The absolutism of scientism reined in

In a fresh challenge to claims that there is scientific “consensus” on climate change, Prof Ivar Giaever has resigned from the American Physical Society, where his peers had elected him a fellow to honour his work. The society, which has 48,000 members, has adopted a policy statement which states: “The evidence is incontrovertible: global warming is occurring.”

But Prof Giaever, who shared the 1973 Nobel award for physics, told The Sunday Telegraph. “Incontrovertible is not a scientific word. Nothing is incontrovertible in science.”

Quote source

Sherwell, P. (2011). War of Words over Global Warming as Nobel Laureate Resigns in Protest. InfoWars. Available http://www.infowars.com/war-of-words-over-global-warming-as-nobel-laureate-resigns-in-protest/. Last accessed 30th Nov 2015.

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God makes scientific laws comprehensible

Professor John Lennox, who once defeated Richard Dawkins in a debate, said:

The very reason science flourished so vigorously in the 16th and 17th centuries was precisely because of the belief that the laws of nature which were then being discovered and defined reflected the influence of a divine law-giver.

One of the fundamental themes of Christianity is that the universe was built according to a rational, intelligent design. Far from being at odds with science, the Christian faith actually makes perfect scientific sense.

Some years ago, the scientist Joseph Needham made an epic study of technological development in China. He wanted to find out why China, for all its early gifts of innovation, had fallen so far behind Europe in the advancement of science.

He reluctantly came to the conclusion that European science had been spurred on by the widespread belief in a rational creative force, known as God, which made all scientific laws comprehensible.

Quote source

Lennox, J. cited in Sarfati, J. (2010). Hawking atheopathy: Famous physicist goes beyond the evidence. Creation Ministries International. Available http://creation.com/stephen-hawking-god. Last accessed 8th Aug 2015.

Evolution’s explanatory power under scrutiny

In October of 1980, the world’s leading evolutionists met in Chicago for a conference summarized popularly by Adler and Carey in Newsweek for November 3, 1980, and professionally by Lewin in Science for November 21, 1980. According to the professional summary:

“The central question of the Chicago conference was whether the mechanisms underlying microevolution can be extrapolated to explain the phenomena of macroevolution.”

That is, the processes of mutation, selection, and sexual recombination all produce variation within type (microevolution — or creationist adaptation), but can these processes be logically extended (extrapolated) to explain the presumed evolutionary change generally from simpler to more complex types (macroevolution)?

“At the risk of doing violence to the positions of some of the people at the meeting, the answer can be given as a clear, No.”

Just plain capital N, No. No, one cannot logically extrapolate from mutation, selection, and sexual recombination to evolution. Creationists pointed out a series of logical and observational limits to that gross over-extrapolation decades ago, and we are pleased, of course, that the world’s leading evolutionists now agree with us — without giving us any credit — that the textbook and television picture of minuscule mutations being slowly selected to produce elaborate evolution is just flatly false.

At this point many evolutionists say, in effect, “Well, at least we agree that evolution is a fact, even though we are not certain about the mechanism.” Although I used to say that myself, it now sounds almost comically incongruous — both to me and to Colin Patterson (1981), leading paleontologist at the British Museum. Evolutionists used to accuse creationists of affirming the fact of diversity without offering any mechanism to explain it, says Patterson, but now, he says, that is what evolutionists are doing. A theory that simply accepts the diversity of life without offering a mechanism to explain how that diversity came into being, adds Patterson, cannot be considered a scientific theory at all.

Quote source

Parker, G. (1982). What is Creation Science? [ebook] Master Books, Green Forest. Location 1609-1620

One watch that keeps geologic time, or many that don’t?

According to Chuck Roche:

The process of determining the age of rocks from the decay of their radioactive elements has been in widespread use for over half a century. There are over forty such techniques, each using a different radioactive element or a different way of measuring them. It has become increasingly clear that these radiometric dating techniques agree with each other and as a whole, present a coherent picture in which the earth was created billions of years ago. Many are completely unaware of the great number of independent, laboratory measurements that have shown these methods to be consistent.

But according to John K. Reed:

Most of the public thinks that radiometric dating is the one infallible clock. But scientists recognisze that is not true and so they rely instead of combinations of fallible, malleable methods. Then they argue that the timescale is more certain because of independent overlapping lines of evidence. But do they overlap each other like shingles, forming an impenetrable seal, or like a house of cards? This need for many clocks tells us an important truth: there is not one single infallible chronometer. Would you rather have one watch that kept time or a dozen that didn’t?…

Furthermore, if the various clocks used by stratigraphers all worked as claimed, then they would all agree. It is clear that they do not. Different radiometric methods yield different ages. Dates of rocks of known ages are incorrect. Palaeontologists discard radiometric dates that contradict fossil assemblages. And no one thinks that these disagreements pose serious problems—they just ‘know’ that their template is correct.

