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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
Origins Talk RBBS * (314) 821-1078
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Missouri Association for Creation, Inc.
405 North Sappington Road
Saint Louis, Missouri 63122-4729