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Science and Exegesis

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The question I want to ask is, “When is it permissible for the secular sciences to inform our reading of Scripture?” Or negatively, "Why should secular science NOT influence our reading of scripture?" I should stress at the outset that the question is NOT “When should Scripture yield to Scientific claims?” This is not about a contest between infallible Scripture and fallible science, or of God’s word vs. Man’s.  Rather it is the issue of man’s exegesis of Scripture and its relationship to what I call man’s exegesis of nature; or, between scholarship and physical science.  The difference may be subtle but it is important and has been missed or ignored too often on these forums.  There is much in the Bible that is plain and requires no great amount of learning to exegete.  But I think no one here is so confident (or arrogant) to claim a perfect grasp of Scripture from start to finish.  Everyone will admit hard passages to which they can give their “best” explanations; which means they admit the possibility of “better” explanations.  And most here will acknowledge certain tools which will help refine or correct those “best” explanations: whether it be better handling of the Greek or Hebrew, better understanding of the historical context etc.  Sometimes a discovery, like that of the Dead Sea Scrolls, prompts scholars to reexamine traditional readings of Scripture.  Should secular science be allowed the same force?

 

Obviously the example that looms largest here is cosmology and its influence on our reading of Genesis.  The scientists tell us that the earth is very old, much older than the sum of years mentioned in Genesis would lead us to believe.  This has led some to question the intended meaning of the creation account (s).  On the other hand it has been maintained on this forum by many that the abandonment of a literal 6-day reading of Genesis 1 in response to scientific claims made about the earth’s age constitutes nothing less than the abandonment of God’s Word as revelation.  I struggle to see why.  Granted there have been sloppy attempts to reconcile the two: I find it very difficult to cram an epoch into the Hebrew for “day”.  But I am not here concerned with this or that maneuver but with the general condemnation of even searching for alternative readings. For it seems to me that many on this forum are not even willing to entertain alternative readings that are prompted by scientific claims: they are regarded wrong a priori, and that simply because behind them lies the influence of secular disciplines.  This baffles me. Why the prejudice? 

 

Once more, I do not advocate the immediate abandonment of traditional readings of scripture the second some conflicting claim has been made public by the sciences. That is irresponsible. But I think it also highly irresponsible not to acknowledge these claims and reexamine what we think we know about Scripture.  Perhaps we find nothing: in which case the alternatives are clear—either abandon inerrancy, or wait for the sciences to abandon their claim.  But what if we do find something? What if we find evidence that not only reconciles the text to scientific claims but (and more significantly) illuminates numerous other areas of sCripture hitherto obscure?  Does the fact that it was a secular discipline which initiated the initial search vitiate those finds?  Is secular science such a vulgar catalyst that nothing good can come from it, however attractive and (I must say) invigorating results? 

 

clb

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I'm a high school science teacher, and I always point out to my students that what we think is true today in science could be turned on its head by a discovery tomorrow.   The general public often views science as absolute truth, and you are correct that people give their "best" explanations of Scripture, but we also give our "best" current explanations of science, knowing full well that the truth may lie deeper than we realize.  

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The question I want to ask is, “When is it permissible for the secular sciences to inform our reading of Scripture?” Or negatively, "Why should secular science NOT influence our reading of scripture?" I should stress at the outset that the question is NOT “When should Scripture yield to Scientific claims?” This is not about a contest between infallible Scripture and fallible science, or of God’s word vs. Man’s.  Rather it is the issue of man’s exegesis of Scripture and its relationship to what I call man’s exegesis of nature; or, between scholarship and physical science.  The difference may be subtle but it is important and has been missed or ignored too often on these forums.  There is much in the Bible that is plain and requires no great amount of learning to exegete.  But I think no one here is so confident (or arrogant) to claim a perfect grasp of Scripture from start to finish.  Everyone will admit hard passages to which they can give their “best” explanations; which means they admit the possibility of “better” explanations.  And most here will acknowledge certain tools which will help refine or correct those “best” explanations: whether it be better handling of the Greek or Hebrew, better understanding of the historical context etc.  Sometimes a discovery, like that of the Dead Sea Scrolls, prompts scholars to reexamine traditional readings of Scripture.  Should secular science be allowed the same force?

 

Obviously the example that looms largest here is cosmology and its influence on our reading of Genesis.  The scientists tell us that the earth is very old, much older than the sum of years mentioned in Genesis would lead us to believe.  This has led some to question the intended meaning of the creation account (s).  On the other hand it has been maintained on this forum by many that the abandonment of a literal 6-day reading of Genesis 1 in response to scientific claims made about the earth’s age constitutes nothing less than the abandonment of God’s Word as revelation.  I struggle to see why.  Granted there have been sloppy attempts to reconcile the two: I find it very difficult to cram an epoch into the Hebrew for “day”.  But I am not here concerned with this or that maneuver but with the general condemnation of even searching for alternative readings. For it seems to me that many on this forum are not even willing to entertain alternative readings that are prompted by scientific claims: they are regarded wrong a priori, and that simply because behind them lies the influence of secular disciplines.  This baffles me. Why the prejudice? 

 

Once more, I do not advocate the immediate abandonment of traditional readings of scripture the second some conflicting claim has been made public by the sciences. That is irresponsible. But I think it also highly irresponsible not to acknowledge these claims and reexamine what we think we know about Scripture.  Perhaps we find nothing: in which case the alternatives are clear—either abandon inerrancy, or wait for the sciences to abandon their claim.  But what if we do find something? What if we find evidence that not only reconciles the text to scientific claims but (and more significantly) illuminates numerous other areas of sCripture hitherto obscure?  Does the fact that it was a secular discipline which initiated the initial search vitiate those finds?  Is secular science such a vulgar catalyst that nothing good can come from it, however attractive and (I must say) invigorating results? 

 

clb

 

 

=====================================================================

 

 

The question I want to ask is, “When is it permissible for the secular sciences to inform our reading of Scripture?”

 

Never.  Or show where Scripture identifies 3rd Party Arbitrators?  IMHO It can be reviewed, if the need arises.... When it is conducted in accordance with the Scientific Method.

 

SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE: consists of observations and EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS that serve to support, refute, or modify a scientific hypothesis or theory, when collected and interpreted in accordance with the SCIENTIFIC METHOD.'

 

 

"Why should secular science NOT influence our reading of scripture?"

 

See response in TOTO, directly above.

 

 

Obviously the example that looms largest here is cosmology

 

Cosmology isn't "science" because it doesn't follow the Scientific Method:

 

"Cosmology is not Science".

Martin Lopez Corredoria PhD Astronomer

 

“Cosmology may look like a science, but it isn’t a science. A basic tenet of science is that you can do repeatable experiments, and you can’t do that in cosmology.” In: (Cho, Adrian, A singular conundrum: How odd is our universe? Science 3171848–1850, 2007.)

 

 

The scientists       tell us       that the earth is very old, much older than the sum of years mentioned in Genesis

 

See The "tell us".... that's the problem.  They need to Validate with Scientific Evidence: See Above.

 

Moreover, since they're speculating on an Unobserved Event it's laughingly Non-Sequitur @ this point, due to Experimentally Validated TESTS via QM that tell us:

 

The act of a conscious observer creates the existence of Matter (Particles) and the objects they entail, Instantly!  A Reality Independent of Observation...doesn't exist! Experimentally Validated, Repeatedly; SEE:

 

Double Slit Experiment

A Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser

Experimental delayed-choice entanglement swapping

 

To name a few.

