googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: Are creationists arrogant? A review of King Crocoduck's series: Part 4

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Are creationists arrogant? A review of King Crocoduck's series: Part 4



King Crocoduck (abbreviated here as, KC) begins his 4th video with this thought: “You know, the most remarkable thing about science is that it works.” What follows is a 9 minute diatribe about how it is only through science that we can learn about reality. I laughed out loud at 58 seconds into the video where he says, “Science works. Hate the method for being so rigorous – hate the conclusions for not conforming to your expectations – but do NOT deny its power!” He sounds like a super-villain.

At one point, KC says, “Theology and philosophy simply cannot compete with science if the goal is to construct accurate models of reality.” It's textbook scientism. PBS.org defines scientism this way:

Unlike the use of the scientific method as only one mode of reaching knowledge, scientism claims that science alone can render truth about the world and reality. Scientism's single-minded adherence to only the empirical, or testable, makes it a strictly scientifc worldview, in much the same way that a Protestant fundamentalism that rejects science can be seen as a strictly religious worldview. Scientism sees it necessary to do away with most, if not all, metaphysical, philosophical, and religious claims, as the truths they proclaim cannot be apprehended by the scientific method. In essence, scientism sees science as the absolute and only justifiable access to the truth.

Yep, that's KC to a tee! PBS is not a religion-friendly source and I disagree with their characterization that fundamental Protestants reject science but, I must say, I find their comparison of people like KC to religious zealots somewhat hilarious. I doubt KC would accept that label but, if the shoe fits, he should wear it.

KC's worldview suffers from many flaws, many of which I've written about before.  I can't cover them all again now but I will touch on some of the most obvious difficulties. Take morality, for example. Is there really such a thing as morality? Certainly the universe doesn't care what we do. Science can only describe what happens but can't say if a thing is right or wrong. What some might call “murder” is just one animal killing another. It happens all the time in nature and it's no more wrong than an apple falling from a tree. Theology and philosophy are far better tools for examining the reality of good and evil.

Science is also limited when examining history. Pick any person from history and try to prove – scientifically – that he really lived. The best evidence we have for people or events of antiquity is what has been written down about them. The evidence we have for the life, miracles, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus is the same type of evidence we have for Columbus having sailed to the Americas.

Speaking of miracles, scientism is also at a disadvantage when examining miracles. At about 6:27 in the video, KC says, “The bottom line is this: scientists don't interpret evidence in a manner that fits an a priori conclusion.” KC is wrong. Secular scientists do have a bias – an a priori commitment to naturalism. Consider this quote from Scientific American Magazine which I've cited on my blog before:

Creation science” is a contradiction in terms. A central tenet of modern science is methodological naturalism--it seeks to explain the universe purely in terms of observed or testable natural mechanisms.

Now, there is no scientific reason to believe every phenomenon must have a natural cause. It's an assumption – a tenet that cannot be observed anywhere in the universe. So, if a miracle has occurred in reality, KC would have to deny it happened on no grounds other than his religious-like faith in scientism.

When it comes to interpreting the evidence, KC asserts, “I'm sorry, creationists, but we are not standing on even grounds. Not even close.” KC resorts to a typical tactic used by evolutionists which is to claim dibs on the evidence. He rattles off a bunch of items as though it's evidence only for his theories. One item on his list, for example, is “observed speciation events.” It's true that speciation happens. However, it's a lie to suggest that only evolution can account for speciation. Speciation is a critical part of the creation model. In fact, creationists are often chided with claims that a few thousand years is not enough time for speciation to happen. When we have observed speciation events, it's evidence that speciation can happen quickly – just as predicted by creationists. Furthermore, the speciation we observe are usually examples of the re-sorting of already existing traits via natural selection. It is not the trait-adding sort of change required for evolution.

The worst thing about scientism, though, is that it retards critical thinking. Skepticism is supposed to be at the heart of scientific inquiry. Once a majority of scientists accept any particular conclusion, it becomes, “settled science.” Any expression of doubt about the conclusion is met with ridicule, insults, and the label of being a “science denier.” This brings me back to the same point I made in my introduction to this series; KC is defining arrogance to mean disagreeing with the majority of scientists on the secular theories of origins. It's a blatant appeal to authority: “we're scientists – if you disagree with what we say, you're an idiot.”

Finally, KC conflates the theories of the Big Bang and evolution with all of science. In other words, because we've used “science” to eradicate small pox and put men on the moon, we must also believe in evolution and the Big Bang. At about 1:23, KC says this overtly, “The method that allows you to watch this video and hear my voice, is the same method that has been used to construct the theories that creationists deny. That these other theories have not had as much of an impact on our day to day activities as quantum theory or germ theory have, is irrelevant.” Let me say, quickly, that it's no small point that evolution has no impact on our daily lives. It's a trivial pursuit that is a huge waste of our resources and a waste of students' time in school. What's more concerning here, though, is how KC seems to link me watching his videos as evidence that men and apes have a common ancestor because it's the same scientific method that discovered both! You can see how that doesn't quite work.

