googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: Does “Science” Contradict the Bible?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Does “Science” Contradict the Bible?

I'm approaching the 7th year of my blogging career (my first post was October 19, 2007) but my online “ministry” of apologetics goes back way before that. I remember getting my first computer when my now 21 year old daughter was just a baby and began debating people live in AOL chat rooms. But enough reminiscing; I'm getting to a point. I'm not sure when it happened, exactly, but there came a time when I stopped hearing original arguments from evolutionists. It was just the same, tired canards being repeated over and over.

I'm a fairly bright guy. I'm also usually realistic about my own importance. It's not like I'm the mouthpiece for all things conservative nor all things biblical. But sometimes I get frustrated when people bring up arguments to me that I've already discussed many times on my blog before. There's this instinct in me that says, “Why are you bringing this up? I've already answered that.” It's as though I feel like, once I've said something on any particular point, no one is allowed to bring it up to me anymore. Weird, huh? Alas, it isn't so. No matter how many times I address a certain issue, I'm certain to hear it used by evolutionists again in the future. By necessity, then, I have to repeat points I've already made before. I'm sorry to everyone who has heard me say these things already.

One of the most annoying and oft repeated canards I hear from evolutionists is how “science” has proved creation is wrong or if I don't believe evolution then I'm against “science.” This has to rank as perhaps the laziest argument used by evolutionists. It is so full of fallacies that evolutionists should be too embarrassed to ever utter those words. Yet they do repeat them and so they force me to repeat my response.

First off, comments like this reek of conflation. The theory of descent of all biodiversity from a common ancestor is a theory in the discipline of biology. It's a small part of science. When these people say “science” they mean “evolution” as though the words are synonyms. It's shameful. Likewise, if I don't believe the theory of evolution, I'm accused of hating “science” - as though all of science is represented by evolution.

When I point out to people who make this argument that the term “evolution” isn't the same thing as “science,” their correct response should be to reword their argument. However, this is never the case. Instead, they sort of double down on their assertion. They say that the theory of evolution is supported by the scientific method, therefore, it is supported by all of science. They next throw out a long list of terms like geology, chemistry, dendrochronology, trigonometry, anthropology, astronomy, physics, gravity (yes, I've even heard them say gravity), radiometric dating, blah, blah, blah, and again say that all of science supports evolution. They are never careful to distinguish between a single theory in biology and all of science. They always conflate the two as though they are the same thing. Have they no shame?

Besides the error of conflation, comments such as these are also examples of a sweeping generalization. That is, they act as though science is a single body of thought and all of science unanimously disagrees with the Bible (creation in particular). There are many scientists who are creationists and who see no conflict at all between the observed world and the Bible. They are practicing scientists with degrees in their respective fields from reputable universities. So the broad term of “science” should necessarily include them but obviously they don't disagree with the Bible. Also, many fields of science are silent on the veracity of the Bible so neither should they be included in the assertion that “science” disagrees with the Bible. And in the field of evolutionary biology, there is seldom 100% agreement on every point of the theory. Yet hasty comments like, “science has proved the Bible wrong” gives the false impression that all of science stands against the Bible.

Lastly, these comments are also blatant examples of reification. Reification is a logical fallacy where people personify inanimate things or abstract ideas. An example of this would be, “the rocks say the earth is 4 billion years old.” Well, the rocks don't really say anything because rocks can't speak. It's the scientists who study the rocks who are saying the earth is 4 billion years old. Likewise, “science” doesn't say anything about the Bible. “Science” doesn't say anything because science isn't a sentient being and has neither a mind nor a voice. Instead, there are some secular scientists who say the Bible is wrong but, as we've already seen, they don't speak for all of science.


I should conclude by saying something like, “Evolutionists should stop making these comments because it just embarrasses them.” However, I know they won't stop. I've heard it a hundred times before and will probably hear it a thousand times more. At least I can say I've shown how silly such statements are. Let them be embarrassed.

8 comments:

Lu MontyZ said...

Excellent reminder about reification, keep up the good work!

Carvin said...

