googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: August 2017

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!