 

So when asked: "does a tree make a sound in the woods when it falls and nobody is around?"; the answer is an unequivocal....NO!  There is no sound and more importantly...there is NO TREE! lol

 

"Who deserves to trust their intuition more than Einstein; and Einstein's intuition told him, like everyone's intuition tells them, that things are really there when you're not looking at them.  Well, he was Wrong!  That intuition is Incorrect."

Seth Lloyd, Professor of Mechanical Engineering MIT

 

That's probably why.....

 

"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong."

Richard P. Feynman PhD (Nobel laureate Physics)

 

 

Granted there have been sloppy attempts to reconcile the two

 

You've identified the problem...that's the first step.

 

 

For it seems to me that many on this forum are not even willing to entertain alternative readings that are prompted by scientific claims:

 

Well because there are no alternative readings.  Historical Narratives are either Historical Narratives or they aren't, Plain and Simple. 

 

And....Those aren't "Scientific Claims",  they're "Claims" that Scientists make.... Big Difference!  Unless you have some "Scientific Evidence"?

 

 

But I think it also highly irresponsible not to acknowledge these claims and reexamine what we think we know about Scripture.

 

We acknowledge them, then scrutinize, then appropriate them to the Correct "pile" based on their tenets, accordingly. SEE Above: in TOTO.

 

Also....

 

1st issue: "I think"

 

2nd Issue:  You're letting so-called "science" filter your Hermeneutics.

 

3rd issue:  (Matthew 4:4) "But he answered and said,  It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."

 

Can you show me the Addendum that say's :  "And from some of the babbling's that fallible man makes"....to the above passage?

 

(Jeremiah 17:9) "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"

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The question I want to ask is, “When is it permissible for the secular sciences to inform our reading of Scripture?” Or negatively, "Why should secular science NOT influence our reading of scripture?" ...

Why is science the domain of secularists when most of the earliest astronomers and mathematicians were Christians and deists?

Even the ancient Greeks practically worshiped numbers!

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Hi CLB, You said, “When is it permissible for the secular sciences to inform our reading of Scripture?”

 

According to the Christian faith, scripture is the highest authoritative communication of God to humanity. Eisogesis is considered a poor interpretation methodology because it diminishes the authority of scripture and subjects it to the authority of outside influences. Scientific discoveries may help us to understand scripture, but not reinterpret it. Only evidence from the context can be used to interpret scripture.

 

 

 

“Why should secular science NOT influence our reading of scripture?”

 

Science is fallible by design. Christians believe that the scriptures are inerrant in the autographic manuscripts, and that God has preserved all essential doctrine. Why should the infallible word of God be subjected to fallible, subjective human systems? Either these Christian claims about the inerrancy of scripture are true, or they are not.

 

 

 

“the question is NOT “When should Scripture yield to Scientific claims?” This is not about a contest between infallible Scripture and fallible science, or of God’s word vs. Man’s.  Rather it is the issue of man’s exegesis of Scripture and its relationship to what I call man’s exegesis of nature; or, between scholarship and physical science”

 

You are suggesting that we reinterpret scripture in the light of science – so you are suggesting that scientific claims be given influence and authority over how we interpret scripture. You are suggesting that if the claims of science contradict the claims of the Bible, then the Bible should give way to science – e.g. we should assume (without any evidence from the scriptures themselves) that the Bible is meant to be interpreted symbolically – because it has the gall to disagree with a scientific claim. So it is a competition where in your mind, science wins. You want to mould scripture to fit the fallible and changing claims of science. Then when the scientific story changes because of some new evidence, we will need to reinterpret scripture again.

 

As the inerrant Word of God, we would expect the Bible to be consistent with the facts. So long as I can interpret a fact to be consistent with the Biblical version of reality, I have no need to compromise my faith in the reliability of scripture.

 

 

 

“And most here will acknowledge certain tools which will help refine or correct those “best” explanations: whether it be better handling of the Greek or Hebrew, better understanding of the historical context etc.  Sometimes a discovery, like that of the Dead Sea Scrolls, prompts scholars to reexamine traditional readings of Scripture.  Should secular science be allowed the same force?”

 

In the preceding examples you are examining scripture by looking into and comparing scripture to scripture. That is desirable and logically consistent. Our understanding can be improved by exegesis – drawing information out of the text – i.e. information contained in the text. If “secular science” is permitted the same authority, you are employing eisogesis – reading information into scripture that is not actually contained in the text. Thereby you have subjected God’s word to the fallible judgement of human systems.

 

When we consider that many secular historical claims are interpreted within the naturalistic paradigm (i.e. in a context that excludes the possibility of an interactive God), the danger faced by subjecting the Bible to “scientific” eisogesis is amplified. The faith premise of these claims directly contradicts the premise of scripture – so your suggestion amounts to submitting our scriptures to a contrary faith perspective.

 

 

 

“Obviously the example that looms largest here is cosmology and its influence on our reading of Genesis”

 

Cosmology is an historical science. Operational science attributes confidence to claims through observation. Historical claims cannot be observed without a time machine – so a different method is required to examine those claims; an indirect method – where we make up a story to account for the past (a model), then test that story against the currently available evidence. But since there is more than one story which can account for the current evidence, we can never be confident (apart from faith) which story is true. So these claims have no logically legitimate standing upon which to influence our interpretation of scripture – apart from secular propaganda.

 

 

 

“The scientists tell us that the earth is very old, much older than the sum of years mentioned in Genesis would lead us to believe”

 

Find here a list of highly credentialed scientists who consider the Biblical creation account to be a viable explanation of the history of the universe.

http://creation.com/scientists-alive-today-who-accept-the-biblical-account-of-creation

This is not a science versus faith issue. It is about the secular, naturalistic paradigm vs the Biblical paradigm. It is not an issue of facts, but how the interpretation of those facts is influenced by the faith presupposition of the interpreter. Biblical creationists can interpret all of the very-same facts used by secular science to support their models, but to be consistent with the Biblical model of reality. So there is no objective scientific reason for us to surrender our faith in the Biblical version of reality – or to submit our scriptures to the secular faith’s interpretation of facts.

 

 

 

“This has led some to question the intended meaning of the creation account (s)”

 

Those who lack the understanding required to break down the logic underpinning the secular claims allow themselves to be convinced by the propaganda that these claims warrant logically and scientifically unjustified levels of confidence. Yet there is no objective scientific reason for anyone to question what is written in Genesis.

 

I think if you are honest with yourself – you are not suggesting a reinterpretation of the creation account, but a rejection of what is actually written. There is nothing in the Genesis account that mirrors Standard Cosmology or Common Ancestry. There is no logical antecedent/metaphor relationship between Genesis and the secular models. You are basically saying that what is written is wrong because it doesn’t conform to secular ideas – then to reconcile your conscience your make an arbitrary claim that Genesis must have been meant symbolically. And thereby, you circumvent the authority of scripture – if it doesn’t agree with science, the Bible is either wrong or symbolic. Science is king and the Bible must submit.

 

 

 

“On the other hand it has been maintained on this forum by many that the abandonment of a literal 6-day reading of Genesis 1 in response to scientific claims made about the earth’s age constitutes nothing less than the abandonment of God’s Word as revelation.  I struggle to see why”

 

I would not consider belief in Genesis creation to be a salvation issue. However, the creation account provides the philosophical foundations for many of the most important Biblical doctrines; such as holding humanity accountable for sin and death – and our subsequent requirement of a Saviour, or how can a good God create such a cruel reality? Genesis answers these questions. Also Jesus, and both Old and New Testament authors referred to Genesis as historical events – so in accepting secular interpretations of facts, there is and implication that they were wrong/ignorant.

