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Answering a Critic – Origin Science and Operational Science

October 5, 2010

Recently, I received the following comment from someone in the UK, who apparently took issue with the Creation Letter. He wrote the following:

“This ‘creation letter’ is ALL OVER THE PLACE! 

I quote from it (OK arguably I ‘quote mine’, though in a representative fashion and chronologically):
“Observable, testable, repeatable science has brought us many benefits and innovations… The Scientific Method itself is based on the idea that an orderly creation can be rationally understood because it was designed by an Intelligent Creator”.
“Evolution is not observable, testable, repeatable science. It’s a belief about the past, an atheist Just-So Story seeking to displace the divinely revealed Creation record. It’s based on the flaw of naturalism, which begs that all problems must have a natural explanation, so God isn’t needed. This stands directly at odds with the Biblical claim that God’s existence, eternal power and Godhead are self-evident in His Creation, for it excludes an Intelligent Creator from all consideration”.
“We do not follow cleverly devised fables. While the Bible is NOT a science textbook, the Word of God is true and accurate in all it records”.
“We the undersigned affirm the truth of a Biblical, literal 6-day Creation and strongly discourage any Bible-believing Christian from endorsing or celebrating an Evolution Sunday. Evolution is a lie which undermines both Biblical authority and the foundational basis of the Gospel… We ask that science remain science, so that truth may remain truth.”I would like to know HOW the author(s) of this ridiculous letter would define the word ‘science’. What they put forward is a travesty of science. Why can’t they just be honest and admit that they are ANTI-science whenever science conflicts with the Bible and make clear to all that they are arguing THEOLOGY because their fundamentalist Christian faith is that the Bible somehow trumps the scientific method?

What is the source of the claimed ‘lie’? Humans, the devil or God? I would like to know. Will I get an answer I wonder.

By the way, in the UK at least the word ‘inerrancy’ is spelt in the way just shown.

TO SUM UP, NO I DO NOT AGREE WITH THIS LETTER.

While I couldn’t technically approve the comment (Comments are reserved for those who AGREE with the Creation Letter; it’s how you add your signature) lest I open myself up to the laughable charge of trying to inflate the number of signatures, I thought it worth responding to.

So without further ado…

“This ‘creation letter’ is ALL OVER THE PLACE!”

And that’s simply awesome! Thanks for noticing. More and more folks are discovering this site and our mission daily. I thank God for the opportunities He’s given us to make this project known!

I quote from it (OK arguably I ‘quote mine’, though in a representative fashion and chronologically):
“Observable, testable, repeatable science has brought us many benefits and innovations… The Scientific Method itself is based on the idea that an orderly creation can be rationally understood because it was designed by an Intelligent Creator”.
“Evolution is not observable, testable, repeatable science. It’s a belief about the past, an atheist Just-So Story seeking to displace the divinely revealed Creation record. It’s based on the flaw of naturalism, which begs that all problems must have a natural explanation, so God isn’t needed. This stands directly at odds with the Biblical claim that God’s existence, eternal power and Godhead are self-evident in His Creation, for it excludes an Intelligent Creator from all consideration”.
“We do not follow cleverly devised fables. While the Bible is NOT a science textbook, the Word of God is true and accurate in all it records”.
“We the undersigned affirm the truth of a Biblical, literal 6-day Creation and strongly discourage any Bible-believing Christian from endorsing or celebrating an Evolution Sunday. Evolution is a lie which undermines both Biblical authority and the foundational basis of the Gospel… We ask that science remain science, so that truth may remain truth.”

He omited a few portions of the Creation Letter, but he got the gist of it. You can read the entire letter on our homepage, http://creationletter.com

I would like to know HOW the author(s) of this ridiculous letter would define the word ‘science’.

I would like to accomodate him. Science at its most basic level is defined as knowledge. Creationists recognize that there are two type of science: operational and origins.

 Operational science deals with the present and is subject to the scientific method – It is testable, observable, repeatable and falsifiable. Origins science, also refered to as historical or forensic science, deals with the past and is NOT subject to the scientific method. It is not directly testable. The past cannot be observed or repeated; it’s already happened. Operational science deals with the material world we observe and is temporally limited to present phenomena.

Origins science is something of an educated guess based on a weight of arguments and evidences, the latter of which are not self-interpretive and are generally interpreted according to our presuppositions. Typically, a rescuing device may be employed to avoid falsification. Our presuppositions are derived from whatever we hold our ultimate standard of authority (eg. reason, the Bible, consensus, et cetera). Origins science is therefore not the same as operational science.

“What they put forward is a travesty of science.”

An interesting assertion considering he was just asking how this project defines science. It appears he has drawn his own conclusions. Let’s see what he’s come up with…  

Why can’t they just be honest and admit that they are ANTI-science whenever science conflicts with the Bible and make clear to all that they are arguing THEOLOGY because their fundamentalist Christian faith is that the Bible somehow trumps the scientific method?

Ah, here we find a logical fallacy of bifurcation. The old science versus theology canard. Unfortunately, we are not antiscience. In fact, Bible-believing Christians pretty much gave the world science and we continue to practice normal operational science today – without the slightest need for the theory of evolution!  

