Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Scientism vs. Creation

I saw this cartoon linked over at the Digg site a week or so ago. It looks to be a mocking editorial cartoon that was syndicated around the time Stein's movie, Expelled, was released. There are a few blunderous errors present with it, the least of which is that most "scientists" don't wear white lab coats. More importantly, ID, or what was presented in Stein's documentary, is not creationism and Ben Stein doesn't adhere to the record of creation as revealed in Genesis, nor would a lot of the ID apologists from Discovery Institute.

The most egregious, however, is the false notion that Darwinianism equals science and those Darwinians who are scientists are unbiased and follow the evidence where ever it leads. The idea of "unbiased" scientists is probably the biggest myth in our society today.

Take for instance the first panel. Here you have a scientist asking a student about a pile of bones and what conclusions she can draw from them. If the student, however, were to say, "You know, these bones have extremely complex structures that cannot be explained by the evolutionary model of 'natural selection and descent with modification over millions of years,' perhaps there is another explanation," the prof. would boo and hiss her until his throat was raw and then tell her to get out of his presence. Hence proving the premise of Stein's film.

What is a bit heart breaking is how conservatives who cry the loudest against liberal censorship, media bias, and the strangle hold leftist philosophy has on the American higher education system that squashes any true academic dissent of the prevailing worldviews, are so willing to dismiss Stein's film as being a product of a crank. For example "Zombie" (not his or her real name), who normally does a good job of providing entertaining photojournalism from the asylum of what is the San Francisco Bay area, ran into a lone "creationist" protesting outside of U.C. Berkeley who was promoting Stein's movie. Zombie succumbed to the same woeful inaccuracies pretty much everyone else does when criticizing the film: "Stein's a creationist," "evolutionary biology is established scientific fact," and "theology should be taught at church and not the science classroom."

The assumption made by "Zombie," and other conservative leaning "mega" bloggers like LGF and Ed Morrissey at Hot Air who both had some choice words against Stein and his movie in recent posts, is that scientists are hard facts kind of people with no preconceived biases from which they draw their conclusions, where as creationists and IDers are biased and operate from a position of "faith alone." But is that true?

Let's consider some quotes from these hard facts folks.

At this point, it is necessary to reveal a little inside information about how scientists work, something the text books don't usually tell you. The fact is that scientists are not really as objective and dispassionate in their work as they would like you to think. Most scientists first get their ideas about how the world works not through rigorously logical processes but through hunches and wild guesses. As individuals, they often come to believe something to be true long before they assemble the hard evidence that will convince somebody else that it is. Motivated by faith in his own ideas and a desire for acceptance by his peers, a scientist will labor for years knowing in his heart that his theory is correct but devising experiment after experiment whose result he hopes will support his position. (Boyce Rensberger, How the World Works, p. 17-18).

Science is fundamentally a game. It is a game with one overriding and defining rule: Rule #1: Let us see how far and to what extent we can explain the behavior of the physical and material universe in terms of purely physical and material causes, without invoking the supernatural. (Richard Dickerson, Journal of Molecular Evolution, 34:277, 1992).

Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to the understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. (Richard Lewontin, "Billions and Billions of Demons," New York Review, Jan. 9, 1997).

Suddenly, we’re imbedded in a frothy quantum foam of unlimited possibilities. It’s a free-for-all where each solemnly presented theory is soon changed or rebutted. In one sense, it’s very cool. Imagination rules! It’s a unique period in cosmology’s history. Throw the math this way, that way, tweak the equations, set fire to the physics building, nothing matters. It’s Alice in Wonderland meets Stephen Hawking. Unfortunately, cosmologists are starting to resemble naked emperors parading before the mass media. Hey, we love you, but you have no clue about the universe’s true origin or fate, and little knowledge of its composition. Yet each pronouncement is delivered with pomp and flair. Maybe you need a serious “time out.” (Bob Berman, Astronomy, July 2004)

These are just a smattering of comments from various evolutionists regarding their "unbiased" approach to science. I see a lot of "faith" pre-commitments with these citations, and not a whole lot of hard, scientific facts, and in some cases, blind faith commitments. In my mind, evolutionists are just as guilty of saying, "Here's our conclusion. How can we handle the facts to support it?"



Blogger threegirldad said...

The idea of "unbiased" scientists is probably the biggest myth in our society today.

"WHEN a white-robed scientist, momentarily looking away from his microscope or his cyclotron, makes some pronouncement for the general public, he may not be understood, but at least he is certain to be believed. No one ever doubts what is said by a scientist. Statesmen, industrialists, ministers of religion, civic leaders, philosophers, all are questioned and criticized, but scientists -- never. Scientists are exalted beings who stand at the very topmost pinnacle of popular prestige, for they have the monopoly of the formula 'It has been scientifically proved . . .' which appears to rule out all possibility of disagreement.

Thus the world is divided into Scientists, who practice the art of infallibility, and non-scientists, sometimes contemptuously called 'laymen,' who are taken in by it. The laymen see the prodigious things that science has done, and they are impressed and overawed.
Mere laymen, their imaginations stupefied by these wonders, are duly humble, and regard the scientists as lofty and impeccable human beings.
In science teachers, therefore, the natural arrogance of scientists (collective arrogance, be it said, once and for all) is enhanced, for they think of teaching as preaching. They expound their subject in a spirit of high missionary zeal, hoping that some of the virtues, which they believe to be theirs, will seep into their pupils by osmosis. Teachers are therefore the propagandists, the front men, of science, and we can find out most easily what science is really like by paying close attention to what the scientists teach and the reasons they give for teaching it.

'The success of the scientific method . . . is based entirely upon an absolute honesty of mind and love of truth.' This is what Professor Hendren, of the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, has to say, as one of the reasons why one should read his book on physics. 'Dogmatic prejudice, lying, falsification of facts, and data, and willful fallacious reasoning are all out of harmony with the spirit of the sciences. It is writ large in the history of science that the most heinous offense a man can commit is to falsify his data and let his prejudice and his desires color his reasoning. It has never been given to such a type of mind to discover any of the important truths of nature. If a student leaves his course in physical science with the typical scientific point of view, he has obtained a moral value which will be a distinct asset and which will help to lead him to a happy and successful life.'

If this is the effect of studying science in Georgia, it does not seem to be apparent in the rest of the population. Vast masses of people, all of whom had 'Biology I' in college, or at least 'Introductory Science' in high school, are not in the least distinguished, either by absolute honesty of mind, or by the absence of dogmatic prejudice, nor are they particularly happy or successful. How did this happen?

Weren't they taught enough science? Or were they taught so badly that it didn't stick? Or can it possibly be that science -- at any rate the kind of science they were taught -- isn't all it is cracked up to be?"

Anthony Standen, Science is a Sacred Cow, E.P. Dutton, 1950

(more here, beginning on p. 13, or here if you want a printed copy)

11:07 AM, May 08, 2008  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

You ought to click over to that Zombieblog post link and read the comments. The dogmatic assertions are insane. I left a few comments about 30 comments down into the thread.


11:37 AM, May 08, 2008  

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