Let's be clear when we talk about evolution and science

@Shawn_Murphy Thanks for the welcome. I am actually a former forum participant, going way back, but have been away for some time, and this is a new account. I agree with your comments, but the good news is that there are in fact many other scientists besides me who also agree, including all of those here at Biologos.


Power abusers, manipulators, and deluded. Your disdain for creationists comes through loud and clear. I will be brief. There is no such person as an unbiased observer, and that includes scientists.We interpret facts in accordance with our worldview. I think it was Marshall McLuhan who said “I wouldn’t have seen it if I hadn’t believed it”. Science is a wonderful tool and it has served me well for years. But, remember, there is no certainty in science. The only certainty is in the word of God.

It goes deeper than that. Psychologist have demonstrated that our beliefs play a role in the process of perception by which we convert raw data from the senses into something meaningful about the world. Only science gets beyond this innate subjectivity by giving us procedures which anyone can follow to get the same result no matter what they believe. Thus science is a collaboration of people from all over the world in many different cultures and religions because in the case of the work of science these elements of worldview from culture and religion DON’T MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE!

There is no certainty whatsoever in the what people claim to be to be the word of God, far far far less so than any of the findings of science. Absolute certainty is a delusion that people fabricate and can only serve the purpose of deception. Is there any way to be certain the world was not created this morning as it was with all our memories as they are? There is none. So instead of the delusion of certainty, rational people instead pursue the question of what is reasonable to believe. It is more reasonable to believe what is consistent with all the evidence of our memories and senses, for the simple reason that this makes for the more meaningful life.

Now… I believe in God, and that is a perception that I do not see as being much different than the perception of the people I meet. It may be a construct of my mind but the actions of those bodies out there so similar to my own point to these other beings I call other people. Likewise I see in the events of the world the actions of a being I call God which is not quite so localized. And I believe God has communicated with us by means of revelation of which I think the Bible is a good source – not perfect, but good. But then there is the information being sent to us from the sky and the earth directly in which no trust of the honesty of sinful human beings is required because any of us can and do check this information for ourselves.

Now in general it is not reasonable to believe in vast conspiracies and so I do not believe in Shawn Murphy’s idea of a conspiracy to change the Bible from what he believes to what Christians believe. But likewise I do not believe in creationist ideas of a conspiracy to change the data from the sky and earth from what creationists believe to what scientists from all over the world in vastly different cultures and religions have concluded. And for what reason? Simply so these creationists do not have to admit that they haven’t correctly understood what the Bible is telling us. Disdain indeed!

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What is the source of your certainty about the Bible?

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Is that what he said? Beyond the text though what could we expect to find if such miracles occurred? The answer is nothing. Like the wedding at Cana. At best we could find some big water pitchers buried in sediment or maybe an external source that says ‘we always served the best wine first and only gave them the low quality wine after our party guests were well into the evening.’ But none of these things would actually verify the story or miracle in the text. They’re at least consistent with it, but are not external evidence from nature confirming such miracles.


That’s interesting. I personally think the scientific consensus should still be evaluated skeptically on scientific terms and should be held to account for any ideology creep. I’d guess that the scientific consensus is that God doesn’t exist.

As previously stated in this thread, science is based on the Scientific Method. Hypothesis are develop, experiments are design and data is gathered. Conclusions are based on statistically significant and reproducible data (science is agnostic toward miracles as they are typically neither statistically significant or reproducible) and are published in peer reviewed scientific journals. This peer review helps remove bias from the conclusions and ensure the proper scientific methods have been followed.

When new data is gathered through observation or experimentation, theories may be challenged. If there is statistically significant data that suggests the theory of evolution needs to be modified, the conclusions and data need to be submitted to the appropriate peer reviewed scientific journals so that the methods, data and conclusions can be verified against the scientific method. Then the data and conclusions can be available for other scientists to build on.

Let’s also discuss what is not science. Magazines, movies/ television and museum displays are attempts to communicate science to the general population. They do not undergo the scrutiny of peer reviewed scientific journals and often contain errors and bias. Scientific American, for example, provides a summary of scientific findings, but it clearly has a political agenda.

Scientists having concerns over scientific conclusions is not science. I will give you a personal example. I heard recently in the news that there is no proof that flossing provides any benefit. They did not cite the source or if this is simply due to a lack of published data. I cannot simply say I disagree with the conclusion, I must design and execute an experiment, collect statistically significant data, generate and publish conclusions in a peer reviewed journal.

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I found a number of sources for the Bible being the Word of God:

  • The clear record of prophecy fulfilled throughout the Bible. These includes many world events and the complete earthly life of Jesus is told in the Old Testament (his incarnation, death and resurrection)

  • Absolute consistency between over 40 authors

  • Conservation of scripture for thousands of years - Old Testament quotes as they exist today have been found in graves thousands of years old.

Most importantly, we learn of the character of God through the Bible. We learn how God interacts with our lives, we learn how we can follow His Will in our lives. I have seen nothing inconsistent in my experience with what the Bible says, all 66 books.

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And if it was … it would be just as irrelevant as if a knitting convention issued climate change opinions. Scientific consensus is only relevant for scientific questions.