While it’s true that our origins science is based on our theology, it is equally true that the origin science of evolution is based on an atheistic philosophy (again, naturalism investigates the world as if God did not exist). Since the interpretations of origins science are determined by its ultimate standard (reason or special revelation; man’s word or God’s Word), we should expect a Christian to interpet the evidence consistent with Biblical revelation. We acknowledge that some Christians are not quite so consistent in this area, but they ought to be. 

I should also point out that your statement contains an associative ad hominem (fundamentalist is a loaded term these days) and a false equivocation. As previously stated, there is a difference between operational science that uses the scientific method and origins science that does not. The claims of evolution are not subject to the scientific method so your objection is something of a poorly-thatched straw man. Bible-affirming Christians use the scientific method; they just don’t buy evolution’s Just-so stories.

What is the source of the claimed ‘lie’? Humans, the devil or God? I would like to know. Will I get an answer I wonder.

The lie of evolution is consistent with the origin of all lies, summed up in the Serpent’s question: “Did God really say that?”

By the way, in the UK at least the word ‘inerrancy’ is spelt in the way just shown.

TO SUM UP, NO I DO NOT AGREE WITH THIS LETTER.

To sum up, I’m not surpised. You evidence that you hold to a different ultimate authority. The Bible is my ultimate standard. Your ultimate standard is human reason. Unfortunately, apart from a Creator God such as described in the Bible you cannot even account for why the laws of logic function, so your ultimate standard is arbitrary. If the God of the Bible existed as revealed in Scripture, He is a rational Being who created the universe, so I would expect the laws of logic to be uniform.

May I suggest two books to you, both by Dr. Jason Lisle: Discerning Truth & The Ultimate Proof of Creation. I think you’ll find them both challenging and enlightening.

-Rev Tony Breeden

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12 Comments
  1. Ashley Haworth-Roberts (Mr) permalink
    October 6, 2010 5:15 pm

    Dear Tony Breeden
    I’m afraid you misunderstand my phrase “all over the place”. On this side of the Atlantic at least it can mean “ranging between lots of separate topics” or “lacking a coherent narrative” – sorry if that was unclear to you.
    On me saying that the letter is a ‘travesty of science’ the letter MIXES science with religious faith, I disagree with the contention that what you term ‘origins science’ “is NOT subject to the scientific method” (though cast-iron proof of events in the distant past can of course be hard to come by), and – having checked an encyclopedia – I found this definition of science which seems a fairly reasonable one: “any systematic field of study or body of knowledge that aims, through experiment, observation, and deduction, to produce reliable explanations of phenomena, with reference to the material and physical world”.
    I disagree that selectively using Bible theology as a substitute for a scientifically-derived understanding of the past is “not anti-science” ie I disagree that it’s somehow ‘pro’-science.
    Naturalism investigates the material world as it finds it – it omits any ‘miraculous supernatural interventions’ by a God from its explanations but it does NOT declare at any stage that God is impossible/non-existent as one assumes a God WOULD act in a natural manner from time to time (and would not contradict any Holy Book he wrote with the realities of his natural world and scientific laws).
    I am not sure what you mean by ‘false equivocation’ – anything resembling such in my comments was purely accidental.
    Whilst I understand your phrase ‘origins science’, your statement that “the claims of evolution are not subject to the scientific method” is incorrect. I suspect intentionally so.
    Non-creationist scientific understandings are based on a reasoned, peer-reviewed, collective interpretation of real physical evidence. They don’t merely make up ‘just so stories’ as an alternative to saying “we don’t know” or “let’s give up further investigations and just go with the Bible”.
    The theory of evolution is scientifically falsifiable.
    One further comment about the letter if I may. I am tempted to speculate that the author(s) of the letter assume that their intended mostly Christian audience are either fools or people who are plain ignorant of much of the Bible. Why?
    The letter reads “Jesus affirmed the truth and authority of God’s Word, mentioning Creation, Adam and Eve, Abel, Noah and Jonah as matters of fact. Though some object that religious truth is of a different order from scientific truth, Jesus refuted this false dichotomy when He asked Nicodemus, “If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?” [John 3:12] The very reason Jesus literally died and rose again is a world cursed by the literal Fall of a literal Adam!”
    Well, earlier in John chapter 3 Jesus told Nicodemus that he needed to be ‘born again’ of water and the Spirit. Yet – because Jesus then describes his message as “earthly things” – you try to make out that he was discussing SCIENCE!
    Really?

    Thank you for publishing my previous comments.

  2. October 7, 2010 9:17 pm

    My response:

    “Dear Tony Breeden
    I’m afraid you misunderstand my phrase “all over the place”. On this side of the Atlantic at least it can mean “ranging between lots of separate topics” or “lacking a coherent narrative” – sorry if that was unclear to you.”

    If that’s what you meant, I’d encourage you to demonstrate it rather than simply claiming this is the case.

    “On me saying that the letter is a ‘travesty of science’ the letter MIXES science with religious faith, I disagree with the contention that what you term ‘origins science’ “is NOT subject to the scientific method” (though cast-iron proof of events in the distant past can of course be hard to come by), and – having checked an encyclopedia – I found this definition of science which seems a fairly reasonable one: “any systematic field of study or body of knowledge that aims, through experiment, observation, and deduction, to produce reliable explanations of phenomena, with reference to the material and physical world”.”

