Re: [asa] The fight in Texas over evolution training in schools

From: Douglas Hayworth <>
Date: Wed Mar 25 2009 - 13:49:35 EDT

On Wed, Mar 25, 2009 at 9:32 AM, George Murphy <> wrote:

> Philosophy of science can be quite helpful but it's best introduced after
> people know some science. & actually engaging in some real scientific work
> should be a prerequisite for being a philosopher of science. I feel the
> same way about philosophers of science who haven't done that as I do about
> literary critics who've never written anything.

I agree. If you teach in a "philosophy of science" style from the get-go,
you basically allow students to glibly disregard things that they don't want
to believe or can't understand the basis of; their common sense will trump
what more sophisticated evidence has demonstrated more or less definitively.
You'd never be able to cover the necessary range of subjects in high school
if you took the time to discuss all the evidence (and associated
epistemology) for each topic.

Let's face it, if we believe that the creation is real, then things actually
exist and events have actually happened. Some things are known as facts
(i.e., without ambiguity). The earth is not a flat disc, and it is not the
center of the universe; however, the evidence for even that simple fact is
not directly understandable to a grade-schooler. Plate tectonics is a fact
and the earth really has enjoyed a long geological history. Descent with
modification and multiplication of species really has occurred; that's a
fact. Historical sciences are often portrayed as being "weaker" than normal
science because it's not repeatable. I would contend that it is "stronger"
in the sense that it really happened by a contigent process that has left a
specific trail of observable specified evidence in physical world that we
can observe. Science really does allow us to make progress in
understanding the physical universe; this necessarily means that more things
are "known" more definitively than in the past. What is a fact if not
something that we know without a doubt.

If, as a Christian, I am to have confidence in the existence of God and
Christ, then I must as a pre-requisite have confidence in the reality of
creation. This does not mean that I put God in subordination to the
authority of science, but an acknowledgmen of the fact that God has
communicated to me in creation. If we expect people to believe if in Christ
(the Son of God) for salvation, they must as a prerequisite believe in Jesus
of Nazareth (i.e., the physical man). We must believe that
science is discovering reality.

The main problem with people not accepting scientfic consensus is that they
have chosen other authorities (their parents, pastors, church) which they
allow to trump the authority of the scientific process. They dismiss science
as a liberal conspiracy. The problem is a lack of due respect for science as
a way of knowing.

Sorry for the rambling...I've probably said something that will get me in
trouble. At least it will provoke more discussion!


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Received on Wed Mar 25 13:49:51 2009

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