An Opinion on Science + Theories of Origins by Bill Zimmerly (C) copyright 1991 Missouri A

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------------------------------------------- An Opinion on Science & Theories of Origins by Bill Zimmerly ------------------------------------------- (C) copyright 1991 Missouri Association for Creation, Inc. Science is defined in Webster's Third New International Dictionary as "a branch of study that is concerned with observation and classification of facts and especially with the establishment or strictly with the quantitative formulation of verifiable general laws chiefly by induction and hypotheses." Care should be taken to notice ESPECIALLY the phrase "quantitative formulation of verifiable general laws." No speculation or guessing is permitted in this strict definition. The Scientific Method, as defined by the same source, is "the principles and procedures used in the systematic pursuit of intersubjectively accessible knowledge and involving as necessary conditions the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and if possible experiment, the formulation of hypotheses, and the testing and confirmation of the hypotheses formulated." Notice the phrase "necessary conditions" and ESPECIALLY the "testing and confirmation" aspects of this strict definition too. Science must have hypotheses that are VERIFIABLE and CONFIRMABLE in order to maintain its intellectual integrity. Although these definitions are quite wordy, involving such uncommon words and phrases like "induction", "hypotheses", and "intersubjectively accessible knowledge", they are nevertheless IMPORTANT definitions, for they present a STRICT description of WHAT science is and HOW science is obtained. In considering how loosely the term "science" is thrown around today, even when the word "speculation" would be more apt, it is refreshing to review how "pure" the word really is. For all practical purposes, and for historical accuracy, the word "science" is synonymous with the word "knowledge." Science can be considered to be what we "know" with as much certainty as anything CAN be known. For completeness sake, however, it must be pointed out that what we "know" is not necessarily science according to its strict definition. Probably the best way in which a layman may understand the DIFFERENCE between science and general knowledge is to realize that "seeing is believing" is the operative phrase in science, for "observation" is the cornerstone of "verifiable general laws." Not only is "seeing" believing, but it also must be reproducable in a controlled experiment and measurable in units that we agree on in order to be "verifiable." Regarding "Theories of Origins", there are many problems with labeling any of them as "science." Origins, by there very definition, are UNIQUE events, NOT subject to the necessary conditions DEMANDED by the definitions of science or the scientific method. It should be obvious to anyone that the origin of life, much less the origin of planets, stars, and other elements of corporeal nature, ARE not subject to the strict demands of science because they are neither (1) observable, for they PRE-DATE the presence of man, (2) measurable, for obvious reasons, nor (3) reproducable in a controlled laboratory experiment. I bristle at the suggestion that Genesis is NOT "scientific" whereas Darwin (or Gould, or whomever) is. According to the necessary demands of the scientific method, NO Theory of Origins is "SCIENTIFIC." Indeed, until man can conquer his own limitations through "time travel", they will never become anything other than speculative theories! (Look up the definition of a theory and you will see that they are, BY DEFINITION, based on speculation!) And, as I have written before, a hypotheses that cannot be verified should not be called scientific, because it lacks one of the "necessary conditions" stated in the definition! Of course political issues such as what will be taught in public schools, do indeed depend very heavily on being CALLED a science. Evolution, specifically Darwinian Evolution is taught as science and "Creation Science", that is, the evidences that support the creation model, is CALLED religion. Some, such as political columnist George Will refer to the phrase "Creation Science" as an oxymoron, a self-contradictory term like "cruel kindness" or "laborious idleness." The implication being understood that any evidences that point to a "God" who created must, of necessity, be religious. The assumption is then made that anything that is called religious CONTRADICTS its claim on being science. But any careful reading of Darwin's "Origin of the Species" will reveal that he did NOT throw out belief in "God." Indeed, Darwin left it quite apparent to his readers that he was a theistic evolutionist! In the chapter called "Recapitulation and Conclusion", Darwin wrote: "There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved." Creation Science and Evolutionary Science are thus both oxymorons according to George Will's definition of an oxymoron! This may not