    Here we have the fallacy of the irrelevant thesis. You see, I’m not arguing about the broad definition of science in general. I’m observing that within the realm of science exist both origins (forensic, historical) science and operational science. If you feel that past singularities are subject to the scientific method, I challenge you to demonstrate it. You will not be able to do so, because the scientific method deals with the testable, observable, repeatable present.

    You’ve also fallaciously insinuated that I’m mixing faith with science and that’s somehow invalid. As stated, this is not a matter of faith versus science, no matter how many times you repeat that oft-thatched straw man. My science is informed by and influenced by my religious worldview the same way your science is affected by your antireligious worldview. You pretend as if we had no true scientists, when a Creationist rocket scientist (Dr Werner von Braun) got man to the moon. Hubris.

    “I disagree that selectively using Bible theology as a substitute for a scientifically-derived understanding of the past is “not anti-science” ie I disagree that it’s somehow ‘pro’-science.”

    I’m not using theology as a substitute for science. My science is simply informed by my theology. There is an important point you miss when you ignore the distinction between origin and operational science. We Creationists accept the observations of operational science as valid, but we differ in our interpretations of the evidence when it comes to origins science. Why? Because we believe we have a piece to the puzzle that the naturalist does not. We believe that God has revealed key pieces of evidence by special revelation that necessarily alter our interpretation of the evidence to what actually happened. It’s like piecing together the evidence imperfectly and then having an Eyewitness tell you where your investigation erred. I interpret the evidence as if God exists and has done the things He claims to have done. You interpret the evidence as if God never existed at all.

    “Naturalism investigates the material world as it finds it – it omits any ‘miraculous supernatural interventions’ by a God from its explanations but it does NOT declare at any stage that God is impossible/non-existent as one assumes a God WOULD act in a natural manner from time to time (and would not contradict any Holy Book he wrote with the realities of his natural world and scientific laws).”

    Here is an excellent example of reification. Naturalism doesn’t investigate anything. It doesn’t do anything. Scientists investigate things.

    And as a bonus, here is an equally excellent sample of a straw man: you’ve equivocated INTERPRETATIONS of the natural world with the natural world itself. It’s true that all truth is God’s truth and that the Bible doesn’t contradict true science. It is false to claim that the interpretations and opinions of men (even if said men happen to be wearing lab coats) will never contradict the unfailing truth of God’s Word.

    “I am not sure what you mean by ‘false equivocation’ – anything resembling such in my comments was purely accidental.”

    Much of what you’ve said is false equivocation, as I’ve pointed out.

    “Whilst I understand your phrase ‘origins science’, your statement that “the claims of evolution are not subject to the scientific method” is incorrect. I suspect intentionally so.”

    I have been very clear on this site and elsewhere. I will repeat it for you, though you accuse me of deception. The claims of goo-to-you (phyletic, common descent) evolution are not subject to the scientific method. It’s true that evolutionists typically apply the term to both vertical microbes-to-man common descent evolution and the type of observable horizontal changes within kinds of creatures via speciation and natural selection. Creationists affirm the latter because they are observable. We further note that dogs remain dogs, whether wolves, English bulldogs or weiner dogs, so that this variation has fixed limits. This is consistent with the Bible. Yet the former claim of animals changing from one kind of creature (viz. dinosaurs to birds) to another is not observable and therefore not subject to the scientific method.

    Evolutionists typically conflate the meaning of evolution, switching between the sort of change everyone observes and affirms to unobservable fish-to-philosopher evolution without so much as a warning. I suspect intentionally so.

    “Non-creationist scientific understandings are based on a reasoned, peer-reviewed, collective interpretation of real physical evidence.”

    Yes, and also on the presupposition of naturalism – a presupposition at odds with that of Biblical creationism, but a presupposition all the same. We both look at the evidence through different sets of glasses. Your evolution-colored spectacles cause you to claim you can see evolution everywhere you look, even though the world does not really show this. The creationist’s prescription glasses allow him to see the world as it actually is.

    “They don’t merely make up ‘just so stories’ as an alternative to saying “we don’t know” or “let’s give up further investigations and just go with the Bible”.

    Here you offer the straw man of blind faith versus evolution. I give you credit you really don’t deserve when I note that evolutionists and creationists are both reasonable faiths based on weights of evidences and arguments. You do in fact make up “Just-so stories.” You speculate on how ape-like creatures became men and pretend this is the case. You speculate on how creatures that are homologous share common ancestry but make up alternate evolutionary tales of convergent evolution when animals you don’t think share a common ancestor have homologous features. You tell tales of how fish became land animals and land animals became whales, pretending all the while that it’s as matter-of-fact as if someone verified this with a time machine rather than having skillfully imagineered it based on the evolutionary interpretation of the same evidence that Creationists see in favor of the truth of the Bible.

    Your objection also gives the false impression that Creationists scientists give up valid scientific investigation which is demonstrably false.

    “The theory of evolution is scientifically falsifiable.”