 

 

 

“But I am not here concerned with this or that maneuver but with the general condemnation of even searching for alternative readings”

 

I wouldn’t condemn the search. But I would question the motivation. The Genesis record has been thoroughly researched. The overwhelming evidence from the text itself is that Genesis means what it says; i.e. an historical creation account. The only reason to presume otherwise is some prevailing obligation to contrary (yet unverifiable) secular claims about history.

 

 

 

“For it seems to me that many on this forum are not even willing to entertain alternative readings that are prompted by scientific claims: they are regarded wrong a priori, and that simply because behind them lies the influence of secular disciplines.  This baffles me. Why the prejudice?”

 

I don’t think its “prejudice” at all. Our faith is in the authority of scripture. We have examined the scriptures to establish the intent of the author and found overwhelming evidence that Genesis is meant as an historical account. Then we examine the claims of secular history and find them logically unverifiable and formulated around the precepts of a contrary faith. So we need more than the mere suggestion that there may be another way to interpret these scriptures – or the unsupported dismissal of these scriptures as symbolic.

 

Ultimately, if you don’t want to believe the Bible, then don’t. But we will take issue with people who go to extraordinary lengths to make our scriptures say something they don’t in order to justify some allegiance to the claims of another faith perspective.

 

 

 

“I think it also highly irresponsible not to acknowledge these claims and reexamine what we think we know about Scripture”

 

I am more than happy to examine any claim – so long as the claimant is happy for me to subject their claim to scrutiny. If I provide copious evidence and argument supporting my position, but my opponent just says “maybe it’s meant symbolically”, then I’m sure you’ll understand why I might be tempted to question their motives. Nevertheless, I agree that no claim should be ignored.

 

 

 

“Does the fact that it was a secular discipline which initiated the initial search vitiate those finds?  Is secular science such a vulgar catalyst that nothing good can come from it, however attractive and (I must say) invigorating results?”

 

I don’t know what you mean by “secular discipline”. Science does not belong to the secular community. I think we may again need to revisit the difference between the historical and operational methodology. Your example is cosmology – that is historical. All such claims are unverifiable because we cannot perform experiments or make observations in the past - unlike gravity, for example, which can be tested and retested by the operational/experimental method.

 

Secular historical models do rely on unverifiable faith assumptions – and are therefore inherently biased (in reality – all historical models are influenced by such bias – including creationism). It’s only ‘vitiated’ when this bias is ignored, and confidence in the claims are subsequently exaggerated beyond what is logically and scientifically justified.

Edited by Tristen
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This probably won't be a popular view here but, this idea that "historical science" [creationist invented term by the way] is less legitimate or inferior than/to "observational science" is specious. I think you'll find that this mistrust of "historical science" only occurs when scientific claims contradict scripture. I'd like to see the same lack of trust when forensic scientists are trying to figure out who killed their loved one.

If science confirms a claim in the Bible [archaeology etc] do they distrust it then, or just when they don't like the conclusions? Now having said this, I would agree that there are varying degrees of confidence based on how much or how little data you have. But doubting "historical science" only when it casts doubt on your interpretation of scripture seems dishonest.

Here is an article written from a Christian on this creationist tactic to undermine scientific inquiry of the past.

http://godandscience.org/youngearth/operational_vs_origins_science.html

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This probably won't be a popular view here but, this idea that "historical science" [creationist invented term by the way] is less legitimate or inferior than/to "observational science" is specious. I think you'll find that this mistrust of "historical science" only occurs when scientific claims contradict scripture. I'd like to see the same lack of trust when forensic scientists are trying to figure out who killed their loved one.

If science confirms a claim in the Bible [archaeology etc] do they distrust it then, or just when they don't like the conclusions? Now having said this, I would agree that there are varying degrees of confidence based on how much or how little data you have. But doubting "historical science" only when it casts doubt on your interpretation of scripture seems dishonest.

Here is an article written from a Christian on this creationist tactic to undermine scientific inquiry of the past.

http://godandscience.org/youngearth/operational_vs_origins_science.html

 

 

===============================================================

 

this idea that "historical science" [creationist invented term by the way] is less legitimate or inferior than/to "observational science" is specious.

 

Creationist invented Term?....Unsupported Assertion (Fallacy)---- Support....?

 

Actually it's just common sense based on the fact that You can't observe past events; Ergo....you can't TEST/Experiment a Hypothesis unless you have a Time Machine.

 

Ernst Mayr PhD Professor Emeritus, Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University (evolutionist):

 

"Darwin introduced historicity into science. Evolutionary biology, in contrast with physics and chemistry, is a historical science—the evolutionist attempts to explain events and processes that have already taken place. Laws and experiments are inappropriate techniques for the explication of such events and processes. Instead one constructs a historical narrative, consisting of a tentative reconstruction of the particular scenario that led to the events one is trying to explain."

 

Since you neither Observe anything then obviously cannot TEST for Validation....it falls outside the Scientific Method.

 

"The scientific method requires that an hypothesis be ruled out or modified if its predictions are clearly and repeatedly incompatible with experimental tests. Further, no matter how elegant a theory is, its predictions must agree with experimental results if we are to believe that it is a valid description of nature. In physics, as in every experimental science, "experiment is supreme" and experimental verification of hypothetical predictions is absolutely necessary. Experiments may test the theory directly (for example, the observation of a new particle) or may test for consequences derived from the theory using mathematics and logic (the rate of a radioactive decay process requiring the existence of the new particle). Note that the necessity of experiment also implies that a theory must be testable. Theories which cannot be tested, because, for instance, they have no observable ramifications (such as, a particle whose characteristics make it unobservable), do not qualify as scientific theories."

http://teacher.nsrl.rochester.edu/phy_labs/appendixe/appendixe.html

 

 

Well, hmmm...  Professor Mayr says for Historical Science... "experiments are inappropriate techniques for explication" but .......

 

"Theories which cannot be tested, because, for instance, they have no observable ramifications (such as, a particle whose characteristics make it unobservable), do not qualify as scientific theories."---- (from Directly above)  :mgdetective:   Houston, we have a problem.

 

 

"It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong."

Richard P. Feynman PhD (Nobel laureate Physics)

 

What would you suppose Dr. Feynman might say about something that can't be TESTED?

 

 

Moreover, The act of a conscious observer creates the existence of Matter (Particles) and the objects they entail, Instantly!  A Reality Independent of Observation...doesn't exist! Experimentally Validated via QM, Repeatedly; SEE:

Double Slit Experiment

A Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser: http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/9903047

Experimental delayed-choice entanglement swapping: http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1203/1203.4834.pdf

 

"We have to say that we ourselves have an undeniable part in shaping what we have always called the past.  The past is not really the past until it has been registered.  Or put it another way, the past has no meaning or existence unless it exists as a record in the present".

John Wheeler PhD Physicist, Professor Princeton

 

 

I think you'll find that this mistrust of "historical science" only occurs when scientific claims contradict scripture

 

Reification (Fallacy)-----the mistrust of "historical science"---this is a "concept" so "mistrusting" a concept is nonsensical. It would be like mistrusting Freedom, or Professionalism in State Government (both "Concepts").  It's also an Unsupported Assertion (Fallacy)---- Exactly where can we find this?

 

Moreover "Scientific Claims" denote "Scientific Evidence"....

 

SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE: consists of observations and EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS that serve to support, refute, or modify a scientific hypothesis or theory, when collected and interpreted in accordance with the SCIENTIFIC METHOD.'

