Why Choose Naturalist Explanations Over Biblical Creation?

| October 8, 2008 | 109 Replies

Discussions in the comment sections of many posts on this site chaotically tend toward the strange attractor of one generally off-topic issue: Why does Creation/Evolution seem correct to you? It is usually a discussion between Creationists who believe that the scientific conclusions are based on faith, and Naturalists who believe that the Scientific Method is best tool ever invented to extract sense from chaos.

Kepler's UniverseIn the beginning, Natural Philosophers (now called Scientists) in the West all believed in the Bible. Bishop Ussher gave the final word on the age of the universe according to the Bible in the early 1600′s, and the Church had all the answers. But then the idea emerged that one can actually test Aristotelian conclusions (purely rational and based on “what everybody knows”) with observations. Copernicus demonstrated with careful observation and applied math around 1600 that only the moon itself orbited the Earth, and all the other planets circled the Sun. The church accepted this, as a philosophical observation, irrelevant to the place of Man in the Universe. Then Galileo made a gadfly of himself by publishing popular books mocking the Pope for publicly continuing in the preaching of Geocentrism when it was clear, with the aid of a telescope, that not only did the planets orbit the sun, but that some of those planets had moons of their own. Many moons, placed where Man couldn’t even see them without modern technology.

Well, it just snowballed from there. Newton, a devout Christian, developed math in the late 17th century that accurately modeled the behavior of pretty much everything that man could observe at the time (the Laws of Motion). And those models showed how things naturally happen, without need for divine intervention. Maxwell's EquationsThenĀ  in the mid-19th century, J.C. Maxwell developed similar rules to explain electromagnetism (light, electricity, radio, etc). Discovery after discovery kept challenging the universally held beliefs in many areas. Gravity wasn’t related to nor caused by sin. Demons didn’t cause disease. The basic elements weren’t Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Air was a complex substance, but caloric and phlogiston weren’t. The planet and the universe steadily got wider and older and more complex as more and more evidence collected by true believers forced them to acknowledge that nature is as it is, and not how interpretations of the ancient texts described it.

By the 1700′s, many Christians were becoming Deists; they believed in an omnipotent Creator, but not in the meddling and insecure deity portrayed by most western religions. God as a watchmaker, who wound up the universe, and then sat back to watch it play out.

By the start of the 20th Century, there was a problem. The Universe (what we now call our galaxy) was only measured to be 100,000 light years across, yet every measure of geology pointed to many millions –hundreds of millions by some measures– of years of history on the Earth. How could the Earth be orders of magnitude older than the universe? Then came General Relativity, quasars, and the red shift. Suddenly the universe exploded out to billions of years across/old. And then quantum and then nuclear theory led to unstable isotopes being used as accurate clocks. The planet rose to billions of years old, too. When we brought samples back from the moon, they indicated the same age as Earthly rocks. Conflict resolved.

But there is still a small group of people who hold tight to the 17th century interpretation of a literal Genesis story. This movement emerged in the United States after the Scopes Trial in the 1920′s, depending on the idea that a Young Earth precludes the principle that species could have evolved; there wasn’t enough time. Odd schools of thought therefore emerge (Flood Geology, Intellignet Design, etc), that try to sound scientific, yet not actually using that methodology developed centuries ago.

We see comments saying that “old Earth” evidence is only found because the discoverers believe in it. They didn’t always. Most of the earlier and still useful evidence of the age of the Earth was found by those who didn’t initially believe in their own results. And when they did, they had to fight ridicule before the disbelieving community. It is the method that prevailed, not the authority of the discoverer. Nor are convincing arguments much good against the method. Scientists are often wrong. Very often. The scientific method records these wrong results so that they can be checked. And they are. And eventually and asymptotically, the correct ideas are refined and prevail.

Unfortunately, the public only sees the tip of the science iceberg. There are big, splashy announcements of bold ideas. Like Cold Fusion. That was a case when would-be discoverers did an end run around the method and announced to the public before their results could be independently checked. A quiet retraction was printed when the dozens of labs that should have been contacted first, demonstrated universally that the first announcement was based on a procedural error. But research continues. That they didn’t demonstrate something new does not imply that there is nothing new to be discovered.

