Monday, May 25, 2015

Science vs. "Science"

Is science a religion? Is it biased or relative? Well…most theists, post modernists and relativist will agree.

From the Christian apologetic book "When Skeptics Ask", there are two types of science: Operational Science and Origin Science. Operational science seeks answers that are testable by repeating the experiment over and over. Now, it is falsifiable if the cause does not yield the same effect. Its conclusions should allow one to project what will happen in future experiments. That makes operation science predictable. So there’s no room for a supernatural Sky Daddy in its findings.

Origin science on the other hand studies past singularities, not present anomalies. It looks at how things began, not how they work. There singularities are things that happened once and by their nature, won’t happen again.

According to Norman Giesler this origin science is not empirical and its conclusions are not falsifiable (When Skeptics Ask pp. 214-215). So origin science since it is not restricted to secondary causes (those consider as natural causes), we can now posit a “supernatural” first cause as evidence.

Base on these “definitions” of science I bet Creationists and theists can now squeeze Creation Science as science, right?

Science is Dead

A lot of those who’s into post modernistic view believe in the end of science as a method of acquiring knowledge. They accused scientists on being dogmatic or worst, even bias. They claim that scientists always bring their emotional predispositions to their studies – Darwin formulated his Theory of Evolution because he was an atheist and a materialist. Newton rejected Descartes position because it might challenge his religious belief.

Paul Feyerabend viewed science as a religion for it rests on certain dogma that cannot be rationally justified. The Nobel Prize winning physicist Sheldon Glashow even admitted that his belief in the objectivity of science is simply a matter of faith.

Dr. Lyall Watson pointed out in his book "Beyond Supernature" that the only contradiction between science and pseudoscience are the culturally accepted view of reality. That means science was given an absolute authority to decide what is real and what is not real. Dr. Watson continued, “Science decides what is possible by reference to its definition of reality. Anything which fits the definition is acceptable. Anything which doesn’t fit is impossible and must be rejected.”

A good example of this is how the United State National Academy of Science describes science as “a way of knowing about the natural world. It is limited to explaining the natural world through natural causes. Science can say nothing about the supernatural. Whether God exist or not is a question about which science is neutral.”

Wait…Christian say science can look at supernatural possibilities as evidence. Feyerabend says that science is a religion and a faith and New Age practitioners believe science is bias on supernatural issues.

Anyway, let’s take a closer look at what we call “scientific procedure” (that’s scientific method silly!).

Let’s begin with observation. According to Karl Popper the notion that scientific inquiry begins with an observation is absurd. Observation is always selective. It needs a chosen object, a definite task, an interest, a point of view and a problem (The Growth of Scientific Knowledge p.46)

Well…as Fredrick Nietzsche said, “There are no facts, just interpretations.”

Now does this imply relativism?

Sure it does.

Thomas Kuhn seems to think that scientists don’t discover the nature of reality; they create it. It has something to do with “paradigm.”


According to Kuhn, science is like a puzzle solving exercise. The rules of a certain “puzzle” are contained in a paradigm. These paradigms give the scientist what task he must do to solve the puzzle – something like a manual or a rule on how to play the game.

Anyway, certain anomalies arise beside the paradigm from time to time that can’t be solved. When these anomalies become too many to be contained, the scientific community undergoes a “paradigm shift.” (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions p.111)

Going back to Popper, he believes that a scientific procedure should begin with a hypothesis.

So what makes a hypothesis?

It must be falsifiable to empirical statements (er…sorry folks…strict or pure existential statements are not included). If, according to Popper, there isn’t any possible observation that would count against it, it is not scientific.

Karl Popper created an atmosphere in science that falsify rather than verify hypothesis…well he thought that by doing that we can avoid the problem of induction so we can differentiate science against pseudoscience. It turns out to be a BIG MISTAKE!

According to the supernaturalists and to some skeptics, if Popper was right then every theory becomes scientific as long as it can be refuted. Creationism, parapsychology, UFO, Psychic studies and even divination can be a scientific theory!

Induction or Deduction?
There is still a debate in the philosophy of science whether it must use induction or deduction.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) believed that induction is better than Aristotle’s deductive method.
So what he did was to make experimentation first before having a hypothesis. This resulted to the buildup of too many unwarranted extrapolations…in other words; the experiments are just going nowhere.

