Website: Studying the Word of God Authors: Brian K. McPherson and Scott McPherson

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Website: Studying the Word of God

Authors: Brian K. McPherson and Scott McPherson

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Evolution Study Outline

Section One

I.Introduction: Plotting the Road Ahead

A.In this study we will take a closer look at the debate between evolution and creationism concerning:

      1. the origin of the universe,

      2. the origin of life,

      3. and the origin of species.

B.The study will be broken down into a few main sections:

      1. Some of the common objections and perceptions in the origins debate to overcoming the initial entrenchment and gridlock that typically short-circuit the origins debate before it gets underway.

      2. Defining and establishing the actual competing theories in the origins debate, evolution and creation.

      3. Presentation of the evidence.

  1. The Origin of Theories

C.In science, all theories start with observation

ScienceScience covers the broad field of knowledge that deals with observed facts and the relationships among those factsScientists use systematic methods of study to make observations and collect facts. They then work to develop theories that help them order or unify related facts.” – Worldbook Encyclopedia, Contributor: Joseph W. Dauben, Ph.D., Professor of History and the History of Science, City University of New York.

Empiricisma philosophical approach that views experience as the most important source of knowledge. It is the philosophical outlook of most scientists. Empiricists try to answer as many questions as possible by using information gathered by the senses.” – Worldbook Encyclopedia, Contributor: W. W. Bartley, III, Ph.D., Former Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace, Stanford University.

Scientific theory – In attempting to explain things and events, the scientist employs (1) careful observation or experiments, (2) reports of regularities, and (3) systematic explanatory schemes (theories). The statements of regularities, if accurate, may be taken as empirical laws expressing continuing relationships among the things or characteristics observed. Thus, when empirical laws are able to satisfy curiosity by uncovering an orderliness in the behaviour of things or events, the scientist may advance a systematic scheme, or scientific theory, to provide an accepted explanation of why these laws obtain.” –
Science, philosophy of, Elements of scientific enterprise – From the beginning, scientists themselves have been interested not merely in cataloging and describing the world of nature as they find it but in making the workings of nature intelligible with the help of compact and organized theories…Empirical data and their theoretical interpretation – First are the empirical elements. The task of science is to explain actual events, processes, or phenomena in nature…those empirical facts…On the one hand, the facts in question may be discovered by using observational methods –

D.In order to maintain clarity, we must be able to distinguish the observations, the empirical data or evidence, from the theory that attempts to explain them

II.Evidence and Interpretation

A.An indispensable element that often goes overlooked in debates is…

i.The ability to discern between evidence and a particular interpretation of that evidence

ii.The ability to discern between the observed data and the various theories explaining that data

iii.In origins debates, both views are, in fact, looking at and utilizing the same evidence

I.It is not the case that evolutionists are looking at one set of empirical data while creationists are looking at an entirely different set of empirical data

II.The empirical data doesn’t change

III.It’s only the interpretation of that data that differs

a.(This is why it is so important to let the data, the empirical evidence, speak.)

B.There are only 3 ways to disprove any given interpretation

i.First, either a single, decisive piece of evidence or, perhaps more usually, a combination of evidences can be shown to be incompatible with a particular interpretation

ii.Second, if more evidence is shown to rationally lean toward an alternative explanation, then an interpretation is generally considered to be defeated

iii.Third, a particular interpretation can be disproved if it is shown to be irreparably self-contradicting in its various components.

C.Characterization and Mischaracterization through Biased Language

i.In debates, language, adjectives, and adverbs used by a particular side to describe or characterize the evidence can become synonymous with the evidence itself

ii.Distinguishing between evidence and the presuppositions of one interpretation also requires the ability to distinguish between the stark characteristics of the evidence itself and the characterizations that a particular side would like to ascribe to that evidence.

I.Section Two – Preliminary Application to the Origins Debate

D.Should creationism be disqualified on the grounds that it results from unscientific processes?

E.Premature Dismissal in the Origins Debate: Is Faith Unscientific? (Part 1)

i.3 basic suggested reasons for dismissing creationism from scientific consideration.

I.Dismissing creationism on the grounds that it is based upon presupposition, “blind faith,” and not upon evidence such as observation and experimentation, as science should be.

II.Dismissing creationism on the grounds that it is un-falsifiable.

III.Dismissing creationism on the grounds that it does not make predictions, which is a central part of the scientific process.

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