Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Scientific Method is Not Applicable to Questions of Origins and the Unwitnessed Past.

As I've reported recently, I no longer care what Science has to say about anything Biblical. Science is out of its proper sphere when it says anything along those lines. They can stand me up against a wall and shoot me dead, which seems to be their attitude toward Bible believers anyway, I've given up on Science completely when it comes to these concerns. Science does fine with technology, medicine, etc. (for which we should thank God), but it has nothing to say about the history of this planet or life on this planet. They don't even have the wit to recognize that it CAN'T pronounce on such things because there is no way to replicate the past to subject it to experimentation, therefore no way to falsify any conclusions they come to, violating all the supposed essentials of the scientific method.

A big razzberry to the pretensions of almighty Science!

They are tediously pedantically mind-numbingly self-congratulatory about their supposed standards and methods which they themselves cannot meet when it comes to questions of origins and events in the pre-historic past. Here is one such typical tedious litany of their creed, from one of the darkest places on the web:
We already have the ground rules for scientific inquiry. They are well known and easy to find.

1: Observation/Question
2: Hypothesis/Prediction
3: Experiment
4: Conclusion (tentative)
5: Publication/Peer Review
6: Repetition
and if that repetition continually provides the same conclusion,
7: Consensus (still tentative, but less so as evidence accumulates).
The topic is whether Intelligent Design meets scientific standards. I'm not a follower of Intelligent Design because Christian versions of it usually fudge the time frame of the first verses of the Book of Genesis to make room for billions of years, and some of them also make room for evolution as well. Their main concern -- which I CAN agree with -- seems to be to demonstrate that some elements of Nature exhibit qualities that could only have been designed, which implies that there must be a Designer. They refuse to identify the nature of this Designer, because they want to keep within scientific standards and not venture out into "religious" questions. (I'm not even going to give a moment's consideration to the ridiculous claim made by Scott Johnson that ID originated with some occultic theory about "aliens" seeding this planet. Although I appreciate much of what he has to say, Scott Johnson is unfortunately illiterate on many things as well, including the origin of Intelligent Design, so he lumps things together and jumps to conclusions based on the mere similarity of terminology although it supports completely different ideas. He apparently knows nothing about Michael Behe or anything else in this field. He also has the unfortunate habit of denouncing his critics so he never will learn any of it). *

As for this list of scientific ground rules ...
1: Observation/Question
2: Hypothesis/Prediction
3: Experiment
4: Conclusion (tentative)
5: Publication/Peer Review
6: Repetition
and if that repetition continually provides the same conclusion,
7: Consensus (still tentative, but less so as evidence accumulates).
...when it comes to questions of the origin of this planet and life on this planet about as far as Science can go is through Rule 2. They have gone this far. They have their hypothesis of Evolution to explain all the variety of living things as having developed one from another. Some will claim that God set it in motion, some will postulate some kind of biochemical origin, but all their theorizing rejects the simple straightforward Biblical account of the Creation.

So they have their hypothesis. They really have nothing more. They can't meet Rule 3, Experiment, as I say above, because you can't replicate unknown one-time events in the past. Whatever experiments they do in the present in an attempt to reconstruct past events still involve purely hypothetical application to the past, the mere bald assumption that they apply. In contrast, the experimental method has established all sorts of scientific facts over the centuries, facts in chemistry and physics particularly, that have become the basis of our sophisticated technologies. But it's a delusion to think they can extrapolate this method to the unknown past to make it known. At best this is an untestable hypothesis in itself, but that doesn't stop them. They go on assuming they can penetrate the past too and that they have in fact done so.

Since they can't meet Rule 3, of course Rule 4, any Conclusion they may come to, cannot be scientifically established either and remains a conjecture or a hypothesis. Rule 5, Publication and Peer Review OUGHT to illuminate the fallacy of their claim but it only validates their same errors of assumption because they all share them and don't see that the scientific method is not applicable. The assumptions can't be falsified so they can just go on building their fantastic belief system without correction.

Then I have no idea how Rule 6, Repetition, could be meaningfully applied here since the only repetition possible is a repetition of the same fallacious procedures and erroneous reasonings and bald assumptions. If they do arrive by this means at Rule 7, Consensus, it can only be because they've all been deluded along the same line of reasoning. Or perhaps if they don't all come to the same Consensus, as long as they are following out this same fallacious notion that they have a method that can penetrate the past, alternative theories are simply going to suffer the same fate and remain ONLY alternative theories. Until of course Consensus IS arrived at by the same illegitimate means and the whole Scientific Community endorses it no matter how delusionally derived.