    My usual response to this claim typically involves howls of derisive laughter, but I’ll tell you what: Tell me how it’s falsifiable (and try not to conflate natural sleection and speciation with goo-to-you evolution while you’re at it). Back up your outlandish claim. I’d advise you to read the following rebuttals of htose who’ve attempted this challenge in the past:

  3. Evolution is an Unfalsifiable Tautology
  4. Why the Speculative Nature of Darwinism Makes it Unfalsifiable
  5. Why Naturalism Makes Darwinism Unfalsifiable
  6. “One further comment about the letter if I may. I am tempted to speculate that the author(s) of the letter assume that their intended mostly Christian audience are either fools or people who are plain ignorant of much of the Bible. Why?”

    Do you still beat your wife? You’ve given us the fallacy of the complex question. Bifurcation at its basest. I am the author of the Creation Letter. I do not assume my Christian audience to be foolish, but rather I presume them to be better informed than those who still buy into their uncritical evolutionary public school brainwashing. I presume they know their Bibles too well to suppose that it could be wedded to such antithetical concepts as evolution, death before sin or long ages.

    The letter reads “Jesus affirmed the truth and authority of God’s Word, mentioning Creation, Adam and Eve, Abel, Noah and Jonah as matters of fact. Though some object that religious truth is of a different order from scientific truth, Jesus refuted this false dichotomy when He asked Nicodemus, “If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?” [John 3:12] The very reason Jesus literally died and rose again is a world cursed by the literal Fall of a literal Adam!”

    Yes, that’s what it says.

    “Well, earlier in John chapter 3 Jesus told Nicodemus that he needed to be ‘born again’ of water and the Spirit. Yet – because Jesus then describes his message as “earthly things” – you try to make out that he was discussing SCIENCE!
    Really?”

    No, you simply missed the point. I suspect intentionally so. I realize that the specific context of the passage refers to the discussion between Nicodemus and Jesus (I’ve never claimed otherwise), but the broader and most evident application of that pasage is this: that if we cannot believe the Bible when it speaks of earthly things – the age of the earth, the historicity of the Noahic Flood, the resurrectiuon of Christ, etc – then how shall we believe it when it speaks of spiritual things – salvation, eternal judgment, morality, etc. I’m not claiming Jesus was discussion science; that would be nonsense. I’m saying that what He said applies to the false claim of non-overlapping magisteria and makes a ruin of it as a viable option for the consistent Christian.

    “Thank you for publishing my previous comments.”

    Think nothing of it.

    -Rev Tony Breeden
    aka Sirius Knott

  • Ashley Haworth-Roberts (Mr) permalink
    October 8, 2010 9:23 pm

    “If that’s what you meant, I’d encourage you to demonstrate it rather than simply claiming this is the case.”
    You seem to be doubting my words. Why?
    The letter ranges between LOTS of big topics – science in general, evolution, what the Bible says about the role of God in creatiom, the Bible more generally.
    You make clear, correctly, that the scientific method leads to rational understandings. But then you say that evolution is both an ‘atheist Just-So Story’ and a ‘lie’. Those are not scientifc statements but FAITH statements. Made because you also assert that the Bible is inerrant (even though, as you acknowledge, it is ‘NOT a science textbook’).
    You then accuse me of various ‘fallacies’ and ‘equivocations’.
    “I’m not arguing about the broad definition of science in general.” I didn’t say you were, I said you were mixing science with religious faith – to clarify, I meant that after you dismiss what you term ‘origins science’ you replace it with the Bible instead. Actually you didn’t properly define science earlier, other than citing word ‘knowledge’. I could not of course dispute the idea that science leads to knowledge – though that knowledge sometimes can change over time. So I’m not arguing about your (limited) definition.
    “I challenge you to demonstrate it. You will not be able to do so…” Clearly, you are prejudging the issue. God may or may not exist, but I found Dawkins’ ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’ very interesting and would recommend it to you haven’t already read it. I suspect you may (like me) have read Jonathan Sarfati’s reply.
    “This is not a matter of faith versus science… My science is informed by and influenced by my religious worldview.” Precisely – because of your religious worldview you automatically reject PARTS of science, and replace them with ideas from the Bible.
    You ARE mixing faith with science.
    Have you studied science yourself? Of course, as you suggest some creationists sometimes participate in real science – as well as their ‘creation science’ apologetics that are not recognised in the US or UK science education curricula.
    “It is false to claim that the interpretations and opinions of men … will never contradict the unfailing truth of God’s Word.” I know it is. I’ve never said such a thing. I merely suggested that scientists might assume God “would not contradict any Holy Book he wrote with the realities of his natural world and scientific laws”. I meant here that they might assume this BEFORE reaching their evidence-based conclusions, not that they might ALTER their conclusions in a way that was contrary to the evidence.
    The claims of evolution are subject to the scientific method. The theory of evolution could be falsified scientifically, if ‘wrong’ material evidence came to light.
    “Yes, and also on the presupposition of naturalism…”. What about theistic evolutionists? They don’t preach godless ‘naturalism’ yet they also think evolution is happening.
    Your paragraph “Here you offer …Bible” misrepresents ‘evolutionists’ and implies that they are peddling fiction and indulging in a pretence. I’m afraid the latter is sheer nonsense.
    “Your objection also gives the false impression that Creationists scientists give up valid scientific investigation …” What they DO is reach a science conclusion that is a minority one (one based on the Bible) and then search for scientific evidence to back it up – whilst also seeking to malign the motives of those who follow all the evidence – with statements like your “You do in fact make up “Just-so stories””. Which imply dishonesty, rather than the drawing up of provisional accounts and hypotheses based on the sum of the available evidence.
    On falsifiability, have you NEVER heard of the proverbial ‘rabbit in the pre-Cambrian’?
    I note and accept what you now say about Jesus’ words to Nicodemus. But how actually is ‘being born again of the Spirit’ earthly rather than spiritual anyway? Or are you suggesting that Jesus was really referring here, by his use of the word ‘earthly’, to Genesis 1 and the genealogies? That would be NEWS to me. (Perhaps he also said things that the Bible does not record?)
    I assume you believe in the existence of something that could be called ‘Bible science’. If you DO, is that operational science or origins science?
    Also, I’m wondering why Young Earth Creationists in America like you are so keen on jargon? I prefer plain English myself (even American English!)?