Merriam-Webster defines arrogant as, “1. exaggerating or disposed to exaggerate one's own worth or importance often by an overbearing manner. 2. showing an offensive attitude of superiority : proceeding from or characterized by arrogance.” Now, honestly, isn't that exactly how KC sounds in this series? I think that devotees of scientism are most arrogant people I've ever met. Perhaps I should do a video series on that!

4 comments:

Josue Cruz-Perez said...

Another thing science can't necessarily prove is History. Let's say the starvation that happened in Jamestown of what is now Virginia. Which scientific method can you apply other than reading the reports of what a few people said it happened?

Steven J. said...

Science is also limited when examining history. Pick any person from history and try to prove – scientifically – that he really lived. The best evidence we have for people or events of antiquity is what has been written down about them.

Science doesn't do proof; it does best inference from consilience of evidence. I note, though, that many claims about history can be tested by archaeology -- examination of graves, ruins, artifacts, etc. rather than of written documents. Written documents provide evidence not available from these other sources, true -- but it can also contain mistakes, or lies, or be misinterpreted. It's quite routine for historians to doubt the accuracy of written texts.

Now, there is no scientific reason to believe every phenomenon must have a natural cause. It's an assumption – a tenet that cannot be observed anywhere in the universe. So, if a miracle has occurred in reality, KC would have to deny it happened on no grounds other than his religious-like faith in scientism.

David Hume would be proud of you (see: "problem of induction"). But methodological naturalism is not quite an assertion that supernatural causes cannot occur. Rather, it is the assertion that [a] we can't tell the difference between a supernatural cause and an unknown natural cause (this was one of Hume's reasons for rejecting supernatural explanations despite the problem of induction) and [b] we can't test hypotheses about supernatural causes (because by definition a supernatural cause might have any effects and therefore no set of observations can disconfirm or falsify it). It might always be the case that a theory might attribute some phenomenon to the wrong cause, and that later observations might support attributing it to a different cause -- but if we can understand and predict the effects of that new cause well enough to test for it, it is by definition a "natural" (i.e. having a knowable, testable nature) cause.

Now, in principle, creation science could make all sorts of testable predictions: we might not be able to tell that God spoke the world into existence ca. 4004 BC, but we could, e.g. determine by radiometric testing that no rocks are more than six thousand years old, or by stratigraphic examination that horses, bears, and humans lived alongside T. rex and Stegosaurus stenops (who did not live alongside each other). Instead, "creation science" is an excuse-generating machine for why we don't, in fact, observe these expected consequences of a recent creation. That is why it is not science -- not just that it wants to fill in gaps with miracles, but that it wants to erase actual data and fill in the erasures with yet more miracles -- positing miracles not mentioned in the Bible to explain why we don't see vestiges of the miracles actually mentioned in the Bible.

Theology and philosophy are far better tools for examining the reality of good and evil.

Assuming your conclusions and burning dissidents at the stake is not really an investigative technique; theology can give you answers but offers no reason other than fear of torture or death to conclude that they're close to the right answers.

RKBentley said...

Josue,

It's great hearing from you. You're absolutely right about science's inadequacy in studying history. KC is talking about using science to construct accurate models of “reality.” That's a pretty tall order because reality includes EVERYTHING including history. If Jesus walked on water, fed the multitude, healed the sick, and rose from the dead, that's reality even if we can't study it scientifically.

I'm less interested in studying things scientifically and more interested in learning what is true. I will use whatever tools God has given me to learn the truth. Science is only one tool.

Thanks for your comments. God bless!!

RKBentley

RKBentley said...

Steven J,

You said, “Science doesn't do proof; it does best inference from consilience of evidence.”

Technically, a thing can't be scientifically proven true but it can be proven false but I understand what you're saying. You've brought up a point that I have been meaning to talk about: Why do militant evolutionists simultaneously brag that science is self-correcting and open to falsification while on the other hand are so convinced they can't possibly be wrong about evolution or the Big Bang? When pressed, they will admit evolution isn't “proven” but they still talk about it like it is.

You said, ''But methodological naturalism is not quite an assertion that supernatural causes cannot occur.”

Perhaps not but if a miracle has occurred, you know that it is either assigned a natural caused or dismissed as myth because folks like Bill Nye refuse to acknowledge any possibility of a miracle. I've cited enough of Nye's quotes that you know I'm right.

I'm reminded, too, that it's only because we understand how the world works that we recognize when a miracle occurs. When Joseph was planning on divorcing Mary, it was because he understood how women get pregnant. He assumed a natural explanation until the miracle was revealed to him in a dream.

Jesus used miracles to prove the authority of what He said. Anyone could say, “I am the resurrection and the life.” However, He proved it by raising Lazarus from the dead. When a sick person dies, is buried in a tomb for four days without food or water, whose body has already begun to decompose, yet then comes back to life, a miracle has occurred!

I'm sorry I can't get to more of your points. I'm also planning on getting back to your comments on post 3 in this series but I'm not sure when. My wife and I just bought a new house and have moved. We still have a lot of boxes to unpack and the usual stuff to do around the house. What's more, my wife is a teacher so it's back to school time as well. Busy busy busy.

Thanks for your comments. God bless!!

RKBentley