“Science – Science covers the broad field of knowledge that deals with observed facts and the relationships among those facts…Scientists 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.
“Empiricism – a 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.” – Britannica.com
“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…” – Britannica.com
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
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.