  • October 15, 2010 4:21 am

    To which I reply:

    //Have you studied science yourself? Of course, as you suggest some creationists sometimes participate in real science – as well as their ‘creation science’ apologetics that are not recognised in the US or UK science education curricula.//

    While my personal field of expertise would have no bearing on the validity of my arguments (nice associate ad hominem, btw), I continue to study science to this day.

    You’re begging the question again. “Creationist *sometimes* participate in *real* science…” An adapted No True Scotsman fallacy! The fact that creation science is excluded in the US has more to do with current misinterpretations of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution, and speaks nothing to the point as to the actual validity of creation science.

    //“It is false to claim that the interpretations and opinions of men … will never contradict the unfailing truth of God’s Word.” I know it is. I’ve never said such a thing. I merely suggested that scientists might assume God “would not contradict any Holy Book he wrote with the realities of his natural world and scientific laws”. I meant here that they might assume this BEFORE reaching their evidence-based conclusions, not that they might ALTER their conclusions in a way that was contrary to the evidence.//

    You’re running in circles, but you’ve still got the same basic problem. The evidence does not speak for itself; it must be interpreted and it is always interpreted according to our presuppositions.

    God would not contradict His Word with the realities of the natural world and scientific laws; therefore if our interpretations of the evidence seem to contradict His perfect Word, we do not reinterpret God’s Word – we re-assess our interpretations of the natural world! Unless of course we presume reason is far superior to revelation, which is to impugn God’s omniscience and omnipotence all at once!

    //The claims of evolution are subject to the scientific method. The theory of evolution could be falsified scientifically, if ‘wrong’ material evidence came to light.//

    Void for vagueness. Try again. Don’t be afraid to be specific.

    //“Yes, and also on the presupposition of naturalism…”. What about theistic evolutionists? They don’t preach godless ‘naturalism’ yet they also think evolution is happening.//

    I did in fact address them. I acknowledged in my original rebuttal that there are some Christians who who do not consistently hold the Bible as theeir ultimate standard. Theistic evolutionists are in an impossibly absurd situation: they’ve swallowed a tale designed to explain the origins of life, the universe and everything else without the need for God and then declared that God created everything by processes that were dreamt up as an alternative to His agency! Thesistic evolutionists don’t preach a godless naturalism, but they do preach a contradiction.

    //Your paragraph “Here you offer …Bible” misrepresents ‘evolutionists’ and implies that they are peddling fiction and indulging in a pretence. I’m afraid the latter is sheer nonsense.//

    They’ve suspended all credulity, sir. Consider Hawking’s recent science fictions regarding multiverses and alternate histories. I’m not presuming evos are peddling fictions; I’m stating it. I’m not one to mince words; if the Bible is true and our ultimate standard, evolution is of necessity false.

    //“Your objection also gives the false impression that Creationists scientists give up valid scientific investigation …” What they DO is reach a science conclusion that is a minority one (one based on the Bible) and then search for scientific evidence to back it up – whilst also seeking to malign the motives of those who follow all the evidence – with statements like your “You do in fact make up “Just-so stories””. Which imply dishonesty, rather than the drawing up of provisional accounts and hypotheses based on the sum of the available evidence.

    What strange objections! Are you seriously suggesting I ignore the Bible as a viable piece of evidence if I hold it as my ultimate standard? I would only do as you suggest if I pretended the Bible was my ultimate standard but really supposed finite human reason were the ultimate standard.

    You ignore your own presuppositions and biases and pretend as if the evidence speaks for itself – the fallacy of reification, btw.

    //On falsifiability, have you NEVER heard of the proverbial ‘rabbit in the pre-Cambrian’?//

    Heh heh. You really didn’t read those links I suggested, did you? I’ve answered that ad nauseam.

    //I note and accept what you now say about Jesus’ words to Nicodemus. But how actually is ‘being born again of the Spirit’ earthly rather than spiritual anyway? Or are you suggesting that Jesus was really referring here, by his use of the word ‘earthly’, to Genesis 1 and the genealogies? That would be NEWS to me. (Perhaps he also said things that the Bible does not record?)//

    Again, stone ears, I refer you to the explananation I gave earlier. Read it again rather than giving the same objection over and agin. Repetition of a bad argument hardly makes it more convincing.