Since Science with respect to the Origin of Species can't meet these criteria, it's high nonsense for them to hold Intelligent Design to them. They have a Faith system they delusionally believe is based on Science so it's interesting that's what they accuse IDers of. And Creationists in general of course.

In this particular case, the straw man of ID is more ridiculous than usual:
Now one could spend a lifetime finessing that definition of the scientific method (and indeed, philosophers of science do just that) but those are, more or less, the ground rules. ID fails to meet just about every one of them. Here is how ID functions;

1: Conclusion; Jesus loves you (not tentative).
2: Observation; Gee, lots of stuff is really complex!
3: Conclusion; See 1.
4: Publication; Popular press only. Peer review is such a pest!
5; Conclusion; Still the same as 1.
Actually, no, this is not how ID functions. For one thing IDers are not all Christians. ID really does start with the Observation of design in living things, meeting Rule 1. I believe it was Behe who made the observation of the intricate mechanism of the bacterial flagellae as an example of Irreducible Complexity which implies Design. They go on from there to hypothesize that therefore there must be a Designer, meeting Rule 2. As with mainstream Evolutionist Science there are no Experiments, Rule 3, that can be done to verify or falsify this, so the scientific method comes to a halt with the Hypothesis here just as it does with the hypotheses of mainstream Evolutionist Science.

What we have are competing Hypotheses, competing Interpretations between Evolutionism and Creationism. We do NOT have the scientific method because the material does not lend itself to that method and to keep on insisting on it is simply to dig deeper into delusion. Which this person of course goes on to do:
For ID to be taken seriously, it must adhere to the scientific method. It doesn't so it isn't. It really is that simple. Anyone who disagrees should provide details of those ID experiments and peer reviewed publications that directly address design.
And as long as they continue to insist on such criteria although there's no way to apply them to unknown one-time past events, they will continue in their delusion.

ALL there is from a scientific perspective on the questions that have been answered by Evolution is Observation and Hypothesis. There is no testability, no falsifiability possible. You come to a conclusion, if you do, simply on the basis of your judgment as to which Hypothesis best accounts for the Observation. Science bends over backwards trying to prove that Irreducible Complexity isn't really irreducible but COULD HAVE evolved, by pointing to this or that other biological system that appears to have some part of the same design fully operational in itself. Then they declare this pure hypothetical to be established fact: therefore it DID evolve.

Different sorts of eyes found all over the biological world are pulled out of context and mentally arranged in a series of hypothetical stages based on a very rough assessment of their mode of function and level of complexity, and this bit of mental juggling is taken to PROVE that the human eye evolved through some version of these hypothesized stages. All they have is an hypothesis as usual but they declare it Fact and that's ALL evolutionist Science has, the pronouncement of hypotheticals as Fact. Which of course is NOT science according to the list of rules I'm addressing.

That's all Darwin had too, just a hypothesis for how evolution COULD have happened, by which it has been declared to have happened in fact, and that's all his followers continue to have, although an elaborate system of sophisticated hypothesizing has been built up around it that further obscures this simple truth by giving the illusion of scientific validation. (Lots of science DOES go on AROUND these hypotheticals without changing their status as hypotheticals). They really believe it. But it is NOT derived from the scientific method.

Since they don't have an established fact, ID can of course quite reasonably continue to answer them with their own hypothesis: Irreducible Complexity still looks irreducible to them (as it does to me) still looks like it had to be designed. This is on EXACTLY the same plane of reasoning as puffed-up Science's. It's just as good reasoning in other words. The jugglings to prove it evolved are clearly just mental gymnastics that could prove just about anything you want since there is no objective test they could be subjected to. All Science has over ID (or Creationism either) is Establishment clout, a bully system and a history of mutually self-confirming peer-validated delusion. It does not have scientific method, it does not have superior reasoning.

But I'm not an IDer. I'm a straight Biblical Creationist. I believe Genesis as written, I don't find billions of years hidden away between any of its verses, I do not find evolution implied in any of it. I still believe that as far as one CAN go scientifically on these questions, Creationism's scientific reasoning is far superior to mainstream Science's. I think for instance that Observation of many quite visible characteristics of this planet should lead inevitably to the Hypothesis that the planet was once destroyed by a worldwide Flood. Of course I originally had help to this hypothesis by the Biblical revelation, but I do believe as far as scientific Rules 1 and 2 go, these are clearly met by the simple observation of a wrecked planet and the hypothesis that the worldwide Flood did the wrecking.

