Wednesday, September 21, 2005


I try to be fair in my use of sources on this site. I'm not a fundamentalist or a fideist, holding that faith and reason are two rivers that never cross. For example, I used Micheal Ruse, a Darwinist, to make some points about the potential abuse of science a few weeks ago. I've avoided 'God of the Gaps' arguments and have steered clear of Micheal Behe, for example, because his argument looks to me to be exactly that. I'm happy to have another example of mostly good writing on the subject. The following is taken from Talk.Origins, a pro Darwin site that tries to play fair. The article is in responds to the question, are Evolution and The Bible strictly in opposition?
Q4. If evolution is true, then isn't the whole Bible wrong? First let me repeat that the underlying theme of the first book of Genesis can't be scientifically proven or disproven. No test has ever been found that can tell the difference between a universe created by God, and one that appeared without Him. Only certain interpretations of Genesis can be disproven. Second, let us turn the question around. What if I asked you "If the story of the prodigal son didn't really happen, then is the whole Bible wrong?" Remember that the Bible is a collection of both stories and historical accounts. Because one part is a figurative story does not make the entire Bible so. Even if it did, the underlying message of the Bible would remain. 3. Evolution and God Q5. Does evolution deny the existence of God? No. See question 1. There is no reason to believe that God was not a guiding force behind evolution. While it does contradict some specific interpretations of God, especially ones requiring a literal interpretation of Genesis 1, few people have this narrow of a view of God. There are many people who believe in the existence of God and in evolution. Common descent then describes the process used by God. ***Until the discovery of a test to separate chance and God this interpretation is a valid one within evolution***. Q6. But isn't this Deism, the belief that God set the universe in motion and walked away? While it could be Deism, the Bible speaks more of an active God, one who is frequently intervening in His creation. If the Bible represents such a God in historical times there is no reason to assume that He was not active in the universe before then. A guiding hand in evolution could exist, even in the time before humans came around. Just because people were not there to observe does not mean that there was nothing to observe.
I might be able to give this entry an A if it went the extra step and added that scientific method and the use of Occam's Razor are fine as far as scientific testing goes. The leap into a rival religion (scientism; reductionism) occurs when someone states that the only things that exist are things that can be tested in such a way. Sometimes - if they're really being goofy while unawares - they might even tell you that scientific testing has in fact "proven" that only things that can be tested exist, as if that wasn't somehow a metaphysical assertion being advanced by circular argument. The existence or non existence of universals is not something that is a scientific question, and asserting Popperian falsification doesn't advance the case an inch. Me? I think universals are real. I mean, c'mon, isn't Popperian falsification a universal claim? Popper thought so. From the Wikkipedia:
scientific theory, and human knowledge generally, is irreducibly conjectural or hypothetical, and is generated by the creative imagination in order to solve problems that have arisen in specific historico-cultural settings. Logically, no number of positive outcomes at the level of experimental testing can confirm a scientific theory, but a single genuine counter-instance is logically decisive: it shows the theory, from which the implication is derived, to be false. Popper's account of the logical asymmetry between verification and falsification lies at the heart of his philosophy of science. It also inspired him to take falsifiability as his criterion of demarcation between what is and is not genuinely scientific: a theory should be accounted scientific if and only if it is falsifiable.
I agree with Popper's demarcation and do so despite his claim being non-testable and non-scientific. That's it. That's my only nit to pick. Otherwise it's pretty good find.

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