I blame the media. Remember Halley’s comet? The previous time around, it was a gaudy show. In the 1980′s most astronomers said that it might be visible. The media covered it as the show of the century, assuming that it would be the same show. Technically, it was the same show. But this time we only had partially obstructed nosebleed seats, rather than right on the gridiron. Actual scientists knew this, but their story wasn’t newsworthy. When it turned out to be exactly what the scientists said, the public blamed the scientists for misleading them.

Science is portrayed to the public as a mixture of magic and authority. It is neither. It is a process whereby thousands of brilliant and highly trained competitors are all trying to prove each other wrong, or to come up with a new twist. After a generation or two of consistently and universally failing to prove that something is wrong, then it becomes provisionally accepted: A “theory”. Then it continues to be tested. Nothing is accepted on authority. Rarely is something revolutionary accepted within a decade of its announcement.

Einstein wasn’t correct about relativity because he was Einstein. He was correct because many experiments and observations failed to prove him wrong, and that his ideas led to other subsequently proven ideas. The same went for Newton, Maxwell, Bohr, Feynman, Hawking, and so on. Up-and-comers are always re-testing the earlier theories using newer methods. Under the sedate public image, real science is contentious and messy.

Finally, science is all about “how”. Religion or faith may cover “why”, for those who need it. The problem comes when unqualified observers (who sometimes have credentials to state otherwise) with a philosophical axe to grind revisit long-discredited arguments and claim them as new discoveries. They dun researchers for refusing to look at their “new evidence”, but neglect to review the existing literature, or to run the standard tests themselves. They just make claims that sound reasonable. Anyone who knows the history of 20th century discovery knows that common sense reasonableness does not match reality beyond the everyday scale of experience. And modern instruments measure far beyond that realm.

To (finally) sum this up. The question comes down to: Do you believe in the Scientific Method and its results, or in the principle that unless it agrees with a particular minority interpretation of The Bible, it is wrong?

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Category: American Culture, Education, Evolution, ignorance, Meaning of Life, Religion, Science

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A convoluted mind behind a curly face. A regular traveler, a science buff, and first generation American. Graying of hair, yet still verdant of mind. Lives in South St. Louis City. See his personal website for (too much) more.

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  1. I'm reminded yet again of William Jennings Bryant. His position on evolution was that it would be fine AS LONG AS IT DID NOT INCLUDE MAN. He found nothing objectionable about it for the rest of the animal kingdom, but human beings had to be kept out of it because we're "special." This sounds like a variation—the universe can be as old as it likes, as long as you leave the Earth out of such calculations. Because we're "special."

    Bollocks.

  2. Karl says:

    I haven't even stated what I happen to think about the "age of the universe" and already there are qualifying statements about how I'm suppose to think.

    Let me say that I do not belieive the universe is something to think we can comprehend with our finite minds. It use to be that we would go out at night and look up into the sky and marvel at what we saw and say, "whoever made this must surely be amazing."

    Now we've been conditioned to go outside and look up into the night sky and say, "I don't know what it all means, but I have some clues that it means just about nothing of any significance," or "One day we'll be able to wrap our thoughts around what it all means."

    Trying to comprehend something that is of a created order well beyond our ability to fathom it is like saying, "I don't care how complex and how well designed and assembled it all is, it still only got there by happenstance."

    From all appearances it has no beginning, no end and even no clear way of determining where its center may even be if it has one.

    The first attempts at calculating distances to the stars and beyond were all based upon the methodology of parallax from observations taken at opposite sides of the earth's orbit at half year intervals which assumes light travels in straight lines and that our reference point is an inertial reference frame. Both of these ideas are unprovable assumptions. Relative intensities of various stars were then superimposed upon the interpretations of the parallax data to begin to speculate upon how far away everything in space could be. Again circular interpretation of the data in reference to each other was used to reinforce the assumed distances and so on. There is nothing definite about the orders of magnitude that are bantered around, just mutual agreement based upon the accepted, but still interpreted model. The red shift data does reveal something about how light fares after travelling large distances, but to say it has only one possible meaning is again assumptive.

