Ironically, this is one area where a creationist could probably come up with mathmatical proof to bolster this idea - starting from E=MC2. This could even be published in peer reviewed journals.
Hi Jerry, you said “It sickens me that creationists piggyback this kind of argument onto legitimate science and physics. Bad for science and bad for Christianity.”
Let’s briefly examine Standard Cosmology history.
Step 1: You presuppose a uniformitarian reality, and apply those assumptions to reverse Hubble’s observations of an expanding universe. You end up with an unobserved conceptualization of the beginning of the universe – as a mass of heat and energy called a “cosmological egg”.
Step 2: Realizing that this “egg cosmology” model can be used to support the faith presupposition of an atheistic (or naturalistic) reality; you tweak and reframe the conceptualized model as a “Big Bang”. That is, an almost infinite singularity undergoes a rapid expansion (aka “Bang!”) into (i.e. forming) the observed universe. The most popular proposed origins of this singularity include; quantum fluctuations and multiverses – both of which are untestable, unfalsifible (and technically supernatural).
Step 3: You set the rate of expansion at 50km per second per mega-parsec to sit the mathematical model in line with current (1960s) observations. Anyone who dares disagree with this figure (of an unobserved process) is to be ruthlessly mocked. By this figure, the universe is 16 to 18 billion years old (i.e. 17 billion + or – 1 billion years).
Step 4: When observations collected over the next 30 years are found to be inconsistent with this initial figure, the mathematical model is re-tweaked so that the new figure (80km per second per mega-parsec) is consistent with observations. So now the universe is considered to be 13.71 billion years (+ or – 1%).
Step 5: You encounter 2 massive inconsistencies between the mathematical model and new (1980s) observations; the Horizon problem and the Flatness problem (I’ll let you look up the details).
So how are these problems reconciled?
What we do is conceptualize (i.e. imagine/invent) a super-rapid expansion event of the universe itself (which we shall call “Inflation”) occurring shortly after the initial Bang. With no plausible cause, the universe suddenly expanded at a rate thousands of times the speed of light, then suddenly and inexplicably slowed.
So how much Inflation is required?
Since we are dealing with an unobserved event (and therefore cannot scientifically measure the actual amount of Inflation), we can tweak the mathematical model till the amount of Inflation makes the model consistent with current observations.
Step 6: You encounter another massive inconsistency between the mathematical model and the observations; there is not enough gravity in the universe to explain the motion and structure of galaxies.
So how do we reconcile this inconsistency?
What we do is conceptualize a substance (which we shall call “Dark Matter”) to provide the necessary gravity.
So how much “Dark Matter” is required?
Since we are dealing with an unobserved substance (and therefore cannot scientifically measure the actual amount of Dark Matter), we can tweak the mathematical model till the amount of Dark Matter makes the model consistent with current observations. Initial estimates had Dark Matter making up ~94% of the known universe.
Step 7: The mathematical model has the expansion of the universe slowing down because the energy of Big Bang and Inflation is being slowly used up and countered by gravity. The problem is - all observations suggest that the expansion of the universe is actually speeding up.
So how do we reconcile this inconsistency?
What we do is conceptualize a substance (which we shall call “Dark Energy”) to provide the model with enough energy to accelerate the rate of universal expansion.
So how much “Dark Energy” is required?
Since we are dealing with an unobserved substance (and therefore cannot scientifically measure the actual amount of Dark Energy), we are free to tweak the mathematical model till the amount of Dark Energy makes the model consistent with current observations.
- Now 40 years ago, the secular scientific community was supremely confident in their cosmology model; i.e. the model of a 17 billion year old universe with a Big Bang expansion rate of 50kms-1m-p-1 – and no Inflation, Dark Matter or Dark Energy. Today, no one would take you seriously if your cosmology model excluded any of these newer conceptualizations. Which doesn’t necessarily make it wrong – but all serves to demonstrate how malleable and unfalsifiable the current cosmology model really is.
Now let’s examine Creationist Cosmology.
Step 1: You presuppose a Biblical theistic reality; which incorporates an eternal, supernatural Creator of the physical universe, and His scriptures delivered to humanity. These scriptures therefore form the basis of your model of reality.
Step 2: You encounter an alleged scientific inconsistency between secular scientific claims and Biblical claims; namely pertaining to cosmology and the age of the universe.
So how do we reconcile this inconsistency?
We do three things;
1) Firstly we scrutinize the claims of secular science; pointing out the highly speculative, plastic and fundamentally unverifiable nature of the proposed model.
2) We then search out the scriptures and the scientific literature for possible solutions the alleged inconsistency.
3) We combine the implications of general relativity with the Biblical claim that God “stretched out the heavens” to conceptualize a force called Time Dilation; whereby stretching space also stretches time – so that billions of years can exist in outstretched parts of a 6000 year old creation.
So how much “Time Dilation” is required?
Since we are dealing with an unobserved force (and therefore cannot scientifically measure the actual amount of Time Dilation), we are free to tweak the mathematical model till the amount of Time Dilation makes the model consistent with current observations.