 

Step 1: Observe a Phenomenon

Step 2: Lit Review

Step 3: Hypothesis

Step 4: TEST/EXPERIMENT

Step 5: Analyze Data

Step 6: Valid/Invalid Hypothesis

Step 7: Report Results

 

And since the topic is "Historical" Science which denotes Unobservable and since the First Step of the Scientific Method is "Observe a Phenomenon" we have a contradiction.

 

 

I'd like to see the same lack of trust when forensic scientists are trying to figure out who killed their loved one.

 

Strawman (Fallacy) and irrelevant.  What makes science...."science"?

 

 

But doubting "historical science" only when it casts doubt on your interpretation of scripture seems dishonest

 

Reification (Fallacy)------  How can a "concept" cast doubt? Always with your "spin" ("seems dishonest").  Well many things "seem"... that's why we have the Scientific Method that Operates under Empirical: Observable, Measurable, Repeatable, Falsifiable....to eradicate the "seems" (Opinions) and get to the "IS's" and the "ARE's".

 

 

based on how much or how little data you have

 

Where are you getting the data if you're not conducting a TEST/Experiment since it's Historical; Ergo....in the past? .....

 

An experiment is a PHYSICAL TEST one carries out. An experiment is not created from "data", an experiment is done to provide "data". (SEE:  Scientific Method:  Step 5 Analyze Data which comes right after Step 4: TEST/Experiment.)

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The question I want to ask is, “When is it permissible for the secular sciences to inform our reading of Scripture?”

 

Or negatively,

 

"Why should secular science NOT influence our reading of scripture?"

 

:thumbsup:

 

Beloved

 

All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal. Psalms 119:160 (NIV)

 

Whom Will You Worship?

 

Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.

 

He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,

 

for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth.

 

He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—

 

such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.

 

Everything was created through him and for him.

 

He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. Colossians 1:15-17 (NLT)

 

The Jesus Of The Holy Bible

 

"Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created." Revelation 4:11 (NASB)

 

Or Some Pipe Dream

 

How foolish can you be? He is the Potter, and he is certainly greater than you, the clay! Should the created thing say of the one who made it, "He didn't make me"? Does a jar ever say, "The potter who made me is stupid"?  Isaiah 29:16 (NLT)

 

Of

 

"What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator. Does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying, 'Stop, you're doing it wrong!' Does the pot exclaim, 'How clumsy can you be?' Isaiah 45:9 (NLT)

 

Men?

 

Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen. 1 John 5:21

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Ummm unsupported assertion? Historical vs operational science? Bonky is right on there. A cursory search of the internet will validate this. It would require that you look up some websites that you do not agree with, however.

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This probably won't be a popular view here but, this idea that "historical science" [creationist invented term by the way] is less legitimate or inferior than/to "observational science" is specious. I think you'll find that this mistrust of "historical science" only occurs when scientific claims contradict scripture. I'd like to see the same lack of trust when forensic scientists are trying to figure out who killed their loved one.

If science confirms a claim in the Bible [archaeology etc] do they distrust it then, or just when they don't like the conclusions? Now having said this, I would agree that there are varying degrees of confidence based on how much or how little data you have. But doubting "historical science" only when it casts doubt on your interpretation of scripture seems dishonest.

Here is an article written from a Christian on this creationist tactic to undermine scientific inquiry of the past.

http://godandscience.org/youngearth/operational_vs_origins_science.html

 

 

Hi bonky, you said “This probably won't be a popular view here but, this idea that "historical science" [creationist invented term by the way] is less legitimate or inferior than/to "observational science" is specious”

 

In what sense is it “specious”? Do you have an argument to back up this claim – or is it another example of Unsupported Assertion? And why is it important who invented the claim – other than to cast more unsupported Innuendo into the fray? If a creationist did invent the term, does that automatically render it illegitimate in your mind – i.e. without giving any consideration to the logical justification? This has nothing to do with being “popular’, but with the incapacity or unwillingness of some to provide a logical defence of their claims.

 

The historical method is different from the operational method; and logically inferior in several aspects – namely 1) the claims themselves can never be subjected to observation, 2) therefore the claims can only be tested indirectly – through comparing the current evidence to the formulated models (i.e. unobserved stories about what might have happened in the past), and 3) since the claims themselves can never be tested through experimentation (only the models can be tested), no legitimate scientific confidence can be attributed to the claims without committing the logical fallacy Affirming the Consequent. Operational science does not suffer these logical weaknesses.

 

 

 

“I think you'll find that this mistrust of "historical science" only occurs when scientific claims contradict scripture. I'd like to see the same lack of trust when forensic scientists are trying to figure out who killed their loved one”

 

But if the same evidence can be accounted for by competing explanations, such scrutiny would absolutely exist. This happens in every contested trial. A prosecutor’s job is to interpret the evidence in the context of a story where the accused is guilty. The job of the defence attorney is to interpret the evidence in the context of a story where the accused is not-guilty.

 

For example, if the knife victim’s blood is found on the accused’s body and the accused’s fingerprints on the knife; a) is the accused the murderer, or b) did the accused find the body and remove the knife. One set of facts – two plausible stories that are consistent with the facts. Such is the nature of all historical science.

 

The benefit of a legal trial is that both sides are afforded the opportunity to have their arguments heard – whereas in this debate, the secular side goes to great efforts, utilising a broad range of logical fallacies, to convince everyone that the opposing positions should be automatically dismissed without any consideration.

 

 

 

“If science confirms a claim in the Bible [archaeology etc] do they distrust it then, or just when they don't like the conclusions?”

 

It’s not about trust or “distrust”. Everyone prefers the interpretation that agrees with their pre-existing beliefs – that’s called confirmation bias. The issue is whether or not a person recognises that historical claims can have more than one possible explanation – and since none of the claims is scientifically observed, all claims consistent with the facts are valid and worthy of objective consideration.

 

 

 

“I would agree that there are varying degrees of confidence based on how much or how little data you have. But doubting "historical science" only when it casts doubt on your interpretation of scripture seems dishonest.”

 

What is truly dishonest is a persistent failure to recognise that all sides ‘doubt’ historical claims that do not conform to their presupposition. Scrutiny (or “doubting”) is a valid pursuit in both historical and operational science. The suggestion that any scientific claim be merely accepted is based in faith, not science.

 

 

 

“Here is an article written from a Christian on this creationist tactic to undermine scientific inquiry of the past.

http://godandscience...ns_science.html

 

This article doesn’t address the fundamental creationist arguments. It simplifies the creationist position to a couple of prima-facie points, then makes simple, unsupported claims supporting the author’s position, without any consideration given to the underlying logic of the claims. How can you fall for this after our other conversation (starting http://www.worthychristianforums.com/topic/181250-big-bang-continued/page-3#entry2120342 )? You must be aware that our position is misrepresented in this article – or is your confirmation bias really so strong that you haven’t heard anything I said?

Edited by Tristen
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Ummm unsupported assertion? Historical vs operational science? Bonky is right on there. A cursory search of the internet will validate this. It would require that you look up some websites that you do not agree with, however

 

==========================================================================================

 

So, just a cursory search on the Internet will provide the "evidence" telling me my Turkey Club is not a Turkey Club.... it's a Nutty Buddy? :huh:

 

Probably a good chance if I start with www.pseudo-science/"just so" stories.org ??

 

 

Lets try something new, lets try you "Debunking" each of the statements in my previous post "Specifically" with Support.

