More creationist dishonesty

More creationist dishonesty.

Creationists make up their own definitions in science and pretend that it is the scientific definition.

This is a comment on the article Oscars Bat and Origins battle, authored by Young Earth Creationist Johan Smit and published on 19 August 2013 at 13:44

In this article, he writes:

"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."

This is an elaboration of the ridiculously stupid old creationist "How do you know;  were you there?" argument, in which they artificially divide the natural sciences into so-called operational science and historical (origins) science.

It is an example of one of those crafty creationist falsehoods intended to sow seeds of doubt in the minds of their followers about the application of scientific methods to the examination of past events.

Thus, they imply that evolution, geology and astronomy are no more than 'interpretations' made within a secular or atheistic worldview.

This is a lie as there is no such distinction — science is science, whatever it is investigating.

The sleight of hand lies in the creationists' definition of 'operational science or empirical science', which has to be "repeatable" and "observable" by "experimentation".

Repeatable: The scientific method does not require an event (past or present) to be reproducible. What it requires is that the data produced by measurement or experiment be reproducible. That is what repeatability means in science.

Observable: Creationists tamper with the word ‘observable’ to mean ‘directly seen’. That is not what the word ‘observable’ means. The scientific method does not require an event (past or present) to be directly seen. It requires evidence for an event to be detectable. It can be detected by instruments and stored data and samples often analysed well after the event(s) has occurred.

Experimentation: It doesn’t mean experiments have to be done in a laboratory. Experimentation also means that one can predict what should be found in nature and then go out and see if it can be found.

Past events obviously can't be repeated and neither can one perform experiments in the past, but existing observations and measurements of the evidence can still be made and (scientific) deductions made from them.

The scientific method therefore does not require a past or present event to be repeatable; this applies to all science; not just historical science.

In the immortal words of the old creationist favourite, S. J. Gould (who they love to misquote), in front of a federal court in McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education case, in 1982:

"Direct observation is not a criteri[on] of science. You can't observe the fall of Rome either, but it fell."

It is transparent clear that the creationist definition of 'operational science' has been crafted so that "historical (origins) science" can then be defined as: "interpreting evidence from past events "based on a presupposed philosophical point of view" and therefore can be rejected in its entirety — non only evolutionary biology but astronomy, geology, physics and even history — out of the window they go!

Since the "presupposed philosophical point of view" is contrary to the scientific method, one must assume it is a projection of the creationists' own outlook on life that is then ascribed, in different form, to all natural scientists. The creationist objective is to completely reconstruct the sciences to fit some imaginary notion that a literal interpretation of the Bible is the only Truth.

Furthermore, creationists keep on misrepresenting what the so-called operational science is: it is normally a term reserved for Engineering and Technology, not natural sciences such as physics, chemistry, biology, geology, palaeontology, cosmology, etc.

For an understanding of what the scientific method involves, from the Geological Society of America Education Committee, on page 2:

-...the scientific method is a form of critical thinking that will be subjected to review and independent duplication in order to reduce the degree of uncertainty. The scientific method may include some or all of the following "steps" in one form or another: observation, defining a question or problem, research (planning, evaluating current evidence), forming a hypothesis, prediction from the hypothesis (deductive reasoning), experimentation (testing the hypothesis), evaluation and analysis, peer review and evaluation, and publication.-

It goes on to describe what the terms observation, experimentation, etc. mean.

Nowhere does it say that an event has to repeated.

Creationists, you’re welcome to have your own beliefs. However, you’re not welcome to pretend that your ridiculous ideas can be called science. You're not welcome to pretend that you changed the scientific method. You can't. You don't do science. 

The result is that, if a creationist ever talks to you about ‘operational science', you know he’s making things up. Laugh at them and ask them to either try to honest or to go and get an education.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Voting Booth
Facebook is facing a fresh crisis after a former employee turned whistle-blower leaked internal company research. Do you still use Facebook?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, the benefits outweigh the risk for me
32% - 2538 votes
No, I have deleted it
38% - 2998 votes
Yes, but I am considering deleting it
31% - 2448 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.