What is science (or how do you define it?)

I fully agree that critiques of ID are often expressed in ways that are unhelpful. It’s a big bugbear of mine—when it’s dismissed as “religion, not science” or “introducing religious presuppositions into science,” or with appeals to the First Amendment or Kitzmiller v Dover. The US Constitution may have a lot of value in the eyes of many, but it is not a part of the Bible (or of any other sacred scripture), it is not the ultimate authority on what is real and what isn’t, and in fact for those of us on the other side of The Pond™, it is completely irrelevant.

Having said that, there is a tendency for many ID proponents to respond to the theory of evolution in particular with misleading or inaccurate claims. One example is irreducible complexity: as far as I have been able to establish, their most well known examples of IC such as the bacterial flagellum have been shown not to be irreducibly complex after all. There are also times when I get the impression that I’m reading tabloid rhetoric and name calling rather than scholarly analysis. I see this for example in their tendency to use the word “Darwinism” to describe what they are attacking: this is what is known as a weasel word, because while at first glance it sounds like it means something specific, in practice it is so ambiguous that it is quite possible to say that you reject “Darwinism” while accepting the universal common ancestry of humans, animals, and all life on Earth.

ID proponents need to tone down the rhetoric, come clean on exactly what aspects of the theory of evolution they are rejecting, and make sure that the claims they are making in support of their positions are accurate. ID critics, on the other hand, need to focus on the question of whether or not ID proponents are getting their facts straight, and leave objections based on politics or religion out of it.


There is no room for God in the work of science because God is not falsifiable or measurable. To push a claim for a God as part of the work of science is to push a god I would never believe in – frankly one reduced to being little more that the tool of power for those doing so.

The understanding that there is no room for God in the work of science is not in any way non-Christian because it is about science not reality – that would take the additional presupposition of naturalism. Are you naturalist, then – equating science with reality itself? More likely you are just equating your cult theology with reality and trying to put it over everything else including science. But worldwide Christianity has no more interest in the domination of your theology than does science.

This is the “logic” of the anti-science cult of creationism equating anything which does not agree to the fantasy they have created with an opposition to God. But the only real opposition here, is to this anti-science cult and their efforts to use God as tool of power over other people.

Atheists have their opposition-mongers and they frankly have more in common with the creationist opposition-mongers, much like Hitler and Stalin, who signed a nonaggression pact to divide the world between them. The enemies of virtue (whether honesty or peace) are the enemies of mankind and the future – the stubborn paranoia of these ideologues on both sides can only destroy.

Science can only speak to what is measurable. Theistic Evolution is not science – OBVIOUSLY. No more than creationism is science. BUT theistic evolution is at least compatible with with the conclusions of science instead of inventing a fantasy world contradicting reality altogether.


He’d better do. Especially if He’s going to condemn us for declining His one time offer at participating outlets only (terms and conditions may vary).

Believe me, there was nothing intentional on my part about misreading what you meant.

Hmm… are nature and reality synonymous for you?

Why? Where doesn’t he think objectively? And by what proportion compared with you?


So is there any YEC, ID, OEC without “religion, not science” or “introducing religious presuppositions into science”?

1 Like

And depending on who you ask, metaphysics is the science of what is unobservable, even that which is unobservable by nature.

Years ago I had some fun poking around with the atheists at the internet infidels forum. There it was common to see it written how metaphysics is meaningless, to which I gave them a meaningful introduction to metaphysics by saying how there are only three possible statements to explain the universe: from nothing, an infinite regress, or an uncaused cause.

As empiricism is metaphysics and shapes it, all is metaphysics. And the sempiternity of nature is an infinite regress. By an uncaused cause.