be necessarily true if one defines "science" as being the EVIDENCES in support of a theory, which means that BOTH would be science, but you certainly cannot advocate logically that one is a science and the other is not because NEITHER is verifiable, and therefore NEITHER can be proven! The best, the VERY best, that we can do is to "weigh the evidence" in considering which of the Origin Models "fit best." But even in doing that, we do NOT have "proof." To illustrate this, consider another aspect of knowledge: I believe that the city of Moscow exists! I accept its existence because of the evidence that I have attained to, for the evidence FOR its existence outweighs the evidence AGAINST it. This evidence, however, is not proof that Moscow exists. In order to prove it, I must go to Moscow and observe it! Since "going to" Moscow is possible, although difficult, this knowledge fits the necessary demand of the scientific method's "observational" and "verifiable" requirements. Thus, for argument's sake, the existence of Moscow can be called a scientific fact, for it is indeed within anyone's power to ABSOLUTELY verify its existence. Consider also, what is known as "Ohm's Law." Ohm's Law defines the mathematical relationship between the three quantifiable characteristics of electricity flowing through a conductor. Ohm's Law states the relationship as "I=E/R", where "I" represents the current flow measured in amperes, "E" represents the electromotive force measured in volts, and "R" represents the conductor's resistance measured in ohms. This is considered a scientific fact of such profound self-evident truth that it is called a "LAW." Why? Not because I say that it is, or indeed because ANY number of men say that it is, but rather BECAUSE anyone can easily VERIFY the validity of Ohm's Law themselves by experimentation! But no matter how much evidence we have for or against ANY model of life's origins, without the ability to go back in time, it cannot be proven. Proof of Moscow's existence, which I have faith in, and supported by evidence, is accessible because I can go there. Proof of Ohm's Law, which I have faith in, and is also supported by evidence, is accessible because I can put together an experiment to prove it valid. But proof of Creation and Organic Evolution is lacking however, because we are finite creatures, bound up by our limitations in Space and Time. Notice I say that PROOF is unobtainable, not evidence! Also notice that the LACK of PROOF can in no wise deter us from having FAITH in a particular theory of origins. Consider now the method of "induction" as noted in the above definition. Induction is a reasoning method of formal logic. Induction, briefly, is "reasoning from the parts to the whole." Induction is much like gathering data through observation and collating the data into general rules. To illustrate what induction is, consider this: There is a cave near my home that birds seem to flock to. One day, I was wondering what kind of birds made this cave their home. I went out to investigate. As I was watching the mouth of the cave, five birds flew out of the cave. Every one of them was a white bird. Now, pause for a moment and consider how this example compares to the definition of the scientific method noted above. Two of the "necessary conditions" that were fulfilled were (1) the recognition and formulation of a problem, and (2) the collection of data through observation. I wanted to know what kind of birds made this cave their home, and I went to observe them. Now consider this; I saw five WHITE birds come out of the cave, therefore my hypotheses is that ONLY white birds live in that cave. Since ONLY white birds live in that cave, according to my hypotheses, the NEXT bird to fly out will be white! It will be my test case! How much would you bet that the next bird to fly out of that cave mouth was white? Here I formulated a hypotheses, using logical induction, and also formulated a test to confirm the hypothesis. Sure enough, the sixth bird to fly out of the cave was white! But is this PROOF that only white birds live in the cave? Suppose, for the example's sake, that I can't go in the cave to investigate the problem. It may, for example, belong to a neighbor who would shoot anybody found on his land. Can I "prove" that only white birds live in that cave? Up to now, I've only counted six birds to fly out of the cave. The question remains; "will the NEXT bird be white?" According to the current hypotheses, the answer is "yes!" But now suppose that instead of SIX white birds spotted in a period of about an hour, I had catalogued SIX HUNDRED THOUSAND white birds over a period of SIX years, without ever seeing any other colored bird fly out of the cave? Based on this data, would you bet your car, your house, your wife, your firstborn, and your life savings that the next bird to fly out of the cave was white? ...I would! However, the question remains, has the theory that only white birds live in the cave been proven? Certainly if any black birds lived in the cave, they would have had to come