Continuum Old Earth Creationists of Positions Progressive Creationists Theistic Evolutionists Naturalistic Evolutionists
  27. • Young Earth Creationism Literalism • “Scientific Creationism” • Progressive Creationism Old Earth • Theistic Evolution Naturalistic • Agnostic or Atheistic Evolution
  28. 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.”
  29. 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.
  30. 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
  31. 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.
  32. 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?
  33. AGNOSTIC EVOLUTION Accept the scientific evidence that evolution occurred but do not consider important the question of whether God is or was or will be involved. T.H. Huxley
  34. • Intelligent Design Literalism • Intelligent Design Old Earth • Naturalistic “Design” Naturalistic
  35. • Methodological Theism • Philosophical Theism Literalism • Methodological Naturalism Old Earth • Philosophical Theism • Methodological Naturalism Naturalistic • Philosophical Naturalism or Theism
  36. 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
  37. 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
  38. 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.”

Editor's Notes