 

1.  Ernst Mayr PhD Professor Emeritus, Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard University (evolutionist):

 

"Darwin introduced historicity into science. Evolutionary biology, in contrast with physics and chemistry, is a historical science—the evolutionist attempts to explain events and processes that have already taken place. Laws and experiments are inappropriate techniques for the explication of such events and processes. Instead one constructs a historical narrative, consisting of a tentative reconstruction of the particular scenario that led to the events one is trying to explain."

 

2. Since you neither Observe anything then obviously cannot TEST for Validation....it falls outside the Scientific Method.

 

"The scientific method requires that an hypothesis be ruled out or modified if its predictions are clearly and repeatedly incompatible with experimental tests. Further, no matter how elegant a theory is, its predictions must agree with experimental results if we are to believe that it is a valid description of nature. In physics, as in every experimental science, "experiment is supreme" and experimental verification of hypothetical predictions is absolutely necessary. Experiments may test the theory directly (for example, the observation of a new particle) or may test for consequences derived from the theory using mathematics and logic (the rate of a radioactive decay process requiring the existence of the new particle). Note that the necessity of experiment also implies that a theory must be testable. Theories which cannot be tested, because, for instance, they have no observable ramifications (such as, a particle whose characteristics make it unobservable), do not qualify as scientific theories."

http://teacher.nsrl.rochester.edu/phy_labs/appendixe/appendixe.html

 

 

3.  Professor Mayr says for Historical Science... "experiments are inappropriate techniques for explication" but .......

 

"Theories which cannot be tested, because, for instance, they have no observable ramifications (such as, a particle whose characteristics make it unobservable), do not qualify as scientific theories."---- (from Directly above)

 

4.  Debunk QM, specifically these 2 Experiments that Speak Directly to my position...

 

A Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser: http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/9903047

Experimental delayed-choice entanglement swapping: http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1203/1203.4834.pdf

 

Thanks

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Sorry I'm not going to play along and hear das alte Lied.  I've seen it all before and am astounded by it, believe me.  You really ought to go with the recommendation earlier that you post some of your  ideas on some mainstream discussions.  I would be interested with the outcome.  Good night.

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Hi bonky, you said “This probably won't be a popular view here but, this idea that "historical science" [creationist invented term by the way] is less legitimate or inferior than/to "observational science" is specious”

 

In what sense is it “specious”? Do you have an argument to back up this claim – or is it another example of Unsupported Assertion? And why is it important who invented the claim – other than to cast more unsupported Innuendo into the fray? If a creationist did invent the term, does that automatically render it illegitimate in your mind – i.e. without giving any consideration to the logical justification? This has nothing to do with being “popular’, but with the incapacity or unwillingness of some to provide a logical defence of their claims.

 

The historical method is different from the operational method; and logically inferior in several aspects – namely 1) the claims themselves can never be subjected to observation, 2) therefore the claims can only be tested indirectly – through comparing the current evidence to the formulated models (i.e. unobserved stories about what might have happened in the past), and 3) since the claims themselves can never be tested through experimentation (only the models can be tested), no legitimate scientific confidence can be attributed to the claims without committing the logical fallacy Affirming the Consequent. Operational science does not suffer these logical weaknesses.

I didn't reject this historical/operational concept outright, I listened to the argument for why we should consider it and it doesn't hold water. According to your logic, the folks at the ancient aliens studio have just as good a story as anyone else [on whatever topic] because "hey, none of us were there right?".

Do you believe that Pluto has ever made a complete orbit around the Sun? Do you think it's reasonable to suggest that it hasn't because "we haven't personally observed it"? I'm not saying that any or all scientific claims of the past are equally supported by evidence. We agreed that the extinction event that killed off the dinosaurs is not entirely agreed upon by the scientific community for example. Radio decay however is something that can be measured, calibrated and verified [supernovae]...so it's not an interpretation but a solid measurement.

 

 

 

But if the same evidence can be accounted for by competing explanations, such scrutiny would absolutely exist. This happens in every contested trial. A prosecutor’s job is to interpret the evidence in the context of a story where the accused is guilty. The job of the defence attorney is to interpret the evidence in the context of a story where the accused is not-guilty.

 

For example, if the knife victim’s blood is found on the accused’s body and the accused’s fingerprints on the knife; a) is the accused the murderer, or b) did the accused find the body and remove the knife. One set of facts – two plausible stories that are consistent with the facts. Such is the nature of all historical science.

 

The benefit of a legal trial is that both sides are afforded the opportunity to have their arguments heard – whereas in this debate, the secular side goes to great efforts, utilising a broad range of logical fallacies, to convince everyone that the opposing positions should be automatically dismissed without any consideration.

But your "competing explanation" is "We weren't there". You're holding an empty sack Tristen. By your logic, any murderer would go free unless we had video footage of the actual murder!

 

 

It’s not about trust or “distrust”. Everyone prefers the interpretation that agrees with their pre-existing beliefs – that’s called confirmation bias. The issue is whether or not a person recognises that historical claims can have more than one possible explanation – and since none of the claims is scientifically observed, all claims consistent with the facts are valid and worthy of objective consideration.

What claims are consistent with the facts?! You weren't there right!? It's funny how creationists will criticize mainstream science by saying that they sometimes adjust their views on something in light of new evidence [which is used to cast doubt] and yet ALSO feel perfectly fine in suggesting that scientists only go where their preconceived notions dictate to them. Neat how that works isn't it?

 

 

 

What is truly dishonest is a persistent failure to recognise that all sides ‘doubt’ historical claims that do not conform to their presupposition. Scrutiny (or “doubting”) is a valid pursuit in both historical and operational science. The suggestion that any scientific claim be merely accepted is based in faith, not science.

The thing is, scientists doubt based on scientific evidence, not holy books.

 

 

 

“Here is an article written from a Christian on this creationist tactic to undermine scientific inquiry of the past.

http://godandscience...ns_science.html

 

This article doesn’t address the fundamental creationist arguments. It simplifies the creationist position to a couple of prima-facie points, then makes simple, unsupported claims supporting the author’s position, without any consideration given to the underlying logic of the claims. How can you fall for this after our other conversation (starting http://www.worthychristianforums.com/topic/181250-big-bang-continued/page-3#entry2120342 )? You must be aware that our position is misrepresented in this article – or is your confirmation bias really so strong that you haven’t heard anything I said?

The article is in response to AIG, a creationist organization and their suggestion that there's this distinction between operational science and historical science. So even within the Christian community this argument is rejected.

This argument made by creationists is attempt to make a literal view of Genesis seem to be just a valid model as any other. If we come across scientific evidence that contradicts an early earth [radio decay measurements] you sit there and say "You weren't there".

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Sorry I'm not going to play along and hear das alte Lied.  I've seen it all before and am astounded by it, believe me.  You really ought to go with the recommendation earlier that you post some of your  ideas on some mainstream discussions.  I would be interested with the outcome.  Good night.

 

 

========================================================================

 

Sorry I'm not going to play along and hear das alte Lied.  I've seen it all before and am astounded by it, believe me.

 

Yes...you make Unsupported ambiguous claims, then when called to support them... come up with x,y,and z cliche or story then exit stage left.

 

 

You really ought to go with the recommendation earlier that you post some of your  ideas on some mainstream discussions

 

How do you know I don't? Also, isn't Worthy "mainstream"?  There are actual "Scientists" within it's membership....including you, as I recall.

 

I got a better idea, why don't you....please start with the Operational vs Historical Science have = veracity.  I would also be quite interested on how that turns out.

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Maybe you can help me out. You're making the claim that there is this distinction. Please provide a reference that this distinction is accepted by the scientific community. I was not aware of it until I looked up some creationist sources.