out sometime during the six years that I've observed white birds come out, but perhaps I'm assuming something that shouldn't be assumed! All I know about the cave itself is that it appears to be a large, say 20 foot, opening in the side of a hill. Perhaps there are other portions of the cave THAT I CAN'T SEE wherein black birds live. (?) Clearly then, without the ability to explore the ENTIRE cave, I cannot PROVE that only white birds live in the cave, but I can establish it as a reasonable fact based on observable evidence!! What does this have to do with origins and in particular, the origins of life? Plenty! There are many things that can be observed HERE and NOW that lend themselves as evidence FOR or AGAINST the various origin theories. Although they AREN'T proof, they certainly can support the theory. Consider inductively, for example, the fact that the fossil record indicates that there are no transitional forms of animals or plants. We have turtles, but we have no semi-turtles. We have birds, but we have no semi-birds, etc. Does this argue for a special creation of each and every creature OR for a gradual, progressive change from one "kind" to another? Are there indeed, any assumptions made about the fossil record that are invalid; such as (1) how long it takes to make a fossil, or (2) are all creatures that ever lived NOW a fossil? Are these questions important? Should they be answered BEFORE using the fossil record as evidence for or against another competing theory? Consider also, the fact that the food chain indicates that BOTH plants and animals are MUTUALLY DEPENDENT on each other. Can anyone give me an example of a plant or an animal that can live totally independent of any other plant or animal? If not, does this not argue for the simultaneous "creation" of both? Do not the symbionic relationships among all plants and animals indicate that they've always been that way? Extrapolating on this apparent "fact", WHICH of these is the reasonable theory: Genesis, which states that plants pre-dated animals by only two days (NOT two million years!)...or...Evolutionary theory, which has a "primordial soup", wherein, to be consistent with the above fact, would require the creation of TWO distinct, interrelated creatures, the necessary ancestors of all of today's plants and animals. In other words, the "spontaneous generation" of two interrelated primordial living creatures. Or, perhaps the "spontaneous generation" of one creature that somehow obtained nourishment in a way that no creature does today. What does the evidence argue for? Which theory is supported by INDUCTIVE reasoning? Consider also, the fact that all living creatures have in them, the ability to reproduce their species. Does this not imply that the "first" creatures must have also had this ability? Induction argues that this MUST be true, for no species that we can observe today LACKS the ability to reproduce "after its kind!" If reproduction was a PRODUCT of EVOLUTION, and NOT a NECESSARY PRE- CONDITION, how then could the "first" creature have survived as a species? As a computer programmer who has written many different software packages, from complete compilers, assemblers, and low-level system software up to complete accounting and database management programs, I am well aware that the complexity of anything I've written PALES TO VIRTUAL INSIGNIFICANCE when compared to what must necessarily be going on in the brain of a tiny termite! It is insulting to my intelligence to say that this design is the product of chance and time and the natural properties of hydrogen! (See the file written by Dave Menton called SAGANSCI.DOC for more information on hydrogen. See also the various MYTHS of Evolutionary teaching that Dave has written too. Especially the one on statistics!) Since NEITHER Special Creation NOR Organic Evolution can EVER be proven, neither one deserves the right to be called a science in this person's opinion. However, I would like to emphasize that should you call one a science, you must necessarily call the other a science, since neither can be proven, but evidence, however strong or weak, can be presented in defense of them both. Remember again, the definition states; "...the formulation of hypotheses, AND the testing and confirmation of the hypotheses formulated.", NOT "...the formulation of hypotheses, OR the testing and confirmation of the hypotheses formulated." An unconfirmable hypothesis, according to this definition, CANNOT be regarded as science! If true science were to ever raise its head again over the ignorance and arrogance of those who insist that a theory, based on speculation and defined ambiguously as the theory of evolution, is to be regarded as a FACT, it will truly be a day to rejoice! Sincerely, Brother Bill *************************************** Origins Talk RBBS * (314) 821-1078 FidoNet 1:100/435 Christian Fellowship Net 8:3006/28 Missouri Association for Creation, Inc. 405 North Sappington Road Saint Louis, Missouri 63122-4729 (314) 821-1234


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