Here's the thing. Nothing is wrong with poetic speech. Saying 'the rocks say that the Earth is at least 4.4 billion years old' is not significantly poetic. There are indeed rocks that show radioactive decay evidence that calculate the age of the earth as at least 4.4 billion years old. Here's a cool video on how rocks 'say' this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSau4HTNjkE

You may get some atheists that will put science as a body that opposes religion, but most in the scientific community know that at best it is the other way around. Science has no comment on the unobservable- that is, the super natural, the spiritual, and religion in general. If a religion makes a claim in the realm of science (The earth is 6k years old) it can contradict that particular claim to the best that evidence so exists. Or support it, for that matter. Like how evidence now exists that we live on a spherical(ish) planet rather than a flat plane. And we spin around the sun, not the other way around. These things contradict what scripture says, if we take them literally, but we've since chosen to adapt to what we know about cosmology.

Hmm... I feel like I'm getting rambly. I honestly am unsure what this complaint of semantics would prove. It seems a bit of a red herring. So it's difficult to really contend the point concisely.

RKBentley said...

The problem with a comment like, "The rocks say the earth is 4 billion years old" is that it gives the impression that if I disagree, then I am in disagreement with the "facts" or the "evidence." I'm not is disagreement with either. I'm in disagreement with the SCIENTISTS who say the earth is 4 billion years old. The rocks, the facts, and the evidence don't say anything!

Poetic speech is fine in literature. It's misleading when you're talking about science.

God bless!!

RKBentley

Carvin said...

I can't see how you can disagree with one and not the other. Take the data presented in the video I gave.

Zircon should not include lead. Lead shouldn't be in it's atomic structure. Uranium can slip in for the zirconium, though, and uranium can become lead with decay over a long time. We can extrapolate data of the amount of lead in zircon to know how long the mineral has existed, as is, with confidence. One such example of zircon from Western Australia has enough lead in it that the extrapolation indicates that it is at least 4.4 billion years old.

Is this something that we should just ignore? The lead didn't get there by accident, and we can observe the process that makes it happen and the rate it happens. What is science for if we just ignore the data around us?

RKBentley said...

You're changing the subject and doing the very thing I said you do: you are saying that if I disagree with your conclusion, then I disagree with the "evidence."

The evidence doesn't say anything. Our theories seek to explain the evidence. Therefore, it's the explanation offered by evolutionists that I disagree with. I am not arguing with the rocks.

Carvin said...

For the record, this response assumes 'our theories' refers to creationist theories, but for the record you did not make that perfectly clear.

To start off, creationists do not have theories. No model put forth qualifies as such. But what you are talking about is hypothesis.

For the record, the creationist hypothesis doesn't explain the lead levels in the zircon.

In the words of my father 'I give you six inches and you say you wanted half a foot'. Complain on how I'm saying it, fine. That doesn't somehow legitimize ignoring research. Unless you can contradict the conclusion, I don't think it matter how I say it.

RKBentley said...

Carvin,

"Our" theories means mine and yours. We see a world, filled with fossils, buried in rock layers, laid down by water, all over the earth, and we both seek to explain how they got there.

For the record, long age theories fail to explain the levels of radioactive elements in rocks because they cannot accurately predict the age of rocks of known ages. Radiometric dating of rocks created at Mt St Helens returned a geological age of millions of years.

Your theory also fails to explain why diamonds, supposedly hundreds of millions of years old, still have detectable levels of carbon-14 which should have been completely gone in only 100,000 years.

Your side ignores the evidence. In this case, they completely ignore the conflicting dates returned by scientific dating methods. They do not seek to adjust their theory to accommodate the evidence; they invariably damn the evidence saying it was tainted by incompetent creationists.

God bless!!

RKBentley

Carvin said...

You are talking about minor outliers. All endeavors are prone to errors at some time. There are a few hundred odd results from radiometric dating out of the hundreds of thousands that have been performed. Radiometric dating is well established for a reason: it is consistent, reliable and founded on observable axiom. This is basic statistical analysis here.