Re: Post-Empiricism Science: A little surprised

From: Robert Schneider (
Date: Wed Sep 17 2003 - 20:14:25 EDT

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    It is clear that Allen and I are talking past each other, and I see no
    purpose in taking the time to sort out confusions that will continue to be
    perpetuated. I've have read Kuhn's materials and I think I understand them
    well enough, though I'm not certain Allen does. And I can make no sense out
    of the phrase "post-empiricism science," which is to say, it is nonsense.


    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "allenroy" <>
    To: "Robert Schneider" <>; <>
    Sent: Wednesday, September 17, 2003 5:21 PM
    Subject: Re: Post-Empiricism Science: A little surprised

    > > I originally wrote,
    > > >>> There are two problems here. 1. The supposed "empirical data"
    > > the age of the earth is not empirical at all, but interpretation of data
    > > upon a paradigm that expects an old age for the earth. 2. That
    > > amount of data regarding the age of the earth is only relevant within
    > > paradigm that interprets the data (and which calls it empirical). It is
    > > irrelevant how much interpreted data there is within one paradigm when
    > > interpretation is irrelevant in another paradigm.
    > >
    > > Robert Schneider wrote
    > > Using the word "supposed" and putting empirical data in quotation marks
    > > not change the reality of the situation. Such data is empirical because
    it is
    > > drawn from observations, tests, etc. of nature as it is. To say that
    > > empirical data is relevant only within the paradigm that interprets it
    > > nonsense.
    > I, (Allen) refer again to Del Ratzesch quoted earlier:
    > "Historically, it was almost universally believed that perception was
    > in the sense that genuinely honest and careful observation was unaffected
    > beliefs, presupposition, philosophical preferences, or similar factors.
    > neutrality guaranteed the objectivity and utter trustworthiness of
    > data, which constituted the secure foundation of science. But that
    > neutrality came under attack in the mid-20th century. Thomas Kuhn, for
    > argued that perception itself was an active--not a passive--process,
    > colored by the broader conceptual matrices, or paradigms, to which one had
    > allegiances."
    > "Thus, this view not only destroyed the allegedly rigid, logical structure
    > science, but also threatened the pure objectivity of its foundation.
    > Furthermore, paradigms influenced not only perception, but also theory
    > evaluation and acceptance, conceptual resources, normative judgments
    > science, and a host of other consequential matters. And, according to
    > paradigms were partially defined by, among other things, metaphysical
    > commitments and values. Thus, non-empirical, human-suffused perspectives
    > seeped into the no-longer-inviolable scientific method at all levels, from
    > empirical bedrock to theoretical pinnacle."
    > When I used the phrase "empirical data," I meant to be discussing the
    > neutrality of 'empirical data," The fact is, "empirical data" is not
    > because the observation process is biased according to one's paradigm. In
    > what is often called "empirical data" (implying neutrality and
    objectivity) is
    > really an paradigm biased interpretation of the data.
    > >
    > > Robert Schneider wrote
    > > Data is never irrelevant to any paradigm (see the example of Kepler,
    > Allen:
    > I agree. It is the interpretation of the data according to a paradigm
    that can
    > be irrelevant in another paradigm. It is extremely important to be able
    > discern data from interpretation. For instance, accurately measured
    ratios of
    > isotopes is data. The measured half-life of an unstable isotope is data.
    > Ancient ages derived from isotope ratios and measured half-lives are
    > interpretation.
    > > Robert Schneider wrote
    > > Both statements 1 and 2 show a misunderstanding of both "empirical data"
    > > "paradigm."
    > Allen:
    > Not according to Kuhn.
    > > Allen wrote
    > > >>> The evolutionary paradigm is just as religious and sacred as a
    > > paradigm. The only difference is that the evolutionary paradigm is
    based upon
    > > and accepted by blind faith. It is blind because it cannot be confirmed
    > > anyone who could know.
    > > Robert Schneider wrote
    > > The first sentence of the above paragraph is false. So is the second.
    > > the third makes no sense.
    > Allen:
    > So, they are false on your say so? Evolutionism is religious because it
    > based on Ontological Naturalism (O.N.) which must be accepted by
    > faith. See below.
    > > Allen wrote:
    > > > Your ontological naturalist, when he/she interprets (reads) nature,
    > > starts with a philosophical statement which supplies the presuppositions
    > > needed to build a paradigm--1) Nature is all there is; 2) because we
    are here
    > > (and 1), Abiogenesis and Evolution are absolute facts; 3) Deep time is
    > > extrapolated as expected. Thus, Evolutionism is not "solely based on
    > > nature," but upon presuppositions about nature that nature cannot
    > >
    > > Robert Schneider wrote
    > > The statements in the paragraph are typical of YEC arguments that
    confuse the
    > > empirical science of biological evolution with a naturalistic philosophy