    Philosophically, distance in terms if light speeds are meaningless because they are timeless. If relativity tells us anything, light itself is a limit that confines our perceptions of what we are observing. If one considers that time stands still for light, do we really know what we are calculating when we use the speed of light? Are we calculating a distance in some absolute or relative sense or are we calculating a descrepancy in absolute or relative time?

    I dare say that something so large and wonderous as the stars and their places in the skies will always be to some extent beyond a simply naturalistic explanation.

    I know this will not resonate with the consensus of individuals here at Dangerous Intersection, but I still needed to share my perspective.

  3. Karl says:

    Back to some more evidence for a global flood.

    Reason 3.

    Horsetails 30 feet tall, moss as big as trees, and a 6 foot long lobster-like creature preserved! AP writer, David Mercer, reported about an underground forest[27] found more than 100 miles south of Chicago. According to Scott Elrick of the Illinois State Geological Survey, "We never encountered one whole forest preserved in one shot like this. It involves 15 square miles and is 200 feet underground. It's common to find small pockets of fossilized plants just above coal mines…. But in this case, experts believe, a fault that runs through the area unleashed a major earthquake that quickly sank the forest beneath a deep layer of mud, preserving it.” This event is clearly evidence for a massive deluge of great proportions with more than just a large earthquake and accompanying burial in "mud." Ground and water levels changed drastically and the "mud" and water had to contain more than typical surface sediments to create such fossil evidence. Plentiful materials conducive to fossilization had to be supplied to these plants as they underwent their rapid burial. Those needed to create the fossils rapidly would not be there during a typical earthquake and mud slide unless they were already at, or near, saturation levels in the water. The amount of required dissolved minerals and an accompanying uniform delivery method to so large an area points to an event of monumental proportions. It would appear that the fossilization vehicle was water saturated with the minerals. This is not normally found in these high concentrations in surface water. It is the dissolved minerals, not the mud that made the fossils. This was no slow sedimentation over eons but a sudden, catastrophic plunge. The Bible speaks of the “fountains of the great deep” bursting open (Gen. 7:11). Could such fountains have involved tremendous geothermal activity ethat brought great quantities of water minerals and mud to the surface while covering over this forest?

  4. Dan Klarmann says:

    Karl hit it on the head: Science assumes that man can understand the natural universe. That's the article of faith where we differ. I lean on that issue in this 2006 post: Failure to Communicate. But the idea can be found in some others, like this and this and this and this and this, and quite a few others

  5. Karl writes:—"already there are qualifying statements about how I’m suppose to think."

    and then: "Trying to comprehend something that is of a created order well beyond our ability to fathom it "

    Excuse me wasn't that a qualifying statement about how you think we should think about this? Or at least concede?

    For the record, I never say that something "means nothing." But meaning is a value which people bring to something. Meaning is personal. And communal. But not cosmic.

    Karl also writes:—"Philosophically, distance in terms if light speeds are meaningless because they are timeless."

    Very poetic, but philosophically contentless. We can measure the speed of light, which sort of establishes that duration can be attached to it. If something has duration, it is not "timeless." I suppose you mean that such distances are so vast that they have no immediate relevance to our perceptions. Obviously, though, that isn't true, either.

    And lastly:—"I dare say that something so large and wonderous as the stars and their places in the skies will always be to some extent beyond a simply naturalistic explanation."

    You may dare say it, but you beg several questions and sidestep others. "to some extent" is a kind of waffle phrase that serves to put anyone making an absolutist claim at a disadvantage. Of course you can say to some extent we'll never know this or that, but the implication is that we ought not try or, worse, that what we do understand will always be insufficient to make causal statements.

    But to say "simply naturalistic" is another linguistic cheat. There's nothing simple about it. To my way of thinking, the kind of creation attributed to a god who snapped its metaphorical fingers and voila! there it all was is the epitome of "simple" in terms of explanation.