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Maybe you can help me out. You're making the claim that there is this distinction. Please provide a reference that this distinction is accepted by the scientific community. I was not aware of it until I looked up some creationist sources.

 

 

Yes it's called "Observing a Phenomenon" and "Experimentation"....it's Common Sense, that's the Reference.  It's like asking me to provide a reference contrasting the difference between a Turkey Club and a Reuben....there is no research, they take it for granted that everyone knows by mere "observation" that yes, both are sandwiches...but different.

 

For the 3rd time....

 

"The scientific method requires that an hypothesis be ruled out or modified if its predictions are clearly and repeatedly incompatible with experimental tests. Further, no matter how elegant a theory is, its predictions must agree with experimental results if we are to believe that it is a valid description of nature. In physics, as in every experimental science, "experiment is supreme" and experimental verification of hypothetical predictions is absolutely necessary. Experiments may test the theory directly (for example, the observation of a new particle) or may test for consequences derived from the theory using mathematics and logic (the rate of a radioactive decay process requiring the existence of the new particle). Note that the necessity of experiment also implies that a theory must be testable. Theories which cannot be tested, because, for instance, they have no observable ramifications (such as, a particle whose characteristics make it unobservable), do not qualify as scientific theories."

http://teacher.nsrl.rochester.edu/phy_labs/appendixe/appendixe.html

 

 

Please try to stop with this "Creationist Site" drivel, it's quite Non-Sequitur.  Can you tell me the difference between a "Creationist Site" and a "Secular Site"?  Warning: I'm leading you right into another fallacy.  :whistling:

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I was not aware that I learned something by consulting a resource was non sequitur. Ok I'll give you you this: there are no creationist websites. Happy? :D

On a serious note, is it fallacious (I'm sure it is to you) to say that a website explaining that God designed the universe is indeed creationist? What is the disconnect here? Are you offended by the term? I can use another word.

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Can you tell me the difference between a "Creationist Site" and a "Secular Site"?  Warning: I'm leading you right into another fallacy.  :whistling:

Yes, I have an example of a difference. The use of what I would call "magic" when it's convenient. From ICR's website regarding the RATE project years ago:

 

http://www.icr.org/article/rate-review-unresolved-problems/

The Heat Problem

Of greater concern to both supporters and skeptics of the RATE project is the issue of how to dispose of the tremendous quantities of heat generated

by accelerated decay during the Genesis Flood. The amount of heat produced by a decay rate of a million times faster than normal during the year of the Flood could potentially vaporize the earth’s oceans, melt the crust, and obliterate the surface of the earth. The RATE group is confident that the accelerated decay they discovered was not only caused by God, but that the necessary removal of heat was also superintended by Him as well. Dr. Russell Humphreys, a member of the RATE group, has suggested one possible mechanism that may explain this dilemma. He has found evidence, both scientific and scriptural, that cooling of the earth by the expansion of the cosmos may have occurred simultaneously with the heat produced by accelerated decay.

Real scientists don't use magic wands.

Edited by Bonky
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I was not aware that I learned something by consulting a resource was non sequitur. Ok I'll give you you this: there are no creationist websites. Happy? :D

On a serious note, is it fallacious (I'm sure it is to you) to say that a website explaining that God designed the universe is indeed creationist? What is the disconnect here? Are you offended by the term? I can use another word.

 

 

Nope not offended @ all...whether it's a Creationist Site, a Secular Site,  a Pink Polka Dot Site or whatever...it's irrelevant.  Is the Premise or Postulate TRUE or not, end of story.

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Real scientists don't use magic wands.

 

==================================================================================

 

So Dr. Russ Humphreys is not a "Real Scientist", eh?  No True Scotsman (Fallacy): https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/no-true-scotsman

 

TIP: Fallacies are Fallacious

 

This is the Fallacy I was warning Gray about...he side-stepped it.  Thanks for Illustrating it

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It's been wonderful to discuss with you all, but I've got to refocus on real life relationships.  Till then.

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The question I want to ask is, “When is it permissible for the secular sciences to inform our reading of Scripture?” Or negatively, "Why should secular science NOT influence our reading of scripture?" I should stress at the outset that the question is NOT “When should Scripture yield to Scientific claims?” This is not about a contest between infallible Scripture and fallible science, or of God’s word vs. Man’s.  Rather it is the issue of man’s exegesis of Scripture and its relationship to what I call man’s exegesis of nature; or, between scholarship and physical science.  The difference may be subtle but it is important and has been missed or ignored too often on these forums.  There is much in the Bible that is plain and requires no great amount of learning to exegete.  But I think no one here is so confident (or arrogant) to claim a perfect grasp of Scripture from start to finish.  Everyone will admit hard passages to which they can give their “best” explanations; which means they admit the possibility of “better” explanations.  And most here will acknowledge certain tools which will help refine or correct those “best” explanations: whether it be better handling of the Greek or Hebrew, better understanding of the historical context etc.  Sometimes a discovery, like that of the Dead Sea Scrolls, prompts scholars to reexamine traditional readings of Scripture.  Should secular science be allowed the same force?

 

Obviously the example that looms largest here is cosmology and its influence on our reading of Genesis.  The scientists tell us that the earth is very old, much older than the sum of years mentioned in Genesis would lead us to believe.  This has led some to question the intended meaning of the creation account (s).  On the other hand it has been maintained on this forum by many that the abandonment of a literal 6-day reading of Genesis 1 in response to scientific claims made about the earth’s age constitutes nothing less than the abandonment of God’s Word as revelation.  I struggle to see why.  Granted there have been sloppy attempts to reconcile the two: I find it very difficult to cram an epoch into the Hebrew for “day”.  But I am not here concerned with this or that maneuver but with the general condemnation of even searching for alternative readings. For it seems to me that many on this forum are not even willing to entertain alternative readings that are prompted by scientific claims: they are regarded wrong a priori, and that simply because behind them lies the influence of secular disciplines.  This baffles me. Why the prejudice? 

 

Once more, I do not advocate the immediate abandonment of traditional readings of scripture the second some conflicting claim has been made public by the sciences. That is irresponsible. But I think it also highly irresponsible not to acknowledge these claims and reexamine what we think we know about Scripture.  Perhaps we find nothing: in which case the alternatives are clear—either abandon inerrancy, or wait for the sciences to abandon their claim.  But what if we do find something? What if we find evidence that not only reconciles the text to scientific claims but (and more significantly) illuminates numerous other areas of sCripture hitherto obscure?  Does the fact that it was a secular discipline which initiated the initial search vitiate those finds?  Is secular science such a vulgar catalyst that nothing good can come from it, however attractive and (I must say) invigorating results? 

 

clb

 

Matt 18:3 And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Romans 10:9 If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Eph 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Matt 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

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Hi bonky, you said “This probably won't be a popular view here but, this idea that "historical science" [creationist invented term by the way] is less legitimate or inferior than/to "observational science" is specious”

 

In what sense is it “specious”? Do you have an argument to back up this claim – or is it another example of Unsupported Assertion? And why is it important who invented the claim – other than to cast more unsupported Innuendo into the fray? If a creationist did invent the term, does that automatically render it illegitimate in your mind – i.e. without giving any consideration to the logical justification? This has nothing to do with being “popular’, but with the incapacity or unwillingness of some to provide a logical defence of their claims.

 

The historical method is different from the operational method; and logically inferior in several aspects – namely 1) the claims themselves can never be subjected to observation, 2) therefore the claims can only be tested indirectly – through comparing the current evidence to the formulated models (i.e. unobserved stories about what might have happened in the past), and 3) since the claims themselves can never be tested through experimentation (only the models can be tested), no legitimate scientific confidence can be attributed to the claims without committing the logical fallacy Affirming the Consequent. Operational science does not suffer these logical weaknesses.

