Thursday, March 16, 2017

Can Creation Scientists do Real Science?

You might be surprised by my answer, which is 'Yes!', but with certain qualifications.  This is something I have said before, and believe it to be true.  Just because you have a particular religious tradition does not disqualify you from being a 'real' scientist.  It's not your belief set that may disqualify you, but the application of that belief set.

OK, let me clear that up a bit.  In a recent post little kennie ham whined that his pet stable of creation scientists weren't being taken seriously as scientists "Can Creation Scientists Do Real Science?"  Little kennie quoted one of his pet 'scientists, Danny Faulkner, who brought up the fact that Issac Newton was a theist.  Danny said:

"The person who literally wrote the book on physics and astronomy, and who invented calculus, was Sir Isaac Newton. And he wrote ten times more on theology and the Bible than he did on math and science. So if you are going to take that approach, you just kicked one of the greatest scientists of all time to the curb because he can’t be a scientist."
First of all, there is a subtle lie in Danny's comment.  Where is it said that someone who believes in any religious tradition cannot be a scientist?  It isn't!  That's a straw-man that folks like Danny and little kennie like to parade out regularly.  If you think it is carved in stone somewhere, tell me something . . . where is Newton's theology in his discoveries in physics and astronomy?  Even looking at calculus, where is the theology?  It isn't there, is it?  Newton is a prime example of a theist who refused to be blinded by his religious beliefs.

Like I said, this topic comes up often, just a couple of years ago little kennie also had this post, "A Renowned Creation Scientist, Inventor of MRI".  Basically he was bragging about a Creationist who does science.  I had a question for kennie then, and it's the same question as now:  "Just where in the scientific work of Raymond Damadian (he's the Creation Scientist kennie was bragging about)  do you see where God enters the process?"

I know little kennie misses my point, but hopefully you don't.  Whether you believe in one religious tradition or another doesn't matter when it comes to science.  Because at no point in actual scientific work do you use the concept of a deity.  Newton didn't, Damadian didn't either.  Whatever religious beliefs any scientist has does not become part of their scientific work.  If you disagree, show me where in the actual science does God do a part?  You cannot find what isn't there!

I know, little kennie will misdirect and say things like 'God's handiwork is present when two chemicals combine, or when gravity does this, or when fires are lit -- it's all part of God's Plan.  That's what is called a 'Rationalization', and while kennie will never admit it, the reality is that is nothing more than a rationalization.  Little kennie, and the like, want so desperately to see, to invoke, and pay homage to their deity that their rationalization is an absolute requirement.  They claim many things, but when you look at the science, you don't see the application of their religious beliefs.

When I see the handle of a 'creation scientist', I am not think about Newton, but someone much more like Answers in Genesis (AiG)'s Faulkner or the Institute for Creation Research (ICR)'s Jason Lisle. While they have the same education as others in their field, they filter everything through their religious beliefs.  Creation scientists, like them, share certain traits that people like Newton and Damadian did not.  Folks like Faulkner and Lisle start their work with their religion, filter everything through their religion, and form their results based on their religion.  That is not the hallmark of a scientist!

The first thing is how much science gets dismissed by them.  For example they start with the presumption that the Earth is 6,000 years old, so when faced with any evidence it's older, they deny, prevaricate, and rationalize.  They 'know' the age of the Earth, so nothing can interfere with that belief.  This is what allows them to say things like "it's the same evidence, just different results" when faced with radiometric dating which concludes that the Earth is not 6,000 years old.

When faced with the speed of light, creation scientists come to the conclusion that the speed of light isn't the same everywhere or throughout history.  In fact one quote from Lisle:
"creation was supernatural, therefore cannot be understood scientifically" (You Tube:  Jason Lisle)
Regardless of the fact there is no evidence to support their conclusions, they glue themselves to the rationalizations because of their religious beliefs. When pushed they fall onto things like the above quote.  That is the hallmark of a 'Creation Scientist', not the fact they have a theistic belief set, but that belief set contaminates their efforts at science.

It doesn't matter what discoveries are made, they twist and rationalize an explanation to either force it into their religious view, or they ignore it completely.  When faced with criticisms, they pull the conspiracy card out, claiming they are being discriminated against, that schools refuse to recognize their 'scientific work' in awarding degrees and research funding.  However . . .

Both Danny Faulkner and Jason Lisle are also examples that contradict such an assertion.  Here's a quote from Lisle's bio from the RationalWiki:
"Although some creationists claim that a creationist would be unable to earn an advanced degree from a secular university because of institutional prejudice against their beliefs, Lisle's academic progress was not hindered by his creationism. While members of his Master's thesis and Ph.D.dissertation committees might have been aware of his young Earth beliefs, their evaluation of his work was based on his research and not his personal beliefs." (RationalWiki: Jason Lisle)
Faulkner has degrees from Clemson and Indiana University and even taught for a while at the University of South Carolina.  That is proof that it's not personal beliefs that cause problems being a scientist, but it's the application of those beliefs that can cause you to be labeled a 'Creation Scientist' and, as a result, not be taken seriously as a scientist. 

Even working in a  place like AiG or ICR you can continue to perform actual science, but  . . . when you submit to actual scientific journals, if your work is steeped in your religious beliefs, it will more than likely be dismissed . . . as it should be.  Besides, imagine if Danny Faulkner tried to publish something that contradicted his boss' religious belief set!  Don't forget who owns AiG, little kennie ham, and don't forget you have to sign a Statement of Faith that basically tells you to suspend rational thought and buy into the belief set or go home.  I don't believe that Danny will ever make a discovery that will contradict his beliefs, he won't allow himself that much freedom of thought.   Remember what happened to Wild Bill Dembski when his bosses, at the time, thought he was contradicting the Bible?  He was an actual casualty of these cultural wars, not an imagined one.

Going back to my original question, where in all of Newton's science and mathematical work do you find preconceptions formed by his religious beliefs?  You don't!  When a scientist starts with a set of per-conditions that causes them to reject evidence, they tend to not be scientists for much longer.  To paraphrase Dembski, 'Theological Correctness' is much more highly regarded than science in such Evangelical circles like AiG and ICR.

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