    I hear a good deal in your post that says "It's too hard for us to understand, so let's just go with it. And since we can't understand it we might as well accept the creationist explanation as any other. It serves just as well."

    Not for me.

  6. Karl says:

    I don't think I've ever stated I dislike science, on trhe contrary I've said I enjoy science. However, it comes out loud and clear that you dislike the idea of a creator.

  7. Dan Klarmann says:

    "You" who, Karl? I don't personally dislike the idea of a creator. However, a creator seems a redundant explanation for all those things that have been demonstrated to "just happen" in a natural universe running by the natural laws that we have discovered in the few thousand years since the Bible stories were anthologized.

    There could well have been a Creator in the Deist sense; God the Watchmaker. But I don't believe it, and it cannot be proved nor disproved in any rigorous sense. Science cannot address it.

    But a Creator begs the question of who made that God? It is simpler for my limited mind to reject the infinite regression of Gods by assuming that the observable natural universe simply exists, without needing any unobservable agent to have created it, nor themselves.

    But I don't dislike the ideas of the many creation agents that have been, and the several that still are, celebrated by our kind. They make for good allegory. But they don't show up in the light of strict scientific inquiry.

  8. Karl says:

    Mark says:

    We can measure the speed of light, which sort of establishes that duration can be attached to it. If something has duration, it is not “timeless.” I suppose you mean that such distances are so vast that they have no immediate relevance to our perceptions. Obviously, though, that isn’t true, either.

    I meant that light itself does not experience what we call a "time frame."

    Mark, what does "sort of establishes a duration" mean? If you were a light beam you could travel from here to eternity and according to the theory of relativity you would not age anywhere even close to the same age as the cosmos around you, if at all. You could be at two distant places at the same time according to the wacky ideas of quantum mechanics.

    This tells me that either relativity is a living breathing paradox or calculating by using the concept of light speed is not really a reliable way to say we have measured a distance.

  9. Karl says:

    Dan assumes science can understand the naturalistic world. I believe there are at least three questions naturalistic science can never answer and call itself naturalistic science.

    Question 1:

    Where did matter and/or energy originate? If you say it/they has/have always existed you can not say you understand it/them because naturalism is limited to time not eternity. If you can wrap your head around eternity I'd like to see what else you can imagine and still call it science.

    Question 2:

    Where in the supposed umpteen billion years of possible scientifically modeled history of the universe did organic life orginate? In other words where and when did the first components of cells with organizational units come into existence? If you claim to have an honest naturalistc answer to that which could be verified you are really a cleaver scientist. Even Richard Dawkins ducks that question.

    Question 3:

    Is beauty simply a measurable naturalistic standardized feature of how people understand and experience the world around them? Or as some say, is beauty really in the eye of the beholder?

  10. grumpypilgrim says:

    Karl writes, "There is that term again. “Overwhelming” bulk of rational evidence. If the evidence were undebatable statments that could only mean one thing then I would be fool to think there could be possible alternate explanation. Something pushed the perspective over the brink for you, not for me."

    Different people have different standards of proof. For me, 'beyond a reasonable doubt' works just fine. Karl's appears to be, 'beyond any doubt.' However, Karl only applies that standard to science. For his religious beliefs, Karl applies a much, much lower standard of proof.

  11. Dan Klarmann says:

    Karl's 3 questions, paraphrased for brevity, hopefully within his meaning:

    1. Where did matter originate?

    Okay, "Where" assumes a location, presumably in the 3 spatial and one apparent time dimension. Einstein pointed out that there are more dimensions, and the string theorists play with dozens. Some arguably real, if intangible.

    But science can safely ignore that question even as it works to solve it. That is, matter and energy have been around for at least 15 billion years, according to the demonstrably fixed speed of light, red shift (not to be confused with Doppler shift), and the farthest objects detected. Most of science is content to stay within the bounds of this limited universe, explaining everything subsequent without resorting to worrying about the "Uncaused Cause" argument.