    //I assume you believe in the existence of something that could be called ‘Bible science’. If you DO, is that operational science or origins science?//

    Why are you asking me questions I have already taken the time to answer? Am I casting pearls, sir? The term ‘Bible science’ is a ridiculous straw man. We’ve never proposed such an animal, to my knowledge. Our science is admittedly presuppositional; evolution is unadmittedly presuppositional. But Creation science (we do like to be precise, so as not misrepresent – see next reply) is origins science.

    //Also, I’m wondering why Young Earth Creationists in America like you are so keen on jargon? I prefer plain English myself (even American English!)?//

    Ah, the fallacy of bifurcation. It’s plain English or this “jargon,” right? Science often employs jargon, sir, to allow for precision. By using concise terms, equivocation is deterred.

    Regards,
    Rev Tony Breeden

  • Ashley Haworth-Roberts (Mr) permalink
    October 15, 2010 2:59 pm

    My asking whether you have studied science was relevant and was no ‘ad hominem’. Had you asked me that question I would have told you that last year I completed an Open University eight month ‘Exploring Science’ course. I am NOT highly qualified in any particular scientific discipline.
    “You’re running in circles…” You haven’t demonstrated that that is the case.
    Creationists have the PRESUPPOSITION that scientific explanations are incomplete without taking account of what the Bible says. You’ve said so yourself: “We re-assess our interpretations of the natural world…”.
    I don’t see a need to argue about what theistic evolutionists believe, as I do not really call myself one.
    “If the Bible is true and our ultimate standard, evolution is of necessity false”. Even if the Bible is what you say it is, THAT is a faith statement about science (religion trespassing beyond its domain if you like) NOT a scientific statement about science. That is why creationism should NOT be taught as part of SCIENCE. Science as described in the definition I offered previously. (Science might be similarly trespassing if it insisted that God does not exist.)
    “Are you seriously suggesting I ignore the Bible as a viable piece of evidence …?” The Bible is evidence, but – unless supported by some material evidence – it cannot be counted as SCIENTIFIC evidence. Therefore, Christian creationists are in no position to INSIST that all scientists who disagree with them are proven to be scientifically mistaken – even if that is their faith position and their personal opinion. Especially as not even all Christians take the same view.
    I haven’t read you links, I admit. Is there some key point that you make re the ‘rabbit’ comment that I offered?
    Are you prepared to tell me briefly – if you can – what your answer was, or are you insisting that I now read your links?
    “Why are you asking me questions I have already taken the time to answer?” My question was a NEW one.
    However, I welcome your admission that creation science (based on the BIBLE) is – like evolution – ‘origins science’.

  • November 2, 2010 1:26 am

    Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply. I have been occupied.

    //My asking whether you have studied science was relevant and was no ‘ad hominem’. Had you asked me that question I would have told you that last year I completed an Open University eight month ‘Exploring Science’ course. I am NOT highly qualified in any particular scientific discipline.//

    How was it relevant?

    //“You’re running in circles…” You haven’t demonstrated that that is the case.//

    I have. Which makes me wonder if you’re listening.

    //Creationists have the PRESUPPOSITION that scientific explanations are incomplete without taking account of what the Bible says. You’ve said so yourself: “We re-assess our interpretations of the natural world…”.//

    Finally! You’re paying attention after all.

    //I don’t see a need to argue about what theistic evolutionists believe, as I do not really call myself one.//

    You brought up the point.

    //“If the Bible is true and our ultimate standard, evolution is of necessity false”. Even if the Bible is what you say it is, THAT is a faith statement about science…///

    No. That’s a logical argument, not a faith statement. (And I do hope you aren’t equivocation evolution with science. It’s simply poor form at this stage of our discussion.) If the Bible is true and our ultimate standard and it reveals that a Creator made everything in six days by divine fiat, then any purely naturalistic process invoked to explain our origins (including evolution) is by necessity false. Logic. It’s awesome.

    //(religion trespassing beyond its domain if you like)//

    If you’ve read the Creation Letter, you realize that I reject this concept of distinct domains of knowledge, aka NOMA or non-overlapping magisterial.

    //NOT a scientific statement about science.//

    Again, it’s a logical conclusion that has ramifications for how we should conduct origin science.

    // That is why creationism should NOT be taught as part of SCIENCE.//

    Non sequitur (It does not follow). Even had I made a faith statement (I didn’t), what would that have to do with whether creationism should or should not be taught as part of science? Um, nothing.

    //Science as described in the definition I offered previously.//

    Your arbitrary definition of science is vague and doesn’t address the distinctions between operational and origins science. Why should I give it the slightest consideration?

    //(Science might be similarly trespassing if it insisted that God does not exist.)/

    Nice, empty words. Here’s the rub of it: If evolution and millions of years are true and things can be explained by purely natural processes, God isn’t necessary. Worse, if the evolution’s Just-so Story is true, God has lied to us. If God’s Word is true, evolution must needs be false. Therefore it is hubris to say (or even imply) that science cannot comment on God’s existence.

    //“Are you seriously suggesting I ignore the Bible as a viable piece of evidence …?” The Bible is evidence, but – unless supported by some material evidence – it cannot be counted as SCIENTIFIC evidence.//

    We’re using it as historical eyewitness evidence from an unimpeachable Source. You’ve given me an irrelevant thesis again.

    //Therefore, Christian creationists are in no position to INSIST that all scientists who disagree with them are proven to be scientifically mistaken//

    We do if the Bible is in fact true. For that matter if the Bible is true, you (and any other evolutionist out there) are in no position to insist that all scientists who disagree with Scripture are not scientifically mistaken.