1 Like
  • Whoopty-do… Paraphrasing another’s words is often risky business, … but I’ll try here.
    • You disagree with my claim that “the spiritual” is "physical, because you can’t believe that the map of a territory–which you say you think is “physical reality”–is “the limit of reality itself”.
    • That’s really astute. :laughing: So happens that I believe that a map of a territory can very well be a physical thing in and of itself, and therefore very much a part of the reality that it attempts to describe, but that the map will never be the whole territory that it attempts to describe. IMO, that’s kind of obvious.
    • Regarding the first of your reasons for belief only in the spiritual: Of course, a belief that the mathematical equation “2 + 2 = 4” and the claim that “All ‘pairs’ are the same things” is absurd. In fact, as I hope you and others will agree, "all pairs are NOT the same things; a pair of geese and a pair of Aces are not the same things. I’d be a fool to think and suggest that they are.
    • Having said that, can I then claim that, because a pair of geese are not a pair of Aces, only the spiritual is real and the physical is not? I cannot
    • In my world, the spiritual and the physical are both real, but the difference between them is that “spiritual” is alive; the “physical” may or may not be alive. A pair of geese and a pair of Aces are both physical, but only the geese are alive; the Aces are not.
    • The fact that you believe that the pair of geese are alive and that the pair of aces are not, does not seem to me a really good reason for believing that only the pair of geese are real. What am I missing?
  • To recap, I say: the “spiritual” is “physical” and both the spiritual and the physical are real. But only the spiritual concrete thing is alive, whereas the concrete “physical” thing may or may not be alive. E.g. “a slave to sin” and “a righteous person” are both physical things, but the righteous person is more alive than a slave to sin.
  • Our separate histories are radically different. You say that you were raised in a household which was not religious. I was raised in households in which God was assumed daily and spoken about and addressed frequently.
1 Like

Just how “small” do you think an atom is? Not the “atom” of Dalton and mainstream science, but the true atom of Democritus and the Pythagoreans.

I agree. A map is an instantiated thing right along side and so in fact a part of the physical world. But as you say, what a map or model conveys about what it represents can never be as implicitly rich as reality itself - and it wouldn’t be of much use if it was. The purpose of a representational tool is to make it simpler to focus on the aspects of interest.

It occurs to me that the Bible could be thought of as a map of the sacred in narrative form. Of course it too is not as comprehensive as the sacred itself, something biblicists are prone to forget.

1 Like

I agree. However, it is my view that this is because that both camps attempt to extend science beyond what it is equipped to handle. Science, by definition, cannot address metaphysics, although it may extend the bounds of physics.


Sempiternity - “existence within time but infinitely into the future, as opposed to eternity, understood as existence outside time.”

Another definition has the notion of it being seemingly ceaseless. Such that no matter how far you venture down the hall of mirrors, there is another mirror.

I think an infinite progression better catches the sense in which it can go on forever, and catches the sense in which science is unable to tell if the universe is beginning where it is thought to be ending, or progressing where it is thought to be beginning.

God has made the universe knowable; we can study it and get good reliable results.

So He could have made it unknowable? We’re part of the universe.

A very good book on the nature of science is Nonsense on Stilts: How to tell Science from Bunk. The author is philosopher of science Massimo Pigliucci. It’s a most entertaining read!

1 Like


1 Like

So the view that superstition, religion and irrationalism should not simply be tolerated, instead, they should be countered, examined, and challenged by rational argument, especially when they exert strong influence on the broader society, such as in government, education, and politics, extends science beyond what it is equipped to handle?

And science, empiricism, as philosophy, is subsumed in metaphysics, and therefore as it extends the bounds of physics (with more physics, phusis, nature), it forms and informs metaphysics. And it continues to eliminate nonsense as it has for 400 years.

No. I’m not denying that YEC, ID and OEC attempt to introduce religion into science. Of course they attempt to introduce religion into science. But the whole point is that that shouldn’t be our primary concern. There are some things that religion should introduce into science, such as an insistence on the highest standards of honesty and integrity.

No, the whole point is that our primary concern should be when they attempt to introduce falsehood, misinformation and sloppy thinking into science. And if they’re doing that in the name of religion, then that should be a massive concern to all of us who take religious faith seriously.