    Yes, that is a non-answer to an unanswerable question that has nothing to do with the validity of the scientific method.

    2. When and where did life originate?

    This is a good question, still unanswered, yet susceptible to the scientific method. We don't currently have a definite answer, and the answer has nothing to do with evolution. But one possible answer was discussed in my post The Origin of Life Just Got Easier, and another likely candidate is shown in this video to the tune of Beethoven's 9th:

    <object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/U6QYDdgP9eg&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/U6QYDdgP9eg&hl=en&fs=1&quot; type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

    As to "when", the earliest evidence of life on our planet is about 3,500,000,000 years old. But this oldest evidence is of already complex cellular organisms. We have not yet generated life from its constituents. But the path to that is becoming clearer.

    The leftover sludge from the Urey-Miller experiment has been recently discovered, and analyzed. There were many more complex molecules present than they were able to detect half a century ago. Or maybe they continued to gain in complexity sitting in a drawer for a few decades. Even though they started with an air mix that wasn't quite what we now understand the primordial atmosphere to have been, it was pretty close. Especially if presumed to be near volcanoes.

    3. What is Beauty?

    I don't know why you think science might be supposed to provide the answer to this philosophical question about what people find attractive. But, in the last century, science has come up with some aids to the philosophers who continue the tradition of attempting to solve this question. Different species have different standards of beauty. Different cultures within a species have different standards. These preferences can be measured. Study the subjects of sexual selection and animal sociology and you get some ideas that arguably can be applied to ourselves.

    That there is no such thing as objective beauty is well established. Ancient philosophers proved this by their methods, and various more modern techniques based on the scientific method have also confirmed it. Different strokes for different folks.

    I find great beauty in the life cycle of stars and galaxies, massive processes in continuous motion of which we have living snapshots of every stage. Bryce Canyon leaves me breathless, and no medium can adequately convey its grandeur. Many works in the Vatican Museum captivated me. The greatest works of art from Mesopotamia don't have anywhere near the same effect on me as recent artwork, like Caravaggio.

    Understanding the natural universe via the most rigorous methods enhances ones ability to appreciate beauty. Like noticing the complex convection currents in an elegant cloud, finding the fractal equation for tree branches bare above the snow, or knowing the organic chemistry behind the sweet smell of new-mown hay. More colors to the palette of understanding.

  12. Karl says:

    Dan says:

    There could well have been a Creator in the Deist sense; God the Watchmaker. But I don’t believe it, and it cannot be proved nor disproved in any rigorous sense. Science cannot address it.

    Karl says:

    Was yours a conscious choice to rule out the possibility of a Watchmaker type God or was it a forced utilitarian outcome?

    Why consider only what science has pronounced as the only reasonable ways to approach one's perspective on life. Naturalism gives limited and biased interpretations concerning one's perceptions and perspectives on reality.

    As much as you and grumpy claim than the naturalistic use of science is a better methodology I would have to disagree because actual historical evidence points to a naturalistic event that you will not even consider as a possibility.

    There is evidence for the global flood, but the evidence is not there in your mind because it has been sliced and diced to shreds by the proposed alternative geologic history of the uniformitarians.

    I freely admit that I discount the interpretations of the geologic history of the secular uniformitarians. I have considered the evidence but find it reasonable to doubt the proposed "proofs." You will not even admit that the data could actually be interpreted from a different point of view.

    You simply make the authoritarian statement that there is simply flat out no evidence. I'll keep providing more evidence since you have apparently read reasons 1, 2 and 3.

  13. Karl says:

    Dans comments:

    Response to question 1 – Yes, that is a non-answer to an unanswerable question that has nothing to do with the validity of the scientific method.

    Response to question 2 – This is a good question, still unanswered, yet susceptible to the scientific method.

    Resonse to question 3 – Understanding the natural universe via the most rigorous methods enhances ones ability to appreciate beauty.

    Karl's response: These responses all indicate to me that there are facets of the world that naturalists can't fully understand by simply using the scientific method. Naturalistic use of science can contribute a systematic method for discovering patterns and relationships, but ones interpretations of the significance of these patterns and reationships is more than simply an objective matter.

