I've written a lot about the theory of evolution and why it's not really that scientific, and Rand Simberg has an excellent explanation of why his belief in science requires faith.

With regard to my statement that science is a philosophy that rests on faith, I wrote the following:

Belief in the scientific method is faith, in the sense that there are a number of unprovable axioms that must be accepted:

1) There is an objective reality
2) It obeys universal laws
3) Its nature can be revealed by asking questions of it in the form of experiments
4) The simplest explanation that fits the facts is the one that should be preferred

There are other tenets, but these are the main ones. ...

So if science is a religion (in the sense of a belief system, which I think it is), then is it a legitimate subject for public schools? As I've said previously, this is largely a symptom of a much larger problem--the fact that we have public schools, in which the "public" will always be at loggerheads about what subjects should be taught and how. But given the utility of learning science (something that I employ every day, whenever I troubleshoot my computer network, or figure out what kinds of foods are good or bad for me), I think that it is an important subject to which everyone should be exposed. But if I were teaching evolution, I would offer it as the scientific explanation for how life on earth developed, not a "fact" or "the truth."

He notes repeatedly that science isn't a set of facts:

Science is not a compendium of "facts." Science is about how we turn unrelated, boring facts into useful knowledge. Science is a method, not an encyclopedia. That's why I get upset when someone says that "evolution is a fact." Not just because it's untrue, but because it misses the point entirely.

Science is a means of inquiry. It cannot be learned by simply memorizing a set of dry unconnected facts, but that's what is implied by the "science quiz" described above, and much of what passes for science education in primary schools (and even more frighteningly, in many colleges and universities).

He goes on to explain why physics was his favorite scientific subject in school (mine too) and how he hated the memorization required for biology and chemistry (me too).

All that to get to this:

The problem with creation theories is not that they're inconsistent with the evidence--they are totally consistent, tautologically so, as Eugene [Volokh] says. The problem is that they tell us nothing useful from a scientific standpoint. In fact, there are an infinite number of theories that fit any given set of facts. I can speculate not only that all was created, but that it was created (complete with our memories of it) a minute ago, or two minutes ago. Or an hour ago. Or yesterday. Or the day before. Or, as some would have it, 6000+ years ago. Each is a different theory (though they all fall into a class of theories) that fit the observable facts. They are all equally possible, and all (other than some form of naturalistic evolution) untestable.

Except, of course, that unless one has a time machine naturalistic evolution is pretty untestable as well. In truth, evolution is a poor theory. Mr. Simberg continues:

And furthermore, they offer no hope of making predictions for the future. After all, if a creator can whimsically create a universe in whatever manner he wishes, including evidence that he didn't do it, how can we know what he'll choose tomorrow? Orrin Judd likes to make much of the fact that many evolutionary psychologists believe that free will is an illusion, but if that's the case in a naturalistic world, how much more so must it be with a whimsical creator, who can not only make us as he chooses, but unmake, and remake us on the same basis, whenever he chooses?

Kinda how evolutionists constantly revise their predictions to fit the facts?

I heartily agree with Mr. Simberg's characterization of science as a method of inquiry. In fact, I'm a scientist myself and I use science all the time. I've also studied the theory of naturalistic evolution quite a bit -- and used it in my artificial intelligence research -- and I find it to be quite lacking. That doesn't prove that evolution is wrong or that God created the universe 6,000 years ago or 5 seconds ago, but I don't think there's any greater scientific basis for the former than for the latter. Science works by disproving things until only one thing is left, not by proving anything. (Basically, the theory of evolution is based on induction, and induction isn't science!)

Dr. John Mark Reynolds has an excellent response as well (actually, that link is number three; see especially one and also two).



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