From: allenroy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Thu Sep 18 2003 - 01:06:36 EDT
Michael Roberts wrote:
> George stay on the list to provide some sensible comments! And Allen Roy
> please do not falsely accuse geologists of starting with the assumption of
> old age. If you look at early geologists they began with assumptions of a
> young age and then changed to old age as the evidence pointed that way.
We need to remember that they were functioning under Baconian science which
imagined the pure, objective dispassionately collection of observational--i.e.
empirical--data. It was almost universally believed that perception was
neutral, in the sense that genuinely honest and careful observation was
unaffected by beliefs, presupposition, philosophical preferences, or similar
factors. This neutrality guaranteed the objectivity and utter trustworthiness
of empirical data, which constituted the secure foundation of science. (This
comes from the article I posted previously by Del Ratzesch. Did you read it?
Or are you just reacting to what I've said?)
"But Kuhn has argued that perception itself is an active--not a
passive--process, deeply colored by the broader conceptual matrices, or
paradigms, to which one had prior allegiances. Furthermore, paradigms
influenced not only perception, but also theory evaluation and acceptance,
conceptual resources, normative judgments within science, and a host of other
consequential matters. Paradigms were partially defined by, among other things,
metaphysical commitments and values."
So, even though the geologists of the 18th and 19th centuries thought they were
making neutral empirical observation, they were actually interpreting the data
according to their worldview. So, what you had was atheist geologists claiming
neutral empirical evidence for an old earth, when in fact they were interpreting
the data within their paradigm . And, religious scientists, being told that
their religious views are not to be used when making empirical observation,
accepted the "unbiased" and "neutral empirical evidence" of an old earth, likely
not realizing that they were accepting data that had been interpreted within a
paradigm that they would otherwise have nothing to do with.
Thus the acceptance of an old earth by the early religious scientists was mostly
due to a subtle deception built into Baconian science.
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