  14. Vicki Baker says:

    Karl asks, "What is Beauty"?

    Good question that needs no final answer. I don't see what it has to do with the age of the universe though. If aesthetics were the only criterion in cosmology, there are origin myths more appealing to me than Genesis.

    I agree with Dan that a proper education will leave us more vulnerable to beauty.

    This quote from Rachel Carson seems apropos:

    One summer night, out on a flat headland, all but surrounded by the waters of the bay, the horizons were remote and distant rims on the edge of space. Millions of stars blazed in darkness, and on the far shore a few lights burned in cottages. Otherwise there was no reminder of human life. My companion and I were alone with the stars: the misty river of the Milky Way flowing across the sky, the patterns of the constellations standing out bright and clear, a blazing planet low on the horizon. It occurred to me that if this were a sight that could be seen only once in a century, this little headland would be thronged with spectators. But it can be see many scores of nights in any year, and so the lights burned in the cottages and the inhabitants probably gave not a thought to the beauty overhead; and because they could see it almost any night, perhaps they never will.

    ~Rachel Carson

  15. Erich Vieth says:

    Vicki: Beautiful quote. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Erich Vieth says:

    As to how life was created, I suspect that it was knitted by a distant ancestor of projektleiterin: http://dangerousintersection.org/2008/10/21/peopl

  17. Karl says:

    Dan states:

    Different people have different standards of proof. For me, ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ works just fine. Karl’s appears to be, ‘beyond any doubt.’ However, Karl only applies that standard to science. For his religious beliefs, Karl applies a much, much lower standard of proof.

    Karl says: As I see it, I leave open the possibility for other avenues of interpreting, understanding and experiencing the world around me because I don't choose to value the declared or undeclared premises of atheistic naturalistic science that says natural philosophy is the only game in town. I do not slam the door, naturalistic science that excludes other perspectives does that.

    I see Dan's statement as his having apparently only one avenue of understanding the world, that of the atheistsic naturalist scientist who will not consider other avenues of rational knowledge. Especially since supra-naturalism can not be considered as an extension of naturalism.

    Dan failed to state that the criterion based methodology of naturalism has premises that can not be proven by strict scientific methodology, just as I have supra-naturalism premises that can not be proven by strict scientific methodology.

    My premises leave the door open to answer all of the three questons I asked because my premises don't shut the door on other ways of interpreting, understanding and experiencing the world around me. My premises also leave my chosen value system with an accepable reason for the existence of such things as beauty, origins and the wonderous.

    Naturalism taken to its extremes leaves the values of the human experience sacrificed to the perceived utilitarian value of knowledge.

    When this is done, it is the values of the naturalist that become utilitarian. I am not so blind as to ignore what naturalistc science can really say with certainty. I am also not so ignorant to believe that the naturalists values do not become their utilitarian perspective concerning the rest of life.

  18. Karl writes:—"Karl’s response: These responses all indicate to me that there are facets of the world that naturalists can’t fully understand by simply using the scientific method."

    Which is the point where I, at least, part company with the debate. Just because we haven't figured it out yet is not sufficient cause to assume we won't, using exactly those tools you criticize. It says "See, you can't answer those questions, therefore god exists!" False syllogism. When Darwin developed his theory of evolution, there were details he could not know and admitted such. It took time and the advance of technology and further study of the natural world to make his initial propositions clearer. Of course there were people then who said "You can't answer these questions, therefore you're wrong!" He wasn't. You're doing the same thing.

    As to your question about light and duration, yes, that's a tricky one. The key word is "experience"—relativity is very much about that, on several levels, and it does bleed into philosophy. Can one say of a nonconscious particle that it "experiences" anything?

    But we have established that light has a velocity and we can measure it. It doesn't much matter how much time we subjectively experience in relation to it. (The "dream" sequence Einstein spoke of as being the source of his breakthrough must remain only that, because, in spite of the apparent paradoxes inherent in the proposition, the fact is we can't ourselves travel that fast, and for very good reasons, so the question ultimately is beside the point.) If light did not take a certain amount of time to do what it does, we might have a universe in which everything happened at the same time.