Quote sources

  1. Roche, C. (2004). Non-Science in Dating the Earth. New England Skeptical Society. Available http://www.theness.com/index.php/non-science-in-dating-the-earth/. Last accessed 28th Feb 2015.
  2. Reed, J.K. (2013). Rocks Aren’t Clocks: A Critique of the Geological Timescale. Creation Book Publishers, Powder Springs, pp. 112-113

Evolutionists as scientific Pharisees: here’s how

According to ‘Crommunist’:

That is the difference between creation “science” and actual evolutionary science – real science derives its conclusions from the observed evidence. Creationism sets its conclusion first and then cherry-picks, back-fills and tortures the evidence to support that conclusion.

Oh really? I mean evolutionists wouldn’t do that, would they?

The same seems to be true for a fascinating protein called lysozyme. Lysozyme is the enzyme in tears that “bites holes” in the cell walls of bacteria so that they explode. (Listen for the “pop” on a quiet evening!) Egg whites are rich in the same enzyme, and that’s what keeps eyes and egg whites from easily getting infected.

By comparing lysozyme and lactalbumin, [Richard E.] Dickerson was hoping to “pin down with great precision” where human beings branched off the mammal line. The results are surprising. In this test, it turned out that humans are more closely related to the chicken than to any living mammal tested!

Every evolutionist knows that can’t be true, but how can he get around the objective evidence? In his concluding diagram, Dickerson slips in a wiggly line for rapid evolution, and that brings the whole thing back in line again with his evolutionary assumptions. But notice that his protein data, the facts that he observed, did not help him at all with his evolutionary idea.

Quote sources

  1. Crommunist. (2010). CFI Skeptics ‘Welcome’ Jonathan Sarfati, PhD. Available http://crommunist.com/2010/10/30/cfi-skeptics-welcome-creationist-jonathan-sarfati-phd/. Last accessed 21st Feb 2015.
  2. Parker, G. D. (1994). ‘Comparative Similarities: Homology’ in Creation: Facts of Life. Answers in Genesis. Available https://answersingenesis.org/biology/comparative-similarities-homology/#n18. Last accessed 21st Feb 2015.

The philosophy of science, through Christian eyes

The humanist believes this world is all there is. Life is defined chemically and physiologically, within totally naturalistic confines. They reason that if the reality of our world is entirely natural, then definition is relatively easy. Given enough time, all things can be defined after sufficient research, dissection, experimentation, or study. From a Christian perspective, this is not true. Leviticus 17:11 makes clear that life is “in the blood” but it is even more clear that life is not from the blood, but from God. (Genesis 2:7). To understand life we must look beyond life to God. Definition has to be more than naturalistic: it goes beyond us and our world, and is thus in essence impossible. For us, therefore, science is not definitive but descriptive and theological. Science will become more productive if it abandons its goal to define naturalistically (which leads to theoretical science) and limits itself to description in terms of theological premises.

Quote source

Rushdoony, R. J. (1984). A Christian Creationist View of Teaching Science. Answers in Genesis. Available. https://answersingenesis.org/creation-science/a-christian-creationist-view-of-teaching-science/. Last accessed 17th Jan 2015.

If science is a high jump, does climate science clear the bar?

It’s one thing for the Large Hadron Collider to collide protons against each other, but I would rather accelerate the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) against Alex B. Berezow, Tom Hartsfield, and Bill Vallicella on the matter of climate science.

Let’s start with the NCSE:

Attacks on the evidence [associated with climate science] that claim that it is not fraudulent but nevertheless systematically mistaken are properly claims within climate science; as such, they need to be presented to and evaluated by the relevant scientific community.

Attacks on the validity of the consensus — claims, that is, that the evidence fails to support the basic points — are also properly claims within climate science. As such, they need to be presented to and evaluated by the relevant scientific community through the normal scientific process, including publication in the peer-reviewed scientific research literature. So far, all such claims have failed to convince the appropriate experts in climate science that the consensus is mistaken.

In a way, the NCSE’s last sentence sounds like an appeal to authority. Anyhow, after summarising Berezow and Hartsfield’s criteria for scientific rigour, Bill Vallicella issues this verdict:

This useful article lists the following five characteristics of science in the strict and eminent sense:

  1. Clearly defined terminology.
  2. Quantifiability.
  3. Highly controlled conditions. “A scientifically rigorous study maintains direct control over as many of the factors that influence the outcome as possible. The experiment is then performed with such precision that any other person in the world, using identical materials and methods, should achieve the exact same result.”
  4. Reproducibility. “A rigorous science is able to reproduce the same result over and over again. Multiple researchers on different continents, cities, or even planets should find the exact same results if they precisely duplicated the experimental conditions.”
  5. Predictability and Testability. “A rigorous science is able to make testable predictions.”

These characteristics set the bar for strict science very high.  For example, is climate science science according to these criteria?  Or is it more of a mishmash of science and leftist ideology? I’ll leave you to ponder that question. Hint: take a close look at #s 3 and 4.

Quote sources

  1. National Center for Science Education (2012). Climate Change is Good Science. Available http://ncse.com/climate/denial/climate-change-is-good-science. Last accessed 20th Sep 2014.
  2. Vallicella, B. (2013). Rosenberg’s Definition of Scientism and the Problem of Defining ‘Scientism’. Maverick Philosopher. Available http://maverickphilosopher.typepad.com/maverick_philosopher/2013/08/rosenbergs-definition-of-scientism.html. Last accessed 20th Sep 2014.