    // – even if that is their faith position and their personal opinion.//

    What about your faith position? You believe that evolution is true. You place your faith in the current consensus of science, even though it admits it is committed a priori to naturalism (which precludes the supernatural from consideration and pretty much guarantees that they’ll come to the wrong conclusions if God did in fact do something). You place your faith in the scientific method and the laws of logic, though these are not part of the material world. You trust that the laws of logic do not change (dare I say, evolve) from moment to moment. You trust in the reliability of your memory and that your mind is not somehow defective so that you only believe that a consensus of scientists currently believes in any such thing as evolution. You believe in the uniformity of nature, that the laws of physics are the same everywhere and do not change. These things are called the preconditions of intelligibility, things we must affirm a priori in order to reason and conduct investigation at all.

    The Biblical worldview makes sense of the preconditions of intelligibility. We can account for them because the universe is the product of an omnipresent, omniscient, rational Mind who made man in His image. The atheist and/or evolutionist can give no rational, non-arbitrary reason for the preconditions of intelligibility.

    And what of YOUR personal opinion? Why should I consider it at all? Especially if your presuppositions were true! If our minds were the chance products of evolutionary processes, how would you know your brain was working properly? We know the mind is capable of fooling itself ad of accepting contradictions. How do we know your brain has evolved quite properly to process logic correctly?

    If my Biblical presuppositions are true, my mind is the product of a Rational Being who made me in His image and made the universe according to comprehensible laws. As such, I would expect the possibility of fallacious reasoning and I would expect the unregenerate (non-Christian) mind to be at enmity with God, but I would also expect that, in general, the human mind (even yours) to be functioning properly, even if it was being misused.

    //Especially as not even all Christians take the same view.//

    So first you don’t want to talk about thesistic evolutionists… and now you do?

    That not all Christians take the same view only implies that one of us is wrong. You see, you’ve made the common error of presuming that multiple views on an issue make them all somehow equally valid. 2+2=4. If there were views that claimed that 2+2=5 or that 2+1=4, would you mistake them for being equally valid? Of course not! Well, the Bible gives multiple warning about discerning truth from error. There is a right way and a wrong way. The orthodox, traditional view of Genesis, the one affirmed in Scriptures (our Sourcebook, if you will) by the New Testament authors and by Jesus Christ himself cannot be reconciled with the low view of Scripture held by some Christians.

    //I haven’t read you links, I admit. Is there some key point that you make re the ‘rabbit’ comment that I offered? Are you prepared to tell me briefly – if you can – what your answer was, or are you insisting that I now read your links?//

    Yes. You would simply imagineer the rabbit problem away. “Oh, it appears rabbits evolved much earlier than we thought!” or “It appears some dinosaurs survived past the Cretaceous so maybe this creature and exposed fossils account for mystery of worldwide dragon legends.” Evolution is so plastic it can explain completely contradictory evidence (eg. Homology proves common ancestry or its convergent evolution when homology doesn’t mean common ancestry), which makes it practically unfalsifiable.

    If you care to argue this subject, I’ll have to insist that you make those comments at the links provided.

    //“Why are you asking me questions I have already taken the time to answer?” My question was a NEW one. However, I welcome your admission that creation science (based on the BIBLE) is – like evolution – ‘origins science’.//

    This is no admission. This is the standard Creationist position on this matter. I can’t even count the number of presentations I’ve seen that make this very point. Yes, creationism and evolutionism would both fall under origins science, not operational science. Glad you finally got it.

  • Ashley Haworth-Roberts (Mr) permalink
    November 2, 2010 1:20 pm

    A science background, or lack of it, is relevant given the letter which you wrote and are asking people to sign.
    I am not running in circles, I am addressing your arguments. I am also paying full attention.
    I note you are claiming logic for your statement, and of course I accept that. However, I still believe that it is a faith statement regarding science. Clearly, you do not.
    You say evolution is “of necessity false” and you state that because of the Bible and your belief about what the Bible is. That is NOT a scientific statement, because it it not looking at any scientific evidence – hence it has no place in a science curriculum.
    I note that you have decided to reject the definition I offered of ‘science’ – which I did not make up myself. Why might that be? Your own definition was ‘knowledge’. I think that is MORE vague than the definition that I offered.
    “It it is hubris to say (or even imply) that science cannot comment on God’s existence.” Just as well I never said that science “cannot comment” – though, unless a God reveals himself today, science cannot offer us proof for or against God.
    Merely asserting that someone is ‘scientifically mistaken’ – whoever says it – is rather meaningless if you cannot demonstrate from science/scientific knowledge that that is so.
    Yes, I’m prepared to go with what you call the ‘preconditions of intelligibility’. Physical laws exist and the universe and Earth are not just sheer, unpredictable chaos.
    My point about theistic evolutionists is that they exist, but that I do not really consider myself one.
    I’m sure the ‘modern evolutionary synthesis’ is not quite as ‘plastic’ as you imply.

    I haven’t pasted in your words above as I’ve addressed them, but have addressed points you made in the order in which you made them.