John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) introduced enumerative induction to strengthen Bacon’s process. In this method, the process of extrapolation was made sound by the Law of Universal Causation (Cause and Effect). The problem here is that enumerative induction is not a logical guarantor of truth because it is based on assumptions.

William Whewell (1794-1866) thought that scientific investigation must start with hypothesis which has heuristic value in guiding an inquiry. When a hypothesis is confronted with the data, one knows if it is true because of the feeling of harmony generated by the match between the data and the hypothesis.

Mill doesn’t like Whewell’s idea…blah…blah…blah. So the issue still rages on and on and on and on.

So what can I say to all of this?

Well, I suppose scientists are just poor philosophers. They are not philosophically sophisticated in defending their turf against the onslaughts of the theists, the post modernists, the relativist and the deconstructionists. Damn! Scientists can’t even justify their method.

Others think that scientists are such arrogant bastards that there are just in for the money and fame as what Fererabend observed, “Scientists have more money, more authority, more sex appeal than they deserve, and the most stupid procedures and the most laughable results in their domain are surrounded with an aura of excellence.” (Against Method p. 304)

Some even say that scientists are bias that they even alter their finding to fit a politically desired conclusion (in the case of Nazi and Soviet scientists).

Science or Hidden Agenda?
Let’s go back to Norman Giesler’s origin science. First, an FYI: You will never find this so-called origin science and operational science in any legitimate scientific text book. These terms first appeared on Giesler's own book Origin science: A proposal for the creation-evolution controversy (with co-author J. Kerby Anderson 1987 ).

He went as far as comparing his origin science using a 70’s TV series Quincy M.E. and forensic to prove his point.

According to Geisler, each week Quincy tries to find out what and/or who caused a past singularity (a person’s death) by examining the effect and deciding what kind of thing could have cause that event. This is what origin science seek to do.

Now origin science works on different principles than operation science does. Since the past events that it studies cannot be repeated today, it uses analogy between the kinds of cause/effect relationships that is being studied. (When Skeptics Ask pp. 214-215)

So according to Mr. Giesler origin science studies things that only happened once and by their nature, doesn’t happened again. Hmmmm…it seems to echo Christian theologian Richard Swinburne definition of a miracle as a non-repeatable exemption to the Law of Nature. (The Existence of God p.229)

If Quincy M.E. as Giesler suggested, decides his case by using analogies, I think Dr. Gim Grissom and the rest of the CSI team’s method is more probable. CSI creates models to re-create the crime scene. Unlike Quincy, they used a combination of rational and empirical observation to create a theory (the why and how the victim was killed and a crime was committed). Each case are compared to past cases (so there is not thought of a singularity) with help to different scientific disciples: forensic pathology, crime laboratory, ballistics, forensic anthropology, forensic psychology, forensic entomology, odontology, print identification…you name it. The result (conclusion) is 98 to 99.9% accurate…compare to crime-solving in the 70’s. Forensic science is more that Giesler’s guesswork.

Going back to the subject…
Repeatable events provide more information that may lead to eventual natural descriptions whereas so-called mysterious, unrepeatable event is likely to remain mysterious or it may provide you fantastic results. If “origin science” is positing for a unrepeatable violation of the Laws of nature then it must supply us a good evidence for such violation.

Norman Giesler also said that conclusions made by “origin science” are not falsifiable.


Then “origin science” not a science.

Science is not about answering questions but rather questioning answers. As David Hume noted enumerative inductions and self-evident conclusions are not science. If science rest on enumerative inductions it rest on a dogma and if it rest on a dogma, it is not a purely rational enterprise.
So why would theistic science shy away from falsification?

So they can more science away from methodological materialism and allow supernatural explanation especially on issues with theological implications. (Science and Religion by Euginie C. Scott, 1998)

There are no walls that separate science against pseudoscience claims. Methodological naturalism doesn’t discriminate supernaturalism. It is just a rule to limit objective observation against sciolism. Today scientists are looking on the claims given by “Creation science”, ESP, UFO and other supernatural declarations.

If maybe those into supernaturalism can provides us some reliable evidence…as they say, “extraordinary claims requires extraordinary evidence.”

