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Is Creation Science, scientific? (Talk.Origins)

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Wikipedia's article on creation science has several scientific criticisms [1]. Although it can be said that it isn't scientific because it relies on the supernatural, there are qualifiers and limits that need to be placed on such an opinion. In the end the history of the development of science with the supernatural at its core is a clear hurdle that Wikipedia has not been able to overcome.

Response

The general tone of the article shows a lack of an accurate understanding of creation science. It is claimed that for an hypothesis or conjecture to be considered scientific, it needs to meet at least most of the stated qualifications, and ideally all them. Any hypothesis or conjecture that meets two or fewer of the qualifications is said to be totally unscientific.

Scientific Qualification

Objection

Response

Consistent (internally and externally) No objection No response needed
Parsimonious (sparing in proposed entities or explanations) Creationism violates the principle of parsimony: Creationism fails to pass Occam's Razor. Adding supernatural entities to the equation is not strictly necessary to explain events. This is a little vague. There is no hint of what events are being referred to, so by implication they must mean every event. Claiming that supernatural entities are not needed to explain any events is rather subjective, for example there are numerous events in the Bible that cannot be explained apart from supernatural entities, unless you deny that the events happened as described in the Bible or that they happened at all. Also, adding God to equation in many cases reduces the number of explanations need to explain an event, so creation science does meet the principle of parsimony.

Concluding that Occam's Razor is science is in of itself completely off base. Likewise in the same breath they do not hold themselves up to their own scrutiny. Wikipedia completely ignores abiogenesis. Without the completely naturalistic mechanism to bring life from non-life, something which has never been observed in nature and can never be expirementally tested, life could not exist. To think that life coming from non-life is more simplistic, and therefore able to conform to Occam's Razor more so than the supernatural creating the natural is at best dishonest.

Useful (describes and explains observed phenomena) No objection No response needed
Empirically testable and falsifiable

Creationism is not falsifiable: Theism is not falsifiable, since the existence of God is typically asserted without sufficient conditions to allow a falsifying observation. God being a transcendent being, beyond the realm of the observable, claims about his existence can neither be supported nor undermined by observation, hence making Creationism, the argument from design and other arguments for the existence of God a posteriori arguments.


Creationism is not empirically testable: Creationism violates a basic premise of science, naturalism, so is not empirically testable.

While creation science is theistic, it is not the same as Theism. This is like claiming that evolution is not falsifiable because atheism is not falsifiable. Creation science doe's not just say that God created everything, but it deals with specific processes, events and time scales, that do set sufficient conditions to allow a falsifying observation. Furthermore creation science produces individual predictions based on observations that can be and have been falsified. That is in itself the very definition of science.


This presupposes that only naturalistic theories are empirically testable. Supernatural theories can be tested by repeated observation when the event is repeated. A supernatural event that interacts with the matter in our universe would leave effects that would allow a supernatural theory about the event to be tested. Furthermore, not all creation science theories are supernatural, but rather they deal strictly with physical properties in the natural world. Thus creation science is empirically testable. It is as if Wikipedia thinks abiogenesis, the completely natural mechanism for the existence of life in evolutionary theory, is testable and repeatable. It isn't, likewise neither is the supernatural act or process/mechanism regarding the existence of life for Creationism.

Based upon controlled, repeatable experiments Creationism is not based upon controlled, repeatable experiments: That Creationism is not based upon controlled, repeatable experiments stems not from the theory itself, but from the phenomenon that it tries to explain.

The same can be said for evolution. Both theories try to explain the same basic phenomena, namely the origin and diversification of organisms on the earth. The problem is that both ultimately deal with how existence of such life first arose, each theory or mechanism put forth for either evolution or creation science are equally un-testable, never before seen and non-expiremental. Furthermore much of the phenomena that science deals with cannot be subjected to controlled, repeatable experiments since they simply cannot fit into laboratories. In such cases observations of the phenomena in nature substitutes for experimentation. That said, creation scientists base their theories on experimentation and observation as far as possible, as is illustrated by RATE's work on radiometric dating.

Correctable and dynamic (changes are made as new data is discovered) * Creationism is not correctable, dynamic, tentative or progressive: Creationism professes to adhere to an "absolute Truth", "the Word of God", not a provisional assessment of data which can change when new information is discovered. Once it is claimed that "the Truth" has been established, there is simply no possibility of future correction. The idea of the progressive growth of scientific ideas is required to explain previous data and any previously unexplainable data as well as any future data. It is often given as a justification for the naturalistic basis of science. In any practical sense of the concept, Creationism is not progressive: it does not explain or expand upon what went before it and is not consistent with established ancillary theories.

While creation science uses the Bible as its starting point, the actual scientific work is both correctable and dynamic, creation scientists have made numerous theoretical corrections over the years as new data has discovered, for example Flood models ways of dealing with the distant starlight problem, radiohalos and radiometric dating. have changed significantly over the years. In each case these changes have resulted from new data.

Progressive (achieves all that previous theories have and more) See Above.*

While creation science uses the Bible as its starting point the actual scientific work is progressive, a good example comes from planetary magnetic fields, where Dr. Russell Humphreys built on the work of Dr. Thomas Barnes. Many other examples exist as well.

Tentative (admits that it might not be correct rather than asserting certainty) See Above.* While creation science uses the Bible as its starting point the actual scientific work is tentative and Creationists readily admit that fact, and do so far more frequently than evolutionists do.

Conclusion

So, contrary to the claims of its opponents, creation science meets all of the qualifications of being science and creation scientists do use the scientific method. Wikipedia's article on creation science not being science also claims that a global flood is impossible using a typical straw man argument, which claims that the flood needed to cover Mt. Everest at its current height. This claim is easily refuted when you understand the natural mechanisms and story behind the flood.

See Also


External links


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