Re: [asa] FYI: Arrogance, dogma and why science - not faith - is the new enemy of

From: Dave Wallace <>
Date: Tue Aug 21 2007 - 18:19:45 EDT

Michael Roberts wrote:

> Dave, I think you have bought into the whole Operational science /origins
> science schemata, which tends to regard empirical/experimental science as
> Operational as it deals with present events and is thus sound/true/real
> science. In contrast Origins science deals with the past which is not open
> to experiment and thus conclusions are predicated by presuppositions, hence
> they are unreliable unless backed up by an eye-witness - and Genesis 1-11
> does nicely here. This idea was only invented in the last two decades and
> probably goes back to Geisler in the 80s.
> It is a good ploy to dismiss the whole of historical science like geology,
> palaeoanthropology and cosmology, but for many reasons is fallacious
> nonsense.
> If we go back to the late 17th century shortly after the foundation of the
> Royal Society, scientific methods included observation and description
> (astronomy and biology eg John Rays early classification of plants).
> experimentation of all kinds eg Boyle and his law etc and the beginnings of
> doing historical science as with Steno and the many theories of the earth.
> Practitioners of each were recognised by the RS and to use the word
> anachronistically were all seen as scientific . And so it has continued to
> this day. By 1780 historical science in the form of what came to be called
> geology demonstrated the vast age of the earth but that ruffled few
> Christian feathers. Hence in the heyday of geology in the early 19th
> century
> geologists saw their work as sound as any experimental science. All were
> seen as aspects of scientific methodologies and equally scientific . The
> difference between historical and experimental science was often noted
> as by
> Rev William Whewell in the 1840s, but both were equally science. Those who
> did not think about scientific methodology (i.e. most scientists!) could
> pass seamlessly from one to another, as could those who did think about
> methodology. When studying geology in the 60s it never came up and we were
> taught geology with both experimental, and historical methods. Thus when I
> swapped from chemistry to geology at the end of my first year (equiv to 2nd
> year in the USA) I never taught about the difference . We simply used
> different scientific methods for different aspects.
> To get back to Dave, most physical science eg physics and chemistry and
> engineering can be done without reference to historical science as those
> methods are not applicable , thus a YEC who accepts only what he falsely
> terms Operational science can do good scientific work as it is not
> time-related. Ultimately it is impossible for a YEC do any geology,
> beyond a descriptive approach as they simply deny the validity of
> historical
> methods of science which have been refined over the last 300 years. A YEC
> geologist is obliged to accept only those aspects of geology which fit his
> so-called "paradigm" and reject everything else. The controversy is an
> imaginary one as it has been caused by YECs who simply refuse to accept the
> scientific evidence for an ancient earth. As for the RATE project that is
> simply nonsense, produced by people which should be able to use their
> science properly.
> Meanwhile we should resolutely refuse to use the terms Operational and
> Origins science as they are both nonsense and hand the ball to YECs .
> Finally the likes of Ross and Chadwick have to be geological schizophrenics
> and it is no wonder that so many of them flip and up with a crisis of
> faith.
> I hope this brief answer helps.
> Michael

Yes Michael I have read Geisler (quite a while ago and my copy is not
available right now) and I do not really know how to define operational
science which is why in detail his thesis falls apart. My view is that
world view and/or religion affect ones scientific studies, whether it be
Dawkins or some TE on this list. At times ones scientific studies may
force one to modify one's world view and at other times the world view
may take precedence. Your posts prior to the one above seemed to
indicate that any scientific work done by someone holding YEC or ID
points of view was at best highly suspect and at worst fraudulent or
that is how it came across to me. In your note above you corrected that
misunderstanding. I agree that geology, anthropology... etc are science,
that was not my point at all. I wish that we had a name for the kind of
interaction that I described above between world view and science, maybe
someone else on the list knows the proper term.

Dave W (CSCA)

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Received on Tue Aug 21 17:20:09 2007

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