  • November 3, 2010 10:03 pm

    //A science background, or lack of it, is relevant given the letter which you wrote and are asking people to sign.//

    Actually, my background is irrelevant to the argument the letter makes. One must refute the argument whether I’m a peer-reviewed professor or some guy in a shack in the woods. Appeals to credentialism have been addressed on this site before; they are simply attempts to avoid engaging the argument.

    //I am not running in circles, I am addressing your arguments. I am also paying full attention.//

    If you say so.

    //I note you are claiming logic for your statement, and of course I accept that…//

    I am not simply claiming to make a logical statement. I demonstrated it.

    //…However, I still believe that it is a faith statement regarding science. Clearly, you do not.//

    So you believe it is a faith statement. Believe. Why is that? Ah, because you have a bias. If God or the Bible are mentioned, you immediately categorize a statement or argument into a box labeled “faith,” or “belief” or somesuch; and since you’ve arbitrarily labeled it thus, in your mind that forbids that statement or argument from being a logical argument, right?

    //You say evolution is “of necessity false” and you state that because of the Bible and your belief about what the Bible is. That is NOT a scientific statement, because it [is] not looking at any scientific evidence – hence it has no place in a science curriculum.//

    Here we prove my hypothesis. You have NOT paid attention. You are NOT addressing my arguments. Instead, your bias filter is on and you are simply saying, “No, no, it must be a faith statement because he mentioned the Bible.” I used a logical argument. The law of noncontradiction states that two opposite truth claims cannot both be true. For example, I cannot say I am in my car, and I am also not in my car. Only one of those positions could be correct. The argument I’ve made is that either the Biblical Creator made the universe as recorded in the Bible or it came about on its own by blind, chance, natural processes; and both cannot be true. So if the Bible’s account of Creation is true, evolution would be of necessity false.

    Your crudely put objection that no statement that is “not looking an any scientific evidence” [you really ought to try to be more clear], by which I suppose you mean any statement which has not been made after looking at the evidence, has no place in a science curriculum, is a question-begging epitaph. What is scientific evidence? Simply evidence considered in the course of scientific inquiry. Observational science can use the scientific [inductive] method, because it deals with events in the present which are observable, testable, repeatable and falsifiable. Unfortunately, when we switch from operational science to origins science, the realm of microbes-to-man common descent or Creation science, we must switch to the historical, forensic method because we are dealing with past singularities that are not directly repeatable, testable or observable. So if you’re saying that statements that aren’t based on direct observation of the evidence have no place in science curriculum – well, you just invalidated Darwinism as well.

    Evidence must be interpreted. Evolutionists like to brag about the great whopping pile of evidence they have for their theory and then demand to know where ours is. It confuses them sometimes when we note that it’s the same pile they’re claiming for their theory – with Creationist interpretations instead of evolutionary ones.

    I will warn you that if your entire argument is that the mere mention of God or the Bible invalidates a theory, statement or argument as being scientific, you’re being arbitrary and this conversation is probably going nowhere.

    //I note that you have decided to reject the definition I offered of ‘science’ – which I did not make up myself. Why might that be? Your own definition was ‘knowledge’. I think that is MORE vague than the definition that I offered.//

    I’ve actually detailed a definition of science in several places, mentioning the differences between operational and origins science. Anyone not selectively reading this thread would notice this.

    //”It it is hubris to say (or even imply) that science cannot comment on God’s existence.” Just as well I never said that science “cannot comment” – though, unless a God reveals himself today, science cannot offer us proof for or against God.//

    Science cannot truly prove anything, so you’re offering an irrelevant thesis. It does comment on him and strongly imply that He is unnecessary. This has further implications for the God of the Bible, or any similar claim, where God claims to have had an active, personal role in creation.

    //Merely asserting that someone is ‘scientifically mistaken’ – whoever says it – is rather meaningless if you cannot demonstrate from science/scientific knowledge that that is so. //

    It would be. Fortunately, I’ve made my case several times over. Enjoy this site.

    //Yes, I’m prepared to go with what you call the ‘preconditions of intelligibility’. Physical laws exist and the universe and Earth are not just sheer, unpredictable chaos.//

    In an evolutionary universe, there is no rationally consistent, nonarbitrary reason for these preconditions of intelligibility; thus, the evolutionary worldview is flawed. Why aren’t the laws of the universe still evolving? Why aren’t laws of reason or logic different in different areas of the universe? Why does everyone agree we ought to be rational (which is a moral proposition)? Evolution holds no answers to these questions. It doesn’t matter that you can use the laws of physic or logic or that they work; the question is why should they exist as they do in an evolving, chance universe?

    Pick yourself up a copy of Dr Jason Lisle’s The Ultimate Proof of Creation. It’ll make you think.

    //My point about theistic evolutionists is that they exist, but that I do not really consider myself one.//

    Yes, they exist, but it doesn’t make their position legitimate. Flat Earthers, Holocaust deniers and racists exist as well.

    //I’m sure the ‘modern evolutionary synthesis’ is not quite as ‘plastic’ as you imply. //

    Read the links I provided earlier in this thread. You won’t be so sure anymore.

    //I haven’t pasted in your words above as I’ve addressed them, but have addressed points you made in the order in which you made them.//

    This argument has become disjointed and I’m satisfied that you aren’t really listening anyhow. I’ll not cast pearls.

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