Interpretation Of Scientific Evidence

(James McKay) #21

Absolutely. That’s a good one. Another one that I didn’t include was that it actually has to confirm what it claims to confirm. Some YEC arguments don’t.

This list isn’t intended to be exhaustive — just representative. Coming up with other examples is left as an exercise for the reader.

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #22


This question suggests a fundamental misunderstanding about how science works.

Crucially, when anomalies come up, you don’t reject a theory outright, because there was a reason the theory was there in the first place. As my mentor (in a scientific discipline) used to say, “You can’t beat something with nothing.”

Rather, when anomalies come up, you document them as best you can, and then at some point someone comes along with a new paradigm that explains them. Crucially, that new paradigm has to explain all the old patterns in the data AND the anomalies.

So, to give a popular example, Copernican heliocentrism could explain all the planetary motion that Ptolemaic astronomy had so carefully mapped out, but it also accounted for the phases of Venus and the moons of Jupiter (and, particularly with the addition of Kepler’s elliptical orbits, it did away with epicycles, too).

So if YEC wants to have a viable alternative to evolutionary theory, they have to explain the millions and millions of data points that suggest evolution is true IN ADDITION TO their few counterexamples. It is not sufficient to come up with a dozen putative counterexamples and say, “Can’t explain these? Aha! Then you lose!!” No, science doesn’t work that way.

Does that make sense?

(Laura) #23

I’ve noticed that as well, and so now when I hear the “different interpretations” line, it makes me think, "only if dismissing evidence out of hand is a form of interpretation."
Andrew Snelling of AIG says this:

"…yes, we are saying that almost all current scientific dating techniques are incorrect, because God as the almighty Creator has told us the age of the universe by direct revelation in His Word. He has told us the universe is only about 6,000 years old, and we accept that on His authority.

So our position is that all the dating techniques used in geology, cosmology, and physics are wrong when they claim that the universe is 13–15 billion years old and the earth about 4.5 billion years old."

That kind of denial seems a lot more than merely a “different interpretation” of the scientific evidence (like if someone called me a brainwashed idiot for believing in God, I would see that as more than simply a “different interpretation of scripture.”)

(Jonathan) #24

A very good explanation!

(Robin) #25

I think that is an interesting question. JES Jonathan. I suppose one might suggest that believing in creation is one thing. You can believe in a creation of an old universe and still be creationist. You can believe in a young universe and be that too…So evidence for creation is not necessarily the same as evidence for a young universe. Why does “evolution” automatically become equated with “no creation”?? That is going a bit beyond science and into something else, is it not?? Saying there “was” creation implies an active Agent outside of the created Universe which thought this whole thing through — and some have a problem there no matter what.

(Gunter Thompson) #26

I notice no creationist arguments posted on this thread. Why?

(Christy Hemphill) #27

Because most people have already been to AIG and read them already.

(Christy Hemphill) #28

Jonathan does us the courtesy of assuming that if we reject creationist arguments, we have reasons, and he is interested in those reasons. He doesn’t just automatically assume we are simply ignorant and unaware of creationist claims. Which is nice of him.

(Bill Wald) #29

The definition of science was well argued 100 years ago. google Wittgenstein and Karl Popper. Popper first taught that a claim of “truth” should be limited to matters that can be falsified. Makes sense to me. If something can’t be demonstrated to be wrong, then neither can it be said to be right. I agree . . . in later writings the subject got more complex, above my ability to grasp.

Personally, I think that “science” should be limited to real time observations and experiments.

Then there are the problems of margin of error, scope, and applicability For example, Newton’s Laws and plane geometry “work” well for things smaller than our solar system and large enough to be seen with an optical microscope. There is no such thing as a “flat” plane in a gravitational field, mechanical laws don’t apply to sub-atomic stuff.

Then there is quantum mechanics. I had no problem with vacuum tube circuitry but transistors should not exist according to standard physics.

(Jonathan) #30

A lot of the time, it seems to me that the origins debate is often truly over philosophy and history, not always science…


Even that limitation can be quite arbitrary. All observations are necessarily relics of the past, even if it is a few nanoseconds into the past as photons are produced in one place and observed in another. At what point are observations “too old”?

Science limits itself to empirical observations which is what scientists use in studying things like geology and biological natural history. Events in the past produce empirical observations in the present, and that is what scientists use to test their hypotheses.


I am sure that is so when the subject is argued by historians and philosophers. However, when scientists debate the issue it is about the science.

(Jonathan) #33

Personally, I think that many people are historians, philosophers, and scientists; but identify with the one that they are for a living. Currently, I would classify myself as all three (but still need to become better at each one). Being the learned people they are, I think scientists would be well able to argue history and philosophy alongside science.

(Disclaimer: sometimes, categories such as “philosophy” and “science” and “history” can be blurred and melded into each other. Really, they are all different figments of the human quest for ultimate reality).

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #34

Right — and falsification is possible. Imagine finding a bona fide, undisturbed rabbit fossil in Cambrian-era rocks, for instance.


By scientists with respect to evolution, I mean biologists with degrees that are working in the field of biology. If we are talking about the geologic history of the Earth, then we would be talking about people working as geologists with degrees in geology.

Groups like AiG want to turn the conversation away from science and towards other topics which may be what you are seeing.


I’m new in this, but I just wanted to say Hi and that I love you all. We all know that we are all going to die someday. In creation, after death, I have this hope of rising in a glorious body and living forever in Heaven where there are no more death, pain, and crying. It is a perfect place where no one argues about what we say, and everybody loves each other. This is my hope. Is there any hope after death? I have. Believe in the divine designer, “The Creator”. It is okay if you disagree, I still love you, what matters is what God says about me/you, because God’s words last forever.
Have a blessed day.

(Jonathan) #37

Welcome, @enchojean!
I look forward to hearing more of your participation (along with living forever in heaven together with Jesus most of all)! Anyhow, I have liked this forum so far because I can disagree with most of the things people say and can argue about them without the other participants despising me (usually…;)).

Have a blessed day!

(Gunter Thompson) #38

J.E.S. Jonathon: I’m unclear about the distinctions or aggregations you make between science, history and philosophy. To me, scientific conclusions are an objective “thing”. That thing can be presented to a discussion of philosophy and smart people can discern its effect. Same with history. Science is science.

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #39

Come for the origins debate, stay for the troll-free disagreement! Love it! :slight_smile: :100:


Thank you for your reply. I’m going to shift our discussion to the bible for now and let us talk about it briefly. The bible is God’s book, most of us probably already know about this, but it is the best seller of all time, never out of print, still off the press as I compose this note. It is in print for over 2000 years. Books written by humans, great authors, I love them, because God gave them the knowledge to convey information to us, but their intention is selfish, not to praise and glorify Jesus but they end up on shelves collecting dust, even books written by evolutionists, The bible if you read it begins with creation, the authorship of God, the greatest display of power, knowledge as we thumb through the pages, we draw closer to God, He draws closer to us, in a Father, son, daughter, and family relationship. Nothing in heaven, hell, on earth, under the sea can destroy this love God have for us. Right now, I’m tearing, because the Spirit of God in me, urges me to continue sharing to the world about Him, so everyone come to Him, He’s waiting with open arms, come as you are rich, poor, no matter what your skin color is, I see myself in all of you.
God loves you.
God bless.