I didn't reject this historical/operational concept outright, I listened to the argument for why we should consider it and it doesn't hold water. According to your logic, the folks at the ancient aliens studio have just as good a story as anyone else [on whatever topic] because "hey, none of us were there right?".

Do you believe that Pluto has ever made a complete orbit around the Sun? Do you think it's reasonable to suggest that it hasn't because "we haven't personally observed it"? I'm not saying that any or all scientific claims of the past are equally supported by evidence. We agreed that the extinction event that killed off the dinosaurs is not entirely agreed upon by the scientific community for example. Radio decay however is something that can be measured, calibrated and verified [supernovae]...so it's not an interpretation but a solid measurement.

 

 

 

But if the same evidence can be accounted for by competing explanations, such scrutiny would absolutely exist. This happens in every contested trial. A prosecutor’s job is to interpret the evidence in the context of a story where the accused is guilty. The job of the defence attorney is to interpret the evidence in the context of a story where the accused is not-guilty.

 

For example, if the knife victim’s blood is found on the accused’s body and the accused’s fingerprints on the knife; a) is the accused the murderer, or b) did the accused find the body and remove the knife. One set of facts – two plausible stories that are consistent with the facts. Such is the nature of all historical science.

 

The benefit of a legal trial is that both sides are afforded the opportunity to have their arguments heard – whereas in this debate, the secular side goes to great efforts, utilising a broad range of logical fallacies, to convince everyone that the opposing positions should be automatically dismissed without any consideration.

But your "competing explanation" is "We weren't there". You're holding an empty sack Tristen. By your logic, any murderer would go free unless we had video footage of the actual murder!

 

 

It’s not about trust or “distrust”. Everyone prefers the interpretation that agrees with their pre-existing beliefs – that’s called confirmation bias. The issue is whether or not a person recognises that historical claims can have more than one possible explanation – and since none of the claims is scientifically observed, all claims consistent with the facts are valid and worthy of objective consideration.

What claims are consistent with the facts?! You weren't there right!? It's funny how creationists will criticize mainstream science by saying that they sometimes adjust their views on something in light of new evidence [which is used to cast doubt] and yet ALSO feel perfectly fine in suggesting that scientists only go where their preconceived notions dictate to them. Neat how that works isn't it?

 

 

 

What is truly dishonest is a persistent failure to recognise that all sides ‘doubt’ historical claims that do not conform to their presupposition. Scrutiny (or “doubting”) is a valid pursuit in both historical and operational science. The suggestion that any scientific claim be merely accepted is based in faith, not science.

The thing is, scientists doubt based on scientific evidence, not holy books.

 

 

 

“Here is an article written from a Christian on this creationist tactic to undermine scientific inquiry of the past.

http://godandscience...ns_science.html

 

This article doesn’t address the fundamental creationist arguments. It simplifies the creationist position to a couple of prima-facie points, then makes simple, unsupported claims supporting the author’s position, without any consideration given to the underlying logic of the claims. How can you fall for this after our other conversation (starting http://www.worthychristianforums.com/topic/181250-big-bang-continued/page-3#entry2120342 )? You must be aware that our position is misrepresented in this article – or is your confirmation bias really so strong that you haven’t heard anything I said?

The article is in response to AIG, a creationist organization and their suggestion that there's this distinction between operational science and historical science. So even within the Christian community this argument is rejected.

This argument made by creationists is attempt to make a literal view of Genesis seem to be just a valid model as any other. If we come across scientific evidence that contradicts an early earth [radio decay measurements] you sit there and say "You weren't there".

 

 

 

 

Hey Bonky, you said, “I didn't reject this historical/operational concept outright, I listened to the argument for why we should consider it and it doesn't hold water”

 

So tell me why? Don’t just spout empty, unsupported statements - argue the flaws in my logic I supported my claim with an argument – where am I wrong? Otherwise your “doesn’t hold water” claim is meaningless.

 

 

 

“According to your logic, the folks at the ancient aliens studio have just as good a story as anyone else [on whatever topic] because "hey, none of us were there right?"”

 

I have made no claims about the subjective quality of any argument (i.e. nothing about any argument being “just as good as” any other). I haven’t heard the “ancient aliens studio” arguments – so unlike yourself, cannot prejudge or arbitrarily dismiss them as being of lessor quality. Only blind adherence to a particular faith perspective permits the arbitrary dismissal of arguments prior to hearing them.

 

So yes, since no scientific observations are possible in the past, I am obligated by objectivity to fairly consider their arguments when presented – i.e. to compare their model against the currently available facts.

 

 

 

“Do you believe that Pluto has ever made a complete orbit around the Sun? Do you think it's reasonable to suggest that it hasn't because "we haven't personally observed it"?”

 

Considering all the effort gone to in our other conversation, I have to conclude by this statement that you really haven’t heard my arguments, or are being intentionally disingenuous.

 

I have expressed to you many times that creationists interpret all of the same evidence used by secular science, but to be consistent with the Biblical model. I have personally provided you with alternative interpretations of facts you thought could only be interpreted one way. So we are not just claiming lack of observation (which in itself is a massive logical and scientific weakness), but an alternative explanation of the available facts. I have also pointed out to you that all scientific confidence in such historical claims amounts to the logical fallacy Affirming the Consequent.

 

Pluto’s path is, to my knowledge, not contested. So your use of it hear represents a Red Herring fallacy. If someone was claiming otherwise, I would be happy to consider their argument before formulating an opinion – would you?

 

 

 

“I'm not saying that any or all scientific claims of the past are equally supported by evidence. We agreed that the extinction event that killed off the dinosaurs is not entirely agreed upon by the scientific community for example”

 

And the reason for this discrepancy is that interpretation of facts is subjective. Since the claims were not observed, there is logical room for more than one account of the past. All that is required for the story to be rationally valid is that the account be consistent with the currently available facts (regardless of how those facts have been alternatively interpreted).

 

 

 

“Radio decay however is something that can be measured, calibrated and verified [supernovae]...so it's not an interpretation but a solid measurement”

 

It’s a measurement of what is occurring today. No one is questioning radiometric decay. What we question is the application of these facts (chemical isotope ratios) to theoretical ‘ages’. Our instruments very accurately measure the chemical make-up of the tested materials. But to derive an ‘age’ from such facts, one has to incorporate several layers of unverifiable assumption and make extrapolations of 100 or so years of data to magnitudes of billions of years. In any other scientific endeavour, extrapolations of such magnitudes would be ludicrous.

 

Not to mention that there are many radiometric decay ‘ages’ in the scientific literature that are considered to be “wrong” – i.e. don’t match up with the predetermined secular ‘age’ of the rock (I think I gave at least one example in our other discussion). There are also many examples in the scientific literature where differing dating methods yield different ‘ages’. Furthermore, rocks of known age (i.e. observed formation from volcanic eruptions) have yielded verifiably wrong radiometric ages. I have seen scientific papers claiming evidence of changing decay rates. I have seen carbon-dating data sets which date living trees to 8000 years old, living sea creatures to >3000 years old, and bark fragments dated 3000 years into the future. Also, the presumed ‘date’ of the measured material determines which method is applied – introducing immediate bias into the process.

 

So your impression of some unequivocal, so-called “absolute” measure of ‘age’ is based in propaganda. There is certainly a general pattern, but nothing to justify the overwhelming confidence in the method. It is now to the point that some labs require a description of the rock context before performing the measurements – and if the determined ‘age’ doesn’t match the context, the lab returns a non-result. That is, ‘ages’ that do not line up with secular assumptions rarely make it into the literature anymore – thereby introducing more bias into the available data.