But the bottom line is always this: Jesus said we are to become as little children, and that means believing the revelation of God as simply true because He gave it. The more one follows this simple belief the more vistas open up to which the unbeliever can never have access. What to arrogant Science is myth or at least prehistoric -- the Creation, the Flood and so on -- is Witnessed History to Bible believers. Having Witness Testimony gives us a source of evidence the unbeliever forfeits.

The Bible shows many marks of authentication as God's word, and believers embrace those wholeheartedly no matter what "contradictions" unbelievers dig up against it. That's the way the Bible was designed, as Blaise Pascal said: to give enough light to lead the believer, along with enough obscurity to mislead the unbeliever. God rewards simple trust based on simple recognition of His work, He does not honor entrenched skepticism.

God showed us what happened in the past. It's far far from contemporary Science's idea of it. I trust God, not Science.

Here's another post at deepest darkest EvC demonstrating that they have no idea what subject matter is amenable to the scientific method and what is not:

An IDer poster there said:
If I had my druthers, science classes should have the freedom to apply all of the evidence supportive to ID, including that evidence which conventional science disallows.
And the owner of the board replied:
... but then it wouldn't be science anymore, would it.
As I have argued above -- and throughout this blog for that matter --by the strict definition of science, neither is evolution science.
The Opening Post of this thread is excellent and well worth a read. It provides three examples of theories that took time to gain acceptance within the scientific community: continental drift, dark matter, and mitochondrial origins. Acceptance was gained by doing more and more research and gathering more and more evidence and publishing that evidence in more and more scientific papers in the scientific literature.
In the case of continental drift and dark matter I believe there WAS good evidence that supported their case and eventually won the day -- because they are subjects to which scientific method can be applied (though I'm not sure about continental drift since it implies a lot about a past that can't be studied). In the case of mitochondrial origins it seems likely that it wasn't science but simply the acceptance of the hypothesis that established it, that is, it won consensus just because the interpretation began to grow on the Scientific Community, since theories about origins are about the past as I say above, which isn't amenable to the scientific method as spelled out in the seven-point list of rules above.

Approaches to gaining acceptance that were notable by their absence:They did not lobby school boards and legislatures to teach their theories in public schools.

They did not conspire and plan ways to change public perception of their theory.

They did not hold seminars and debates to promote their theory to the public.

Intelligent Design is not science. If it were science you wouldn't be forced to propose changes to the definition of science so that it could squeeze in.

Those particular scientific propositions didn't use this sort of approach but I'm not sure that's because they had such solid scientific credentials. Perhaps they did. But the same can't be said for the theory of Evolution. If Evolution were actually founded on the scientific principles that are constantly being trumpeted for it his point would apply there, but it isn't and it doesn't.

It shouldn't be too hard to make the case that Evolution WAS in a sense promoted by a conspiracy to change public perception, if not an organized conspiracy certainly an informal conspiracy of true believers determined to make everybody else a true believer too. Evolution isn't lobbying for inclusion in the schools now because they are now the Establishment and don't need to, but that is pretty much what they did back in Darwin's day and for some time afterward. It was polemics galore that launched it, from Thomas Huxley's polemics to the Scopes trial which was popularized by a movie, along with ridicule of religious belief. It was all propaganda, intellectual bullying, browbeating the public and especially the intelligent young -- not science, not the scientific method -- that put Evolution in the schools. Or really, kicked the Bible out of the schools, since Evolution was already being taught. So they dressed up Evolution as True Science -- Emperor's New Clothes of course -- and the argument continues to rage. You know why? BECAUSE IT ISN'T SCIENCE! If it really were science nobody could argue against it, but it's patently NOT SCIENCE.

Darwin had ONLY a hypothesis, a very simple idea for HOW evolution MIGHT have happened, and that's all Science has for Evolution even now. In the days of the Scopes trial it should have been even more obviously the case, yet Evolution won, having no science, only propaganda. But you now fault ID for using the same methods Evolution used (and truth be told, still uses, since it has no scientific foundation whatever).

* After doing this post I went and heard Scott Johnson's talk on this subject and I report on it at End Times Monitor.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chuck Missler on the Flood, and a reiteration of the Grand Canyon argument

I kind of like ol' Chuck Missler. He's a character, an eccentric in a way, but he's also a very thorough expositor of the Bible, and even if he often goes off on tangents that lead where I don't particularly want to follow I do appreciate his overall approach and I've learned a lot from him in these last few weeks.

