Creationism and methods of Science

Discussions on the philosophical foundations, assumptions, and implications of science, including the natural sciences.

Creationism and methods of Science

Postby hyksos on June 19th, 2017, 2:17 am 

This forum is currently an active sounding board for a user whose screen name will not be mentioned - nor will his active threads be linked here. It is unlikely that this person will be able to establish, nor present evidence for, a conspiracy among working scientists to censor creationist worldviews, or who actively promote theories which favor naturalism, because they favor naturalism ideologically. While scientists are human beings, and not robots or computers, they will have ideologies, and those ideologies may effect their choice of one theory over another. This is very unlikely due to the way in which scientific papers are published, but the idea has some lingering merit to it.

Nevertheless, it is definitely not true that there is an above-ground or below-ground conspiracy among academics to quiet, censor, demote or "kick out noisome undesirables".

While it is unlikely that this user will establish the existence of an underground atheist cult operating on the margins of universities, the user may instead present evidence that the culture-at-large is doing this, mostly through the mechanisms of the courts. I don't know the country of origin of this user, but he may present evidence of the over-turning of creationist-flavored laws in the United States relating to the teaching of evolution in public schools. He would then point at this as corroborating his conspiracy of a hidden web of secularists and atheists actively engaged in censorship.

The purpose of this thread is to cut this user off at the pass -- before he even tries it. The way I will do this is to point the reader's attention to the actual proceedings and holdings of the courts, magistrates, and judges involved in these cases.

(As many people may be superficially aware) Certain laws school curricula or textbooks about evolution were struck down in states such as Tennessee , Arkansas, and Louisiana. A rough conversational synopsis would say that the reason was "Creationism is not science". The aforementioned forum user is attacking this conversational synopsis, by his rather lengthy attempts at showing that nobody on this forum can produce what he calls an "adequate definition" of the Scientific Method. His reasoning is that because the "scientific method" cannot be defined to his satisfaction, that therefore the sentence "Creationism is not science" has no meaning. His further pleas to the forum indicate that he believes we agree with him, and that a vast conspiracy of secular godless ideology must be at work instead. In short, creationism is intentionally kicked out, silenced, and censored solely on ideological grounds. "It's not science" is a ruse.

William Overton was the US District Court Judge for the Eastern District of Arkansas.{1} In 1982, he resolved a case over an "equal time" law about teaching evolution in schools.

McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education
The 1982 case presided by Distruct Judge Overton was `McLean versus Arkansas.`{2} For better or worse, this is what wikipedia writes :
Judge William Overton handed down a decision on January 5, 1982, giving a clear, specific definition of science as a basis for ruling that creation science is religion and is simply not science.


For a court case, there are various writings including supporting opinions and dissenting opinions. These are often, but not always submitted into the record. There is also another record, written by the presiding judge, which is called the the Court's Holding. Unlike opinions, soundbites and TV interviews, the HOLDING is submitted into the official record of the case in the state's judicial archive. The HOLDING often appears in the record with the word "Held:" and a colon to its right side. In any given official record, various previous holdings of other courts are mentioned. Sometimes it just says, "The such-and-such court held that:"

The quotation below was not dredged from a TV interview with District Judge Overton. Nor is the "dissenting opinion" in a supreme court case. This is literally the court's holding in the official state archive of Arkansas.{3}
district_jdg_overton_scientific.png


The above holding is legally binding in Arkansas. Philosophers of science will recognize that what Judge Overton is referring to here is called `falsification.` It was the holding of the court that the advocates of Creation Science were presenting a premade conclusion, and never relenting from it even in the face of evidence which falsifies it.

This sciencechatforum may not be able to produce a "perfectly satisfying and adequate" definition of the Scientific Method, it is not as if we have an empty basket on this topic. At the very least, we know this : If a person holds onto a conclusion while presented with a table of evidence stacked to the ceiling which contradicts and falsifies that conclusion, we can call their method by any name -- but we can never refer to their method as Science.

So we have that.

A person may claim that while the District Court Judge of Arkansas declared that "Creation Science" was not science, that judge was then further unable to give any adequate definition of "science". That person would be lying.

What happens next is that we are presented with the lingering idea that if creationism is "kicked out" of schools, then therefore also should be the theory of evolution kicked out of schools. For excluding one while not the other would constitute a willful act of indoctrination of a particular worldview into the student body. In the least that would appear inconsistent, in the worst, such action would constitute a violation of the Separation Clause of the constitution. Fundamentalist parents of children attending the schools could claim indoctrination before a court.

That argument can be cut-off-at-the-pass as well. That issue is resolved by recognizing the difference between Metaphysical Naturalism versus Methodological Naturalism. These are topics which I have covered and discussed in elaborate detail in a collection of threads on this forum, and elsewhere.{4} In addition to discussion, I have also included copious links and corridors to outside information on these topics for the interested reader.
Last edited by hyksos on June 19th, 2017, 2:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Creationism and methods of Science

Postby hyksos on June 19th, 2017, 2:23 am 

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