 

As I mentioned repeatedly in our other discussion, fundamentally important to the analysis of any scientific claim, is the capacity to separate the empirical form the theoretical.

 

 

 

“But your "competing explanation" is "We weren't there". You're holding an empty sack Tristen. By your logic, any murderer would go free unless we had video footage of the actual murder!”

 

My competing explanation is, self-evidently, the Biblical creation account and the models formulated around this premise – I’m really not sure how you could have missed this. Pointing out the inability to observe the past (which should also be self-evident to most people) serves to mitigate the logically unjustified levels of confidence often expressed in secular historical claims. It really is pretty basic logic – if multiple stories about the unobserved past can account for the same currently available facts, then both should be considered reasonable explanations of the facts. One can make arguments about the quality of each argument with regards to the facts – but both arguments warrant objective consideration. And ultimately, there remains a possibility that none of the presented stories are true – such is the nature of unobserved historical claims.

 

The jury’s role has never been to determine absolute truth – but to determine the quality of each presented story in order to subjectively establish whether the standard of reasonable doubt has been met. In none of our discussions have I suggested you are irrational to subscribe to the secular story – only that you lack objectivity in your determination to reject any other story without fair consideration.

 

 

 

“It's funny how creationists will criticize mainstream science by saying that they sometimes adjust their views on something in light of new evidence [which is used to cast doubt] and yet ALSO feel perfectly fine in suggesting that scientists only go where their preconceived notions dictate to them. Neat how that works isn't it?”

 

Who are you talking to? I have never criticised any science for changing their views “in light of new evidence”. I will take issue with any subsequent claim that their newly changed views have survived scrutiny, but have no issue with adjusting theories to suit the evidence. I don’t recall any example of such an adjustment that contradicted the secular faith perspective. You might say that secular science is happy, for example, to question how Common Ancestry occurred, but not that Common Ancestry occurred. They might question the specifics of what occurred over their putative billions of years of history, but the billion-year-history itself is not up for discussion. It is a rational requirement of the naturalistic faith.

 

 

 

    Scrutiny (or “doubting”) is a valid pursuit in both historical and operational science. The suggestion that any scientific claim be merely accepted is based in faith, not science.

“The thing is, scientists doubt based on scientific evidence, not holy books”

 

In reality, secular scientists doubt based on evidence which has been interpreted to conform to their preferred faith presuppositions – as do creationists. Faith presupposition is faith presupposition – regardless of the source. They are equally unverifiable, and have the same influence on the interpretation process. An objective person would realise that the same logic is applied by both perspectives. Just because it isn’t labelled holy writ doesn’t make it any less faith.

 

 

 

“The article is in response to AIG, a creationist organization and their suggestion that there's this distinction between operational science and historical science. So even within the Christian community this argument is rejected”

 

Yes, Christians are permitted to disagree. My point was that the argument presented by this Christian is poor – presuming, but failing to address the actual creationist position.

 

 

 

“This argument made by creationists is attempt to make a literal view of Genesis seem to be just a valid model as any other”

 

The argument is made because it is justified in logic. I have presented the logic to you several times in several different wordings – but rather than address the presented argument, you fall back on Innuendo, Appeals to Motive and ad-hominem – as though it’s all part of some creationist conspiracy to deceive. It seems like you’ll do anything to avoid addressing the actual argument.

 

 

 

“If we come across scientific evidence that contradicts an early earth [radio decay measurements] you sit there and say "You weren't there"”

 

When have I ever left an argument at this stage? I don’t dispute any radiometric decay fact or “measurement”. I dispute the logic underpinning ‘ages’ derived from these facts. It is perfectly valid for me to point out that the assumptions supporting these claims have been demonstrated to be unreliable. Lack of supporting observation is kind-of a big deal when it comes to attributing scientific confidence.

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It’s a measurement of what is occurring today. No one is questioning radiometric decay. What we question is the application of these facts (chemical isotope ratios) to theoretical ‘ages’. Our instruments very accurately measure the chemical make-up of the tested materials. But to derive an ‘age’ from such facts, one has to incorporate several layers of unverifiable assumption and make extrapolations of 100 or so years of data to magnitudes of billions of years. In any other scientific endeavour, extrapolations of such magnitudes would be ludicrous.

 

Not to mention that there are many radiometric decay ‘ages’ in the scientific literature that are considered to be “wrong” – i.e. don’t match up with the predetermined secular ‘age’ of the rock (I think I gave at least one example in our other discussion). There are also many examples in the scientific literature where differing dating methods yield different ‘ages’. Furthermore, rocks of known age (i.e. observed formation from volcanic eruptions) have yielded verifiably wrong radiometric ages. I have seen scientific papers claiming evidence of changing decay rates. I have seen carbon-dating data sets which date living trees to 8000 years old, living sea creatures to >3000 years old, and bark fragments dated 3000 years into the future. Also, the presumed ‘date’ of the measured material determines which method is applied – introducing immediate bias into the process.

Oh Tristen, I can't believe I'm reading this. One of your criticisms of carbon dating is "living sea creatures" were dated over 3000 years old? Do you understand the principles behind carbon dating? If you did you would have known that carbon dating a living organism is a ridiculous exercise. You don't carbon date living organisms!! A living creature is ingesting carbon all the time, it's only a while after it's dead that we can measure any significant amount of decay into nitrogen. So why would anyone carbon date a living creature??

I'll need to see the research to back up your other claims since I can clearly not be confident that you're not just posting poor "research" from creationist websites like AIG or ICR.

You have to be able to understand the tool before criticizing it and claiming it doesn't work. It would be like me taking fork and using it to eat soup, after I see the poor results I hold the fork up and say "Told you forks don't work well". So of course if you don't use a tool properly or understand the underlying principles, you're results will indeed vary.

Aside from this there many more dating techniques. For example, Uranium–lead (U–Pb) dating has two separate decay chains so we have an internal calibration method we can use [concordia-discordia method].

Edited by Bonky
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I'm a high school science teacher, and I always point out to my students that what we think is true today in science could be turned on its head by a discovery tomorrow.   The general public often views science as absolute truth, and you are correct that people give their "best" explanations of Scripture, but we also give our "best" current explanations of science, knowing full well that the truth may lie deeper than we realize.  

 

I fully agree on all points. However I should say this, even should the "sciences" tell us tomorrow that the earth is in fact much younger than they thought, I would still not return to a "literalistic" interpretation of Genesis.  My interpretation of Genesis 1-2.4 derives from studies of the ancient near east.  How did science come into this?  Well, I do not recall ever being a YEC; but when the overwhelming majority of scientists tell me the cosmos is ancient, it does pose an obstacle to converting to YEC.  One asks, "Why would God who wrote Scripture and created the universe contradict himself between the two?"  This question leads one to reexamine both the claims made by scientists and the claims made by exegetes of scripture:  I am not equipped to examine the claims made by scientists, but I see no reason for them to lie to me, and have heard of no positive evidence for a young earth. When I turn to Scripture, and examine the cultural context and language, I discover that Genesis 1 is carefully structured, and in such a way that suggests a literalistic 6 day reading was never intended.

 

Point: science should be allowed to open up supposedly "closed cases".  Obviously we cannot fabricate any theory just to accommodate scientific claims--they must be based on the evidence suitable to its own discipline, i.e. language, archaelogy, ancient literature etc.  

 

clb

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