    > > claims to be rooted in and necessarily follows from the science.
    > > this fact has been pointed out repeatedly to YECs they simply refuse to
    > > acknowledge that there is a difference.
    > Allen:
    > I know full well the difference. You are the one who is confused. In
    fact, you
    > have it all backwards. O.N. does not come from science, evolutionary
    > comes from O.N.
    > First: It is impossible to do science unless it is done within a
    > paradigm. Science requires certain philosophical presuppositions before
    it can
    > begin the observational process.
    > Second: Because the paradigm comes first, it biases the observational
    > (per Kuhn).
    > Third: Abiogenesis and Evolution must be true in Ontological Naturalism.
    > Fourth: Necessarily biased "empirical data" (actually, "interpreted data")
    > supports the concept of biological evolution.
    > This process happens even when those involved are not aware of the
    > foundation in which they are working, and while thinking they are
    > neutral.
    > > Robert Schneider wrote
    > > They are the strange bedfellows of adherents of such a naturalistic
    > > system; in fact the two seem to need one another and thrive on each
    > > embrace of this false notion. As I once said to a former colleague,
    > > creationists sure love their atheists!"
    > Allen:
    > As was pointed out above, your are the one who has embraced a false
    notion, i.e.
    > that "empirical" science is somehow independent of any philosophical
    > and that a philosophical foundation follows from empirical science. Go
    back a
    > read what Del Ratzesch has said. I quote Del Ratzesch because he is a
    > of philosophy at Calvin College which is home to many on this list and
    > hosts this email list.
    > > Robert Schneider wrote
    > > What both reject is any notion that the empirical science
    > > of evolution and the empirical evidence of an earth 4.6 billion years
    > > may be consonant with a Christian theology of creation when biblical
    > > creation is rightly understood as theology and not science.
    > Allen:
    > What YECs and, perhaps, some O.Ns. recognize is that there is no such
    thing as
    > neutral empirical science. They know that all science is done within a
    > paradigm. And when one accepts "empirical" data as interpreted within a
    > paradigm, one implicitly accepts the interpretive paradigm also.
    > YECs (and others) recognize that a creationary theology automatically
    leads to a
    > creationary philosophy and paradigm which supplies the necessary
    > within which science can be done.
    > > Robert Schneider wrote
    > > Thus, an evolutionary old earth creationist like myself does not accept
    any of
    > > the content of the above paragraph as an accurate statement of the
    > Allen:
    > See, your paradigm determines what you accept a facts and fallacy.
    > > Allen Wrote:
    > > > A Creationary paradigm is based upon a revealed history and is
    accepted by
    > > faith in the truthfulness of God. His word, though written by flawed
    > > and using finite human language, tells us what we need to know. A
    > > paradigm also starts with a philosophical statement which supplies the
    > > presuppositions needed to build a paradigm--1) In the beginning God
    > > the universe; 2) God created by fiat the biosphere on this planet; 3)
    > > has been only some 6000+/- years since the creation of the biosphere; 4)
    > > global cataclysm involving the complete lithosphere reworked the entire
    > > surface of the globe some 4000 years ago.
    > > Robert Schneider wrote
    > > The so-called "Creationary paradigm" is not based on revealed history
    but on
    > > a particular interpretation of the meaning of the biblical text by those
    > > confuse interpretation with inspiration and collapse the two.
    > Allen:
    > #1. The Bible is revealed history, irregardless of our interpretation or
    > understanding of the texts.
    > #2. It is the same Holy Spirit who inspired the writers who will teach us
    > truth -- i.e. interpret what is needed to be known. We are not left to
    each one
    > having their own interpretation if we are willing to follow the leading of
    > Holy Spirit. We can know what the Holy Spirit meant when he inspired the
    > writers when we let him teach us what he meant.
    > #3. Thus inspiration and interpretation have their fulfillment in one
    > the Holy Spirit.
    > The Creationary paradigm is based on revealed history as it is commonly
    > recognized and understood. Interpretations which, in some way or another,
    > to change or modify the typical understanding, do so because O.N. is used
    as the
    > paradigm in which the Bible must be understood.
    > > Robert Schneider wrote:
    > > What they take on faith is not the inspired text but their
    interpretation of
    > > it. While both an evolutionary creationist and a YEC agree on statement
    > > the former would reject statements 2) - 4) for two reasons. First
    > > would disagree with the interpretations of the biblical texts that lead
    > > those statements, and proffer a better interpretation. Second, he/she
    > > recognizes that the empirical data from the earth itself testifys that
    > > statements 2) - 4) cannot stand either as valid scientific statements or
    > > valid interpretations of the text.
    > Allen:
    > See. You have done exactly what I said is done. You proffer a "better