But it is evaluated skeptically everyday. That is what science is. What isn’t science though is being skeptical on something and then refusing to accept the data one gets from nature.

Where do you get this idea from? It’s not even a scientific question so there can’t be a scientific consensus on a question that can’t actually be answered by science.


But you aren’t using “scientific consensus” correctly. It may be true that the majority of scientists ideologically agree that God doesn’t exist. But that isn’t “scientific consensus” it is the consensus among scientists about philosophy. Scientific consensus involves accepted, thoroughly tested, well-established models based on hypothesis that have repeatedly been supported by multiple lines of evidence and made accurate predictions about new evidence that will be found. “God does not exist.” is not a testable hypothesis as far as the tools of science go, so there can’t be any scientific consensus about it.


Yes, @Mervin_Bitikofer @pevaquark, that sentence was a hasty conflation of consensus and “ideology creep”. But the reality is that science is not immune to ideology, nor is there unanimous consensus in any field beyond the most established concepts.

The current extremes are in the social sciences, where the consensus is rapidly coalescing around progressive social justice ideologies (see “Grievance Studies” for an ongoing expose of the travesty). This is happening in more rigorous fields in academia, where there is increasing pressure against taking positions that are contrary to the agenda.

Saying that one should adopt the scientific “consensus” has relativistic overtones. In any field, there is agreement on the basic theories, but the process of discovery has been pitting conflicting ideas against each other. Some vocal scientists (rather unscientifically) do overreach in their claims about knowing the truth. Now I understand what you are saying about what I would consider thoroughly established facts, but in the long run, promoting a dose of skepticism within the framework of scientific exploration might be better for the “seekers” out there.

What do you think promoting a dose of skepticism could look like? I mean in a way that you could personally find helpful or refreshing.

Scientists have two mean of communication (being “vocal”). The first is the same as everyone else uses - speeches, online fora, articles in the media, interviews etc. And yes, sometimes scientists overreach in this arena, (like everyone else). But what really counts among actual scientists, is not this so much as the other, “offical” communication channel - papers in the peer reviewed literature. For this channel, overreaching should not be possible. Claims not thoroughly backed by data or citations will not get through peer review (or at least, shouldn’t). It’s from this second, far more reliable communication channel that consensus develops, not from online debates or Youtube videos or Twitter arguments. Sometimes the consensus can change suddenly, as the result of a single publication (Watson and Crick 1953 being a good example). There is no official “consensus monitor”; one sees it, and how it changes, by going to conferences, listening to gossip, or seeing a change in the titles of new papers in the field.

I should say that I am speaking only of the harder sciences, (physics, chemistry, biology, geology) because I dont know if the same process works quite the same way in the social sciences.

As @originmike says, “The words ‘science’ and ‘evolution’ are often used interchangeably”, and you have just confirmed it. This isn’t science, it’s scientism.

Scientific consensus can be wrong. It was with aether, phlogiston, miasmas, and even geocentricism. It was only in my lifetime that the idea of continental drift became accepted. Before that it was considered a crackpot theory.

Science is not dependent on any one theory, no matter how well accepted it is, and the GTOE is one of the most dispensible in all science. While lip service might be paid to it most of biology proceeds as if it is irrelevant, which it is.

This is all true.

So I imagine you must be on a crusade against physics. Physicists cannot tell you anything about 93% of the universe; they just call it dark matter and dark energy. They cannot reconcile the 2 major theories in their field.

So why should you believe all that stuff about random quantum states and space that curves and time that does not flow constantly? Physicists are clearly confused and up against their limits. Just throw it all out and go back to the Bible, which divides the universe into 3 layers (the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth). Much simpler.

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I agree they are sometimes used “interchangeably,” but they aren’t synonyms. Science is a hypernym of evolution. Like math and geometry. And no, using hypernyms correctly is not scientism any more than it’s scientism to say “the room is painted a warm color” instead of “the room is painted red.” Scientism has a meaning and it means a belief system where science is the only source of truth and basis of values. So what are you even talking about?

Says the non-biologist… I’ve heard differently from actual scientists

Incorrect. Science accepts the results of testing whether a hypothesis is correct or not. It is the refusal to accept the repeated results of tests over and over and over which is the rejection of science. Evolution is the result of the scientific inquiry into the origin of the species. Creationists simply do not want science to conduct such an inquiry because they want to dictate such things to everyone. This head-in-the-sand willfully ignorant intolerance must be rejected.

Yes the scientific consensus CAN be wrong but this has no bearing whatsoever on the simple fact that evolution is the result of the scientific inquiry into the origin of the species. Go ahead and bank on such a “god of the gaps” argument counting on this vain hope that science is wrong in this case. But lets call this spade a spade, for this is very clearly a rejection of the conclusions of science on this matter. Nor does it change the fact that this conclusion has been confirmed over and over and over by millions of different tests more than any other theory in science.

Incorrect again. The theory of evolution is the foundation of theoretical biology and the technological consequences are legion and a routine part of medical practice including the last time I went to the doctor.


Gross over-reach.

I am suggesting that you have the practice of applying different standards to physics than you apply to biology.

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