When asked, "What is science?"
some will respond by describing what they feel scientists deal with:
"Spaceships, computers, fossils, cutting up frogs, and cloning
dinosaurs in Jurassic Park." Others may describe what they feel
scientists do not deal with: "evolution is science and
creation is religion." For the most part people feel that science is a
vague and mysterious category of knowledge which scientists alone can
understand. Yet the category of knowledge we call science is defined in
a very simple, though precise, way that can be understood by anyone,
whether they are involved in the sciences or not. Here it must be
acknowledged that there are many who attempt to define science so
broadly that it encompasses all forms of knowledge; however, from the
beginning of what is called "modern science," it was the Baconian
Scientific Method that guided all successful scientific endeavors. The
Baconian Scientific Method is given as follows and applies only to
naturally recurring processes that occur in the present.
The Scientific Method:
Direct or indirect in the present.
2. Problem: Question posed about natural process that is relevant and
testable in the present.
3. Hypothesis: An educated proposal for an explanation of naturally
recurring processes in the present and for the future.
4. Experiment: Direct test of hypothesis in the present which
is possible to repeat in the future.
5. Theory: Hypotheses about the present and future
confirmed by experiments in the present. Scientific theories
are judged by their predictive value for the future.
Since the scientific
method deals only with naturally recurring processes that occur in the
present., historical events are by definition outside of the scientific
method. In other words; since history is not repeatable under
observation, we simply can not apply the word "scientific," even as an
adjective, to the study of historical events. Therefore such views of
origins as Evolutionism and Creationism are intrinsically outside of
the scientific method since they both require the study of ancient
history in an effort to find evidence for or against their central
claims. This is not to say that such views can not motivate or
"inspire" the formulation of hypotheses in accord with their view of
origins, however, in order to be classified as scientific theories it
must be possible, at least in principle, to test the predictions made
through repeatable observations in the present.
With this in mind we can now see that the word "science" is often used
improperly. For example, though it is clear that historians can not be
classified as scientists, when an archaeologist uses a scientifically
developed technique (such as carbon 14 dating) some may forget that
they are still studying historical events. And further, when
asked if paleontologists conduct scientific research, many would
quickly respond, "Yes this is always scientific" even though the result
of such research is often a historical theory.
There are many more
examples of this confusion of the various categories of
knowledge. One relates to the use of the word "proof" in
application to scientific evidence. First we must remember that the
concept of a "proof" is only applicable to mathematical or logical
formulations where certain things may be shown, by definition, to be
equivalent. For this category of knowledge, when a single valid proof
is found no other is required. Science on the other hand, deals only
with "evidence" which can only increase or decrease the probability of
a certain theory being true, but never prove it being so. Yet we often
hear of "scientific proofs" of evolution even from those who should
know better. A flagrant example is seen in the Scientific American
cover story (July 92) about the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) where
it was boldly asserted that such observations were "More Proof for the
Big Bang." It appears that these claimants of "scientific proofs" for
evolution have an underlying motivation when first including evolution
(and most other categories of knowledge) within the domain of science
while excluding any consideration of creation.
Now, with the broad misunderstanding of what constitutes science, and
further, with the perception of the general public that scientific
knowledge is the most worthy of our confidence, the evolutionist is
tempted to claim a strictly "scientific world view." But we must
realize that the construction of a "scientific world view" is simply an
attempt to side-step the whole requirement of scientific evidence for
evolution, since it is defined as the only admissible answer. The
standard evolutionary reasoning goes as follows: 1) natural processes
are assumed to be the only ones that exist, and 2) evolution claims
that natural processes are all that are required. It should be
clear that such an argument for the origin of the universe is nothing
more than circular reasoning. But it should also be clear by now that
it is simply impossible to formulate a world view based on science
alone, since the vast majority of important questions can never be
answered by conducting a scientific experiment.
When someone claims that "evolution is science and creation is
religion," it must be pointed out that the notion that dead matter can
self energize and organize into life is likewise a matter of faith,
although an ill founded one, since all scientific observations are in
contradiction with it. The alternative faith position that God
alone creates and destroys matter, energy, and brings order to life, is
in complete agreement with the two most confirmed and fundamental laws
of nature--the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics. The first law
simply stated is: nothing in nature is now being created or
destroyed. And the second law is: on average, all things in nature go
from a high energy to low energy, from order to disorder. These
two most fundamental laws completely contradict evolution which
requires that the universe be self energized and organized. A far
better explanation for the natural universe we actually observe is a supernatural
origin, or, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
Here it should be noted that Biblical Creationism has no conflict with
the observations made through the scientific method, however it does
sometimes conflict with the interpretations imposed on that data.
Actually, all of the confusion about origins can be resolved by simply
placing each type of knowledge in its proper category defined by the
method by which it is received. In the following, those categories and
definitions are each given and ranked relative to the nature of its
source, its capacity to unify prior knowledge, and whether it gives
meaning to the human condition. The Scientific Method, as defined
above, is powerful, but most limited in scope. The Intuitional Method
is defined as that knowledge received through reason (language, logic,
mathematics) and the conscience (the sense of right and wrong). The
Historical/Evidential Method is defined as historical evidence received
through methods similar to those utilized for legal evidence. The
Revelational Method is defined as knowledge given by God that could not
otherwise be acquired, and is therefore, the most inclusive in scope.
These categories and their priorities are given as follows:
God alone observed the events associated with the origin of the
universe, and therefore he alone can give us knowledge of our origins,
unify prior knowledge, and give meaning to the human condition.
In conclusion the "evolution is science, creation is religion"
line of reasoning is based on a misunderstanding of knowledge, its
meaning, and its priority in our lives. We would do well to remember
that the majority of the founders of the key disciplines of modern
science were Christian Creationists, or at least working on the
foundation of the Biblical view of creation (1). These Christian
fathers of modern science would simply have been astonished at a world
view so obsessed with asking the how of origins that it failed
to ask the why, thereby rejecting revealed knowledge
from God who alone knows both the how and the why.
The "scientific world view" now being advocated by many philosophers
and scientists is diametrically opposed to the Biblical world view from
which modern science arose. In so doing these scientists are, so to
speak, cutting off the branch on which they have been sitting.
1. Some of the scientists who believed in the Biblical account of
creation are as follows: Isaac Newton (Dynamics), Johann Kepler
(Astronomy), Robert Boyle (Chemistry), Lord Kelvin (Thermo-dynamics),
Louis Pasteur (Bacteriology), Matthew Maury (Oceanography), Michael
Faraday (Electro-magnetics), Clerk Maxwell (Electro-dynamics), John Ray
(Biology), and Carolus Linnaeus (Taxonomy).
Tim Nordgren 10-29-98