Since the same logical methodology is generally applied to both models, your propensity to consider only one model to be “legitimate science and physics” speaks more to your lack of objectivity, than to the legitimacy of the arguments themselves. The main differences I see in the models (apart from the obvious divergence in faith presupposition) is that the creationist model is more parsimonious, and that those who propose and advocate the creationist model are ready to acknowledge that it contains highly speculative elements – As opposed to the secular model where its advocates claim to “know” that their speculations are true, even though they have never been scientifically observed. And yet you somehow find a way to judge our position as exclusively “Bad for science”.
“Answering what you don't know with "God did it" only stifles learning - learning about God and learning about science.”
"God did it" is a pejorative oversimplification of our position; levelled at us by those who are unable to give unbiased consideration beyond their own limited set of axioms. It would be like me reducing the naturalistic position to "It did itself".
The existence of God is a logical possibility – regardless of whether one believes in God or not. Therefore, the arbitrary dismissal of God’s involvement in a claim is not rationally justified. Nevertheless, if we truly claimed that God did something based on nothing more than the absence of knowledge (as you are claiming), then the argument would be logically weak. However, since our claims are explicitly supported in our model, then our claim is justified (though not verified) by every rational standard.
“Ironically, this is one area where a creationist could probably come up with mathmatical proof to bolster this idea - starting from E=MC2. This could even be published in peer reviewed journals.”
Creationist models detailing the math have been published – though not in secular journals.
It’s cute that people still see peer review as an infallible standard of scientific legitimacy – as though all scientific journals are objectively open to non-secular scientific implications. This trust is maintained in spite of secular journal editors having stated unequivocally that they are loath to consider any submissions for publication with creationist implications; Even though secular (i.e. non-creationist) science educators have lost careers for daring to suggest engagement with creationists; Even though scientists with healthy publication histories suddenly found even their non-creationist-related papers being rejected after coming out of the creationist closet; And even though the peer reviewed scientific literature itself is highly critical of the peer review process. For example;
Confirmatory bias is the tendency to emphasize and believe experiences which support one's views and to ignore or discredit those which do not. The effects of this tendency have been repeatedly documented in clinical research. … In addition to showing poor interrater agreement, reviewers were strongly biased against manuscripts which reported results contrary to their theoretical perspective.
(Mahoney MJ (1977) ‘Publication Prejudices: An Experimental Study of Confirmatory Bias in the Peer Review System’, Cognitive Therapy and Research, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 161-175(161))
[Available at: http://xa.yimg.com/k...ame/mahoney.pdf ]
peer review is impossible to define in operational terms (an operational definition is one whereby if 50 of us looked at the same process we could all agree most of the time whether or not it was peer review) …
Robbie Fox, the great 20th century editor of the Lancet, who was no admirer of peer review, wondered whether anybody would notice if he were to swap the piles marked ‘publish’ and ‘reject’. He also joked that the Lancet had a system of throwing a pile of papers down the stairs and publishing those that reached the bottom. When I was editor of the BMJ I was challenged by two of the cleverest researchers in Britain to publish an issue of the journal comprised only of papers that had failed peer review and see if anybody noticed. I wrote back ‘How do you know I haven’t already done it?’ (p178)
there is no agreed definition of what constitutes a good paper or a good research proposal. …
we have little evidence on the effectiveness of peer review, but we have considerable evidence on its defects. In addition to being poor at detecting gross defects and almost useless for detecting fraud it is slow, expensive, profligate of academic time, highly subjective, something of a lottery, prone to bias, and easily abused. …
People have a great many fantasies about peer review, and one of the most powerful is that it is a highly objective, reliable, and consistent process. …
peer review is a subjective and, therefore, inconsistent process. (p179)
(Smith R (2006) ‘Peer review: a flawed process at the heart of science and journals’, Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, Vol. 99, pp. 178-182.)
[Available at: http://jrs.sagepub.c.../4/178.full.pdf ]
Throughout the literature, charges of systematic bias—not just isolated incidents—are repeatedly aired … (p3)
the stringency and consistency with which peer review procedures are applied across this population are variable. … (p4)
There are many reasons to challenge this ideal notion of impartiality in peer review. … (p5)
Confirmation bias is the tendency to gather, interpret, and remember evidence in ways that affirm rather than challenge one’s already held beliefs (Nickerson, 1998). Historical and philosophical analyses have demonstrated the obstructive and constructive role that confirmation bias has played in the course of scientific inquiry, theorizing, and debate (Greenwald, Pratkanis, Leippe, & Baumgardner, 1986; Solomon, 2001). In the context of peer review, confirmation bias is understood as reviewer bias against manuscripts describing results inconsistent with the theoretical perspective of the reviewer (Jelicic & Merckelbach, 2002). (p9)
(Lee CJ, Sugimoto CR, Zhang G & Cronin B (2013) ‘Bias in Peer Review’, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, Vol. 64(1), pp. 2-17.)
[Available at: http://onlinelibrary...2/asi.22784/pdf ]
In 2013, the journal Science conducted an investigation into peer review. They created a fake scientific manuscript with obvious errors and submitted it to 304 scientific journals. 157 were accepted for publication.
(Bohannon J (2013) ‘Who’s Afraid of Peer Review?’, Science, Vol. 342, pp. 60-65.)
I am not anti-peer review by any means. But it is clearly not the pillar of objectivity that your comment implies.
Edited by Tristen, 31 May 2014 - 02:44 AM.