    > interpretation" recognizing that empirical data (actually "interpreted
    > from within a non-biblical paradigm) defines how one interpreted the
    > text.
    > > Allen wrote:
    > > > Those in the Evolutionary/O.N. camp may promote a massive amount of
    > > 'empirical' evidence for a vast age of life on the earth. But, to those
    in the
    > > Creationary camp, that 'empirical' evidence is irrelevant and seen for
    what it
    > > really is--interpretation within the O.N. paradigm that expects deep
    > > > The paradigm determines the age of life on earth, not the raw data.
    > > Robert Schneider wrote
    > > I partly agree and partly disagree. It is true that any empirical
    > > for the ancient age of the earth is irrelevant to YECs because they
    > > refuse to accept any evidence that calls their INTERPRETATION of the
    > > into question.
    > Allen: True
    > > Robert Schneider wrote
    > > I disagree, in that empirical evidence for an ancient earth is not
    > > within an ontological naturalistic paradigm; it is interpreted within an
    > > scientific paradigm.
    > Ain't no such animal. Other propose methodological naturalism as a
    > paradigm, but Del Ratzesch wrote:
    > "There are many who insist on some version of methodological
    > whatever the ultimate metaphysical reality, genuine science as science
    > (either definitionally or practically) be completely detached from
    > other than the purely natural. But rigid cases for such prohibitions are
    > increasingly difficult to construct." (as quoted in first post in this
    > > Robert Schneider wrote
    > > The data determines the age of the earth, not the paradigm. The fact
    that the
    > > earth is several orders of magnitude older than 6000 yrs (+/- a few)
    arose as
    > > a RESULT of the empirical data that determined it. It was the data that
    > > finally called the BELIEF in a 6000-year-old earth into question.
    > Allen:
    > Sorry, whether you recognize it or not, all data is biased according to
    > paradigm. Even if you try to ignore the fact that the data is influenced
    by the
    > paradigm, you still buy into the paradigm when you accept its
    interpretation of
    > the data. The BELIEF that the earth is old arose from interpreted data
    > upon certain philosophical assumptions. It was the false belief that
    > data is neutral and objective that caused the Biblical story to be
    > > Robert Schneider wrote:
    > > In the same way, the conviction that we live in a circular universe,
    > > maintained even by Copernicus, was shattered by Kepler's discovery that
    > > planets move in elliptical orbits. Kepler kept trying to fit his data
    > > the circular model, but it wouldn't fit. But he didn't say, "Oh, this
    data is
    > > irrelevant because it doesn't fit the circular model." Instead, he
    > > other models, first an oval, which didn't work, then an ellipse, which
    > > YECs do the opposite.
    > Allen:
    > What Kepler discovered was that the empirical data as interpreted within
    > circular universe paradigm would not work. So he developed another
    > within which to interpret the data where there was consistency. You are
    > functioning like Kepler. You don't recognize that the data is interpreted
    > within a paradigm. Un like Kepler, you don't even know there is a
    > > Robert Schneider wrote:
    > > They invent arguments such as the "moon dust" argument or the "human
    > > in older rock strata" argument to justify their particular
    interpretation of
    > > the Bible to teach a young earth. The most they will do is admit that
    > > of their arguments are invalid, such as the above, but they will never,
    > > never, give up their interpretation of the Bible that leads them to hold
    > > the belief in a young earth.
    > Allen:
    > Absolutely! Just as you will probably never recognize that "empirical
    data" is
    > not neutral but is paradigm interpreted.
    > > Robert Schneider wrote
    > > Paradigms are discarded and replaced by new paradigms when the
    discoveries of
    > > empirical science demonstrate that the old paradigm no longer does the
    > > It may take some time for this to happen, but it happens.
    > Allen:
    > Sorry again, but old paradigms are discarded because they cannot interpret
    > data in a logical, satisfactory way. A new paradigm is invented which can
    > interpret the data logically and consistently. Its all about
    > It has nothing to do with "neutral" empirical science.
    > > Robert Schneider wrote
    > > I do not expect YECs to abandon their young earth position because they
    > > ideological wedded to it, and any evidence to the contrary, as Allen
    said, is
    > > irrelevant to them.
    > Allen:
    > Wrong again, we don't reject "evidence to the contrary" we reject
    > interpretations of data to the contrary.
    > Robert Schneider wrote:
    > But they will not convince others who have at least some scientific
    literacy by
    > rejecting well-established scientific evidence, and cloaking their
    ideology in a
    > jargonized use of such terms as "paradigm."
    > Allen:
    > You appear to be functioning in a scientific world some 50 to 100 years
    out of
    > date. I suggest you go back and read the article I posted by Del
    Ratzesch. So
    > far, you have only responded to my statements and have ignored what Dr.
    > (not a YEC by the way) has said.

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