I was sorry to find a whole website devoted to criticizing him for a long list of supposed errors and misbehaviors. I can't judge some of the criticisms, having to do with accusations of plagiarism and getting some facts wrong, but the bulk of the criticisms seems to be aimed at his "fringey" ideas, such as the interpretation of Genesis 6, the return of the Nephilim, UFOs and that sort of thing. They call him "crazy Chuck." I don't know why Christians find such possibilities so beyond the pale. They seem to hold a secularist mentality on such questions, that automatically denies that anything outside our usual experience could ever happen on this planet, that "all things continue as always" and so on.

Well, that's not a problem I have with him. Where he loses me at times is where he goes off on his own science-nerdy speculations, Quantum physics, hyperspace, and dozens of other preoccupations. But I have to assume there may be some who get a lot out of that even if I don't.

Anyway, I've posted links to his talks on I think three of my blogs now, since he discusses not only End Times passages of scripture, the question of the Rapture for instance, but also current political events, and the authenticity of Bible versions.

It's maybe a bit of a stretch to now also put up a link on my Evolution blog, because he doesn't set himself up as a creationist except in the most informal sense, and doesn't go into the creation-evolution controversy in any systematic way. But he does make comments on those issues where it's relevant within his Bible studies, and here I'm going to link to his study of the Flood of Noah. This is from his series on Genesis, and this is Session 12 in the series, on Genesis 7 and 8. Again, it's not specifically about the creationist arguments for the Flood but he does touch on some of them, and also in the next study in this series, on Genesis 9 and 10. So here's Chuck Missler on the Flood .

I just have one comment I'd like to add, which is that he mentions the Grand Canyon in passing, as an example of the effect of the Flood, pointing out that there's no way that little river could have cut that huge gorge, which is quite true of course. But it's interesting to me that that's about as far as many go on the Grand Canyon, whereas it seems to me that the most amazing thing about it is not so much the canyon itself but that incredible depth of layers of different kinds of rock that the canyon exposes to view, that can be seen in every vista of the canyon walls from any vantage point. This is UNDISTURBED layering, quite neatly horizontal as far as the eye can see within the canyon, which implies that it continues for hundreds of miles in all directions beyond the canyon, merely having been exposed by the cutting of the canyon. This is the case all over the Southwest USA as a matter of fact, where all kinds of strange multi-layered formations are exposed by the washing away of layered material that obviously originally surrounded them.

The cutting of the Grand Canyon obviously occurred AFTER all of the layers had been laid down. This raises what seems to me to be the OBVIOUS question, how did they manage to remain undisturbed if they supposedly took millions of years to build up, while the huge disturbance of the cutting of the canyon itself occurred only after they were all in place? Why no canyon cutting for bazillions of years, and then after the uppermost layer is in place this humongous canyon is cut through the entire stack? Same goes for all those formations in the Southwest. The layers were already in place and THEN the weird hoodoos were sculpted out of them, and THEN the buttes and towers were left after the surrounding layers were washed away and so on. The Flood laid down that almost unimaginable depth of layers -- two miles deep in some places -- over hundreds of square miles, and then it had to have been the receding Flood water that washed away so much and exposed the layers that continue standing.

Geologists and amateur geologists in the evolution-creation debate attack me rather nastily for trying to make this point, saying that the layers visible in the Grand Canyon are NOT undisturbed but exhibit erosion and so on. This is ridiculous. They get in way too close to the rocks; they need to back up and survey them from a distance, AND their argument is entirely from presuppositions they refuse to examine. The degree of disturbance they find is not consistent with slow long-term layering over millions of years but IS consistent with rapid layering in a great depth of water, the supposed "erosion" they find between layers being no more than runoff squeezed out in the narrow spaces between the layers. You can't SEE these spaces, you realize, what you SEE is just the line where two layers meet, in the Grand Canyon usually different kinds of rock layered one over the other. The idea that such "spaces" deserve the name "erosion" at all in the very presence of a canyon that's a mile deep and hundreds of miles long just makes me wonder about those geologists.

The very idea that all those different kinds of rock could have been laid down in their own specific ancient time frames is crazy in itself to begin with. It's like the scientists won't stand back from the evidence but simply ASSUME the layers represent time periods and then dig around in them finding what they think is evidence for conditions in some ancient time period they have assumed the rock represents, though it's all really just the flotsam and jetsam that got carried there in the Flood.

Oh well.

Oh well.