Ligon Duncan on the Non-Negotiables of the Gospel

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  • Monday, August 25, 2008

    Can you identify the Logical Errors?

    From A Teacher on the Front Line as Faith and Science Clash

    Mr. Campbell defended his fellow writers against complaints that they had not included alternative explanations for life’s diversity, like intelligent design.

    His attempt at humor came with an edge:

    “We also failed to include astrology, alchemy and the concept of the moon being made of green cheese,” he said. “Because those aren’t science, either.”


    “Faith is not based on science,” Mr. Campbell said. “And science is not based on faith.

    7 comments:

    swordbearer said...

    I'll get it started.

    (Mainly because I want to hear your arguments...I'm still learning alot in this field of study.)

    1. The argument that "science is not based on faith" is false.

    Science presupposes several things including:
    a. The universe is rational, orderly, knowable...
    b. The law of uniformity

    2. The other possibilities "not included" are not among "competing" positions in today's world (such as intelligent design & evolution are).

    3. Certainly there are aspects of evolution that must be accepted (by it's adherents) by faith.

    4. To the best of my knowledge (which is still limited in this area), the other options do not present themselves as providing answers in regard to (the origins and) development of humanity.


    ... Besides all this, it strikes me that (to my knowledge) no one ever DEFINES THE OBJECT OR TERMS when they say selection works toward that which is "BENEFICIAL". Beneficial "FOR WHAT or WHOM?" For example, if you say for the individual species, then does selection work differently when the species becomes "distinct", or as I imagine evolutionists would say it's what's more "beneficial" for the greater cosmos,... such that it's non-refutable in that whatever happens must have been the most beneficial. Here's a question though, if man, the only intelligent, personal (self-conscious, self-determining) being becomes distinct, can it be said that the distinction of intelligence is the most beneficial?

    (Interesting how "beneficial" assumes some judgment, though (most) naturalists assert no overall plan or purpose).

    As I close, I'm most interesting in hearing from Puritan Lad, as I admit this is an area I'm now beginning to study)

    Puritan Lad said...

    Good start Swordbearer. He refuses to acknowledge his own metaphysical beliefs. Elsewhere in the article, he tries to link (as all evolutionists do) a small change like color of a moth to the idea that all creatures evolved from slime.

    He also tries to refute the idea of intelligent design using a Non Sequitur, comparing intelligent design to "astrology, alchemy and the concept of the moon being made of green cheese". Thus he can dismiss intelligent design rather than actually deal with it.

    skeptimal said...

    "1. The argument that "science is not based on faith" is false.

    Science presupposes several things including:
    a. The universe is rational, orderly, knowable...
    b. The law of uniformity"

    Sword,

    In response to your statement above, I'd say this. The fact that a theory makes assumptions does not make it faith-based. Faith requires that you believe despite evidence that directly contradicts your claim. Since none of us is omniscient, some assumptions are necessary and reasonable.

    I'm not a scientist, and I don't even play one on TV, but I am skeptic, and there are reasons why I don't think creationism is science.

    A scientific theory must be submitted to and open to peer review, and it must be "disprovable," meaning that if your theory is wrong, it can be proven wrong through a test or through contrary evidence. A lot of theories are put forward that are unpopular at first. Over time, however, some of them become more and more accepted as scientists test the theory and find that they stand up to testing. Other theories are proven wrong and are discarded.

    Creationism does not lend itself to that kind of testing, because it assumes an undisprovable event: supernatural intervention. Once you posit that the laws of nature have been suspended, your theory is no longer science. (It doesn't mean it's not true, necessarily, but science is only concerned with the natural).

    It is also damning that only the religious attach any credence to creationism. I frankly don't believe that there is a global scientific conspiracy to hide the truth if creationism were the truth. I think if creationism had merit, there would be significant numbers of non-religious scholars supporting the idea.

    The fossil evidence suggests that the book of Genesis (at best) leaves out some key information, for instance: "what were the dinosaurs and where did they fit into the creation story?"

    We also have plenty of firm evidence that the creation did not take place as the Bible describes. Multiple sets of data indicate that the world is older than 6,000 years. The two Bible accounts themselves disagree on the order of creation. Neither order of creation fits the available evidence about how the solar system operates.

    To say that creationism and evolution are competing viewpoints is true, but they are not competing scientific theories.

    swordbearer said...

    skeptimal said: "In response to your statement above, I'd say this. The fact that a theory makes assumptions does not make it faith-based. Faith requires that you believe despite evidence that directly contradicts your claim. Since none of us is omniscient, some assumptions are necessary and reasonable."

    Response:
    1. I question your definition of faith - "...requires that you believe despite evidence that directly contradicts your claim."

    2. What are the "assumptions" you suggest are necessary for science?

    3. I'd be interested in your grounds for how you can trust your assumptions are "reasonable" if you do not hold a theist position... for naturalism is logically self-defeating.

    3.

    swordbearer said...

    skeptimal,

    Would you provide me your definition of "evolution"?

    skeptimal said...

    "1. I question your definition of faith - "...requires that you believe despite evidence that directly contradicts your claim.""

    Fair enough. What is your definition of faith? (Sincere question here).

    "2. What are the "assumptions" you suggest are necessary for science?"

    The main assumption is that we should pursue natural explanations for everything that happens and has happened in the universe. It doesn't meant that there was not supernatural intervention at some point (even many scientists are open to the possibility of the existence of gods), but science addresses itself with natural events only.

    Creationism (or ID), by postulating a supernatural event, takes itself outside the realm of science, and therefore is not suitable for teaching in schools. Science can neither prove or disprove the existence of gods; when creationism claims to, it fails to be science.

    "3. I'd be interested in your grounds for how you can trust your assumptions are "reasonable" if you do not hold a theist position... for naturalism is logically self-defeating."

    I guess it depends on the assumption. I don't understand what you mean when you say that naturalism is "self-defeating."

    skeptimal said...

    "Would you provide me your definition of "evolution"?"

    I don't have my own definition of it; when I talk about it, I'm referring to natural selection as an explanation of why different species have developed as they have. The origin of life itself is an open question, for which there are theories, but insufficient evidence.