Monday, August 29, 2005

Knowing something

Again, influenced by the emotive power of a screaming tenor saxophone and the smoothest beat available, I have decided to begin perhaps the first of a series of evaluations of the validities of the theory of evolution in the classroom (and perhaps in the meantime explain why I think that the link to the left is the funniest sites in the world). The first exposition will be on the subject of "knowing something", and how it effects the way we look at modern science.

First, epistemology is, for those of you who don't know, is, according to, the branch of philosophy that studies knowledge, it's presuppositions and foundations, and it's extent and validity. Basically, as Francis Schaeffer put it, It is how we know that we know. This is pretty much what I'm dealing with.

A problem that we are currently facing as a nation is the one of teaching [I]ntelligent [D]esign in our science classroom, in addition to the theory of evolution. A setback that we face is that ID isn't *science*, as defined by those with a serious bias against it. Indeed, it appears to be the antithesis thereof (again, as defined by those with a antipathetic bias).

Apparently, the very fact of God or a belief in him falsifies any claims to *science* and immediately classifies it as *religion*. This causes a very obvious problem for us Christians. This disallows any stakes that we may claim in the scientific agenda. This is why, when asked if he believes in evolution, the ardent science teacher will say, "No. I don't believe in evolution. I merely accept that the earth is very old and that life has changed very much over a long period of time." They can never call it belief.

As creationists attempting to get a "belief" in God into our "science" classroom, we would do well to recognize this and try to understand why this is so. Truthfully, they have no choice but to believe in something, because everyone has a worldview. Every single person that lives has a biased presupposition as to what occurred to shape the earth and the life in it into what it is now (this makes it impossible for anyone to be completely, totally objective about a subject such as this).

One of the things that shapes science is evidence. According to the University of California Museum of paleontology, "Evidence is the basic stuff of science. Without evidence there is only speculation." Still, the evolutionary theory has been singularly lacking in providing evidence of it's most pivotal *facts*, a transitional state and a gain in genetic information! Indeed, the acuteness of this problem is such that evolutionists cannot nearly satisfy a fundamentalist creationists' questions on the matter! When it comes to evidence, which is basically the substance of what we "know", evolution has failed the scientific method.

"Inferences are logical conclusions based on observable facts", says the University of California. "Much of what we know from scientific study is based on inferences from data, whether the object of study is a star or an atom." They then go on to reason that, even though no one has ever seen the inside of an atom, we can know what is inside it by inferences. They liken this to "inferring" that the world is billions of years old, via "multiple lines of evidence." My question to them is this: What are those multiple lines of evidence, and where are they found?

One of the constraints of science is the limit of a repeatable test. The foremost problem in saying that we can infer information from the past the same as we can from an atom or star is that the atom and star exist in the present, quite obviously, while the past is just that: past! It only happened once! Moreover, no one was there to see it! I repeat my previous question: What are those multiple lines of evidence, and where are they found?

If anyone has an answer for my question, or an opinion concerning the content here (contrary or otherwise), please leave a comment.


Anonymous said...

Interestingly enough, I came up against this very topic yesterday in my first chemistry class. "ID is not science because there is no way to apply the scientific method to it." Those were not his exact words, but they were the gist.

Nic Miller said...

ask him if there's any real way to apply the scientific method to evolution. The TRUE scientific method, that is, with a good bit of philosophy thrown in...

Anonymous said...

Interesting, but I have the idea that he'd get upset for me bringing up such an irrelavent topic in a fundamental chemistry class. You can come here, take the class, and ask him yourself.

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of the twist on the famous phrase, "I think, therefore I am.", which goes like this: "I think that I think, therefore I think that I am."