What does Oscar’s cricket bat have to do with the debate about origins? Nothing. But it is a perfect example of the relationship between origins and forensic science, and the misunderstood concepts of evidence and proof.
This article was prompted by the misconceptions existing in the comment sections of various discussion forums regarding creation and evolution. Many hostile atheists and evolutionists are quick to disrespectfully dismiss any reasonable questions regarding the theory of evolution, all the while preaching scientific freedom. Some claim evolution is ‘scientific fact’, or that it has been proven by ‘science’. But if this was the case, why are there still works published to challenge this idea – even from among the secular scientific and philosophical communities? And do they actually understand the nature of science and the difference between empirical and forensic science?
Empirical science (also called operational or experimental science) is a term used to describe science that can be observed, tested and repeated under controlled conditions. The scientific method basically requires that something has to be measureable and therefore observable in the physical dimension. This is the science that brought us antibiotics, acne cream and the atom bomb. Where empirical science differs from origins science (also called historical science), like forensic science, is in the fact that we are dealing with data that originated from occurrences in the past where there may or may not have been eyewitnesses, and obviously the data cannot be replicated under laboratory conditions. While forensic science as a term theoretically refers to the legal system, it basically entails presenting a case (before a judge) based on evidence gathered at the crime scene. The role of the judge is then to decide whose interpretation of the evidence is the best.
As an example I will use the cricket bat found in the home of Oscar Pistorius following the murder of Reeva Steenkamp. Once news of the blood-stained bat broke, it looked very incriminating. Some argued that the bat was used as a weapon in a domestic fight. But Oscar’s version of the events states that he used the bat to break open the locked bathroom door. The same bat is therefore used as evidence by both the prosecutor and the defence attorneys to prove their respective cases. The interpretation of the evidence depends on your view of the events or your objective, which is your presupposition (or assumption). Without assumptions, the bat would mean nothing and cannot be used as evidence to prove anything. The only reasonable deduction is that it got stained by blood, period.
So how does this apply to origins science? Origins science (for lack of a better term) also deals with (forensic) data from the past that cannot be replicated in laboratories, and must be interpreted without the luxury of eyewitnesses. Since the observable universe is in a state of decay (giving rise to the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, or the Law of entropy), it can be reasonably concluded that the universe had an origin and cannot have existed indefinitely. Like the blood on the bat, few (if anybody) would argue this fact, but what we do differ on is how it came into existence.
Creationists believe it was created in six days according to the Bible, while evolutionists and other atheists believe the universe and life had a beginning independent of any Intelligence (i.e. big bang, abiogenesis and evolution). Those are the two main presuppositions through which the data are interpreted, and both parties look for evidence to prove their respective cases, i.e. proof.
So what proof is there for a Creator? Creation, obviously. Paul writes in Romans 1 that those who cannot see the Creator in the Creation are without excuse – it’s that obvious. This was also the basis for William Paley’s famous Watchmaker-analogy – a watch is evidence of a watchmaker. This was argued in a book titled Natural Theology published in 1802 already, and which Charles Darwin ironically admitted to admire more than any other book. This was such a strong case for a Creator, that Richard Dawkins attempted a refutation thereof with his book The Blind Watchmaker.
And what proof is there for the big bang, abiogenesis and Darwinian evolution? Exactly the same evidence that creationists use as proof for a Creator. Why? We have exactly the same ‘crime scene’ at our disposal. It all depends on your presupposed world view through which you interpret the data. The fossil record as evidence can either be used to prove burial during Noah’s Flood, or prove a long history of evolution, depending on your presuppositions!
So next time someone claims intellectual superiority for his theory or world view based on the evidence presented, remind him that it remains open to interpretation. Just like Oscar’s bat is open to interpretation.
I rest my case.
 Compare Thomas Nagel’s book, Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False.
 The law of entropy states that energy in an isolated system tends towards thermal equilibrium, which is a state of maximum entropy or disorder.
 If those who claim that there ‘is no evidence for a Creator’ should remain consistent in their argument, they must also dispute the fact that a creator (criminal) can be responsible for incriminating forensic evidence on a crime scene since it might have come about by natural processes without intelligence. The physical absence of a criminal does not mean he was not responsible for the crime scene. Similarly, the intangible nature of an alleged Creator (according to the scientific method which limits itself to observations in the natural realm) does not mean that He could not have been responsible for Creation.
 Darwin wrote: “I do not think I hardly ever admired a book more than Paley’s "Natural Theology." I could almost formerly have said it by heart.” Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, C. Darwin to John Lubbock, 15 November, 1859, D. Appleton and Co., New York, Vol. 2, p. 15, 1911. (also see Darwin’s slippery slide into unbelief.)
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