“Relative Science”
Kuhn and Feyerabend claimed that observation in science is bias since all of it are dependent of the theory (remember Kuhn’s paradigm?). Since each theory is described by a paradigm, then there are no neutral data that can be used to determine a theory.

Oh wait?

If Kuhn and Feyerabend are correct then it should be impossible to look at anything that doesn’t fit our paradigm? If it’s impossible to perceive anything that doesn’t fit our paradigm, then it’s impossible for there to be any anomalies. And if it’s impossible for there to be any anomalies, it is impossible for there to be any paradigm shift.

Unlike Kuhn’s paradigm shifts changes do occur in science. For example, Ptolemaic geocentric universe was replaced by Copernicus’ heliocentric system and Curbier’s catastrophism was replaced by Chales Lyell’s uniformitarianism.

Speaking of observation, Karl Popper was incorrect to say that all observations are selective. There are two types of observation: Recognition and Discrimination. Recognition may involve the use of concepts but discrimination doesn’t for if it does then we would never perceive anything new (See: Hundert 1987, 413, 420—21).

Post Modern Relativism
Kuhn’s idea seems to suggest conceptual relativism – that the world and truth are manufactured by conceptual schemes.

If that’s the case…then Kuhn’s and Feyerabend’s findings are also in a paradigm which makes it non-universally accepted – it is only correct on their own observation and not on other observations. That will also make a conclusion that Kuhn and Feyerabend created their observations, their theory and their scenarios…so they are biased because of their own paradigm! Ah…the wonder of relativism.

Science vs. “Science”
We can throw every philosophical gerrymandering to science, but that doesn’t make science least scientific. We say that scientists are bias…but that’s it – scientists are not science. Science still is superior to other methods of inquiry because it provides better explanation and result. Come on guys…postmodernism didn’t eradicated smallpox and relativism didn’t invent your PC.

So how does science work?

It starts with the brain and…oh come on! Are you gonna accused me of being a positivist again? Anyway, it always starts with “I don’t know.” As a sense-perception organism, we experience in our senses what our brain is told by…yes…the senses! Sounds empirical? Nah! You’re just philosophizing again.

Going back to your brain, you can now discover what’s out there by observing things. In observation we gather data through the senses or sensory enhancing technology, as Arthur Stanley Eddington said, “For the truth of the conclusions of science, observation is the Supreme Court of Appeals.”

You are now ready to build a theory…We are now entering what we called “scientific method.”

Sometimes you find a contradiction with your observation and your reasoning so you create a hypothesis (a working guess) that would eliminate the contradiction. You test it by standards of experiments and you can share this by replication the same experience in another person.

You explain to other people your observation and the contradictions you found. Induce them to experience it. Help them, stimulate them. They may even create a new hypothesis.

OK, you now have two working guess. Let see which hypothesis is right or maybe both of you are wrong.

Now you have two, or three or five or a whole classroom of minds experiencing what you have experience. As a matter of fact you can imitate Erostosthenes experiment and get the same result.

You will find a lot of answers…start questioning them.

We can call it what we want…yes these Christians, post modernists, nihilists and relativist can use all their philosophical mumbo-jumbo to discredit science and its methodological naturalism, but again it’s really a waste of time. It’s just plain rhetoric against science as Max Perutz said, “a piece of humbug masquerading as an academic discipline.” Remember, the problem are the scientists, not science.

What can I say? In philosophical examinations the truth as so often lies somewhere in between.

So as philosophy was reduced to personal ethics and language game and as some philosophers announced its death and while others are still trying to figure their way out on some philosophical mess they’ve themselves created, I can always rely on science to show me the wonders of this universe. It is still the best we got so far compare to rhetoric, dialectics, beauty and revelation from God.

As the late Carl Sagan have said, “Because science carries us toward an understanding of the world is, rather than how we would wish it to be, its findings may not in all cases be immediately comprehensible or satisfying. It may take little work to restructure our mind sets.

Some of science is very simple. When it gets complicated, that’s usually because the world is complicated – or because we’re complicated.

But then we pass beyond the barrier, when the findings and the methods of science get through to us, when we understand and put this knowledge to use, many feel deep satisfaction.”

That explanation is good enough for me.


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