    I was quibbling with your use of the phrase that it is essentially timeless, which is philosophically interesting but mathematically false.

  19. Dan Klarmann says:

    Karl says (again) "There is evidence for the global flood,". I say (again) Produce this evidence and claim your Nobel Prize, plus awards and rewards from Creationist institutions around the world. And get your name in all the science books.

    No one has found any evidence indicating a globe girdling simultaneous aqueous event. Certainly not in the time frame of civilization. Cities dating to before this hypothetical flood are found just below the surface, whereas sediment deposits miles deep are found elsewhere, at both higher and lower altitudes. No sign of man has ever been found beneath these sediments. No sign of any modern species of plant or animal are found below certain layers.

  20. Dan Klarmann says:

    I didn't say "different standards of proof". That was Grumpy. Misattribution is one of those things to watch out for, if you want to make respectable points.

  21. Dan Klarmann says:

    Karl, I do choose to disbelieve in a watchmaker god as a matter of faith. As I said, there is no evidence either way.

    But science aids me in choosing to disbelieve in a meddling god or a pantheon of them or all the other interventionist god-like constructs. Natural processes suffice to explain everything we can observe.

    If any evidence of any of these guys or gals or chimerics or noodley ones turns up, I will reconsider my position.

  22. Dan Klarmann says:

    Karl, please do read the contents at the links I provided, especially those to my own posts. I explicitly state the (often unacknowledged) articles of faith adhered to by scientists in the Failure to Communicate post. We are not unaware of them, but you do seem to be.

  23. Karl says:

    I have looked at your posts and discussions (Failure to Communicate. But the idea can be found in some others, like this and this and this and this and this, and quite a few others) with Russ Anderson and see how you used a personal disconnect from your personal beliefs to enable you to chose to trust the utilitarian values of naturalistic science.

    When ever someone says the scientific facts speak for themselves they reveal their value system. Facts that speak for themselves are unavoidably true, facts that have to be interpreted to obtain meaning are based upon the premises of the interpreter, be they an atheistic naturalist or a theistic creationist.

    Again I repeat – I state my bias in the interpretation of the evidence. Atheists say that they do not show bias in terms of what the evidence really means. How blind and ignorant of how the mind of man works can people get.

    When one selectively screens what evidence supports one set of premises to the exclusion of other premises the individual is blinded to the position of prominence that an individual's values have restricted that same individual's thought process.

    You have not commented upon my stating that naturalism is shaping the utilitarian values of our society.

    Can I therefore assume that you would concede the point that if somebody has to die to solve some of the world's problems it should be people like ERIC who preach religious dogma in a manner that offends you. In fact this would apply to anyone who says interpretive science needs to be knocked out of its prominent position in our secular society be they Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Pro-life, Evangelical, theistic evolutionist, Discovery Institue member, Creation Research Society member. Answers in Genesis , ICR, or your Grandmother or your Grandfather are all part of the problem with our world today.

    You have not commented upon my reasons 2 or 3 given as evidence for a global flood.

  24. Vicki Baker says:

    Karl says:

    As I see it, I leave open the possibility for other avenues of interpreting, understanding and experiencing the world around me…

    Being able to use the scientific method does not rule out other avenues for exploring, enhancing and sharing one's subjective experience of the world. No one is telling you not to meditate, pray, paint a picture, or write a song. But pretending something is science when it isn't can lead to some very undesirable consequences, as history illustrates.

    Paradoxically, it seems that carving out a secular realm where human subjectivity is held in check and put on trial, turns out to be the most effective way to protect freedom of conscience and allow for the flourishing of individual human subjectivities. Therefore, all attempts to impose unitary, absolute truths on the secular realm by illegitimate means should be resisted. (Read the Dover decision to understand what I mean by "illegitimate means".)

  25. Vicki Baker says:

    Too many blockquote tags in the above comment, I guess. The double indented part is my comment, not a quote.

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