Re: Error in Article & what should be done.

Arthur V. Chadwick (
Thu, 12 Feb 1998 15:02:15 -0800

At 03:22 PM 2/12/98 -0500, Steven Schimmrich wrote:

> "There was a global flood around 4,000 years ago and we can see geologic
>evidence of it preserved within the Grand Canyon." This is a statement Steve
>Austin (maybe even Art Chadwick?) would say.

Maybe Steve Austin would say that, but I would say: "There was a flood a
few thousand years ago, and at least one scientifically valid
interpretation of data from Grand Canyon is consistent with that." I would
also point out that a lot of geologic interpretations are not consistent
with that, and that this condition is not unexpected given the paradigm
within which most geologists work. This not only is consistent with my own
experience working in the Canyon, but I think fairly reflects the present
state of affairs.

> That mixing of methodological naturalistic science with appealing to the
>miraculous makes it impossible to investigate the natural world because there
>are no criteria for determining where to place the miracle (except the
>investigator's ignorance and refusal to deal with problems in his model).

You posit a false dilemma. There are alternatives you ignore which are
consonant with interventionism and methodological naturalism. I think
Brand makes a good case for this kind of scientist. Unfortunately, it is a
rare breed.

> You're not looking into the geologic record and seeing an event
preserved that
>appears to violate the "laws" of nature and proposing a miraculous
>(one place, for example, where I'd accept an appeal to the miraculous on
>basis would be the origin of life), you're starting with a preconceived
>(the flood, for example) and then answering objections to that model by
proposing a miraculous explanation. That's a very different thing.

I am not sure who the "you" here is. I certainly look for naturalistic
explanations for things in science, or else I have to quit doing science.
I also am aware that there are paradigms that affect what we see and how we
interpret the world that are much more influential and pervasive than any
"factual" data we may produce or obtain.

> Young-earth creationists can't claim scientific validation (they do,
after all,
>call themselves creation "scientists") if they don't play by the rules of
>and steadfastly refuse to address real and substantial problems in their

Scientist are defined broadly as people who play the game of science. This
means having the right education, carrying out original research,
publishing in the right peer reviewed journals, attending the right
meetings, etc. By those definitions, perhaps our YEC friends do not
qualify as "scientists", and I will not try to defend them on this point.
But looking outside the bounds of methodological naturalism to learn things
about the world that cannot be learned using the methods of science...I
thought that was called common sense...unless you truly believe that
science can answer all the important questions. And I sincerely doubt that
because if that were true, you would not be a Christian.