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Feedback from August 1999
© 2005-2007 T. Wallace. All Rights Reserved.


From: John Hoppner

Hello, I read you article Five Major Evolutionist Misconceptions about Evolution. In your first paragraph you state, “But they [evolutionists] haven’t come close to demonstrating evolutionism to be more than an ever-changing theory with a highly questionable and unscientific basis.” In your second paragraph you say that Evolutionists work hard to counter the five propositions “with no genuine success, because they are based on empirical scientific data and/or scientific laws.” Then in the third paragraph you say that your explanations of the why the five propositions are correct are “much more scientifically accurate”.

Before I can objectively continue reading your article without prejudice, would you answer the following questions:

1. What is your definition of science?
2. What is the unscientific basis for evolution?
3 How can your explanations be more scientifically accurate without the use of empirical scientific data and/or scientific laws?

Thank-you.


Response from Timothy Wallace:

>> Before I can objectively continue reading your article without prejudice, would you answer the following questions:

1. What is your definition of science? <<

In a word, “knowledge” (that’s what the word ‘science’ means). Specifically, in modern terms it is knowledge gained from using the five senses in the application of the elements of the scientific method, which involves repetition, observation, and measurement.

For example, using this process we can safely say we “know” (i.e., it is a scientifically established fact) that water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and that water boils (at sea level) at 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

>> 2. What is the unscientific basis for evolution? <<

Rather than answer this question by defining an “unscientific basis for evolution,” I would say that although much empirical data CAN easily be interpreted so as to support evolutionary assumptions, there is also much empirical data that CANNOT easily be interpreted to do so. Furthermore, that certain data CAN be interpreted in support of the evolutionary paradigm does not ipso facto mean that such data MUST be interpreted in such a way—especially when it CAN be easily interpreted in another way.

When certain vocal popularizers of evolution talk of “overwhelming evidence” that “proves” or supports evolution, they are making an unscientific claim. It is not the evidence that is overwhelming, but the interpretation of it. And the proponents of evolution themselves (who are already predisposed towards an evolutionary interpretation) are invariably the ones who are “overwhelmed” by such evidence, as interpreted to suit what is already their preference.

Science isn’t simply about amassing data, interpreting it to fit one’s presuppositions or theory, and then claiming “scientific” knowledge on the basis of the same, while ignoring the data that contradicts one’s presuppositions or theory, and ignoring alternative paradigms on the grounds that they don’t fit one’s presuppositions or theory.

>> 3 How can your explanations be more scientifically accurate without the use of empirical scientific data and/or scientific laws? <<

Your question contains a false assumption: The creationary interpretation is applied to precisely the same empirical data and the same scientific laws as any other interpretation. At issue isn’t whether the creationary interpretations are more or less accurate WITHOUT that data or those laws, but that BOTH of the two interpretations fits the SAME data and laws, necessitation an objective examination to determine WHICH of the two interpretations fits more those data and laws with the greatest ease.

Kind Regards,
TW


Response from John Hoppner:

Hi, Thank you for your response,

I would tend to agree with your definition of science. I would also include in the elements of the scientific method; discussion, hypothesis and conclusion.

Can I assume from your response to my question #2 that you would agree that the theory of evolution is then a valid scientific theory?

I do have more questions in response to your response in question #2:

4. What is the difference between an evolutionist and a scientist?
5. Who are the “certain vocal popularizers of evolution” that you say interpret data to fit there own presuppositions?
6. What organizations of science would you say are credible? (For example: Universities, Societies, Associations, Academies, ect.)

If I may restate question #3 from what I understand in your response. You say creationism and evolution interpret the same data and natural laws. How does creationism better interpret the data with greater ease than evolution?

Thank you for your time.


Response from Timothy Wallace:

>> Can I assume from your response to my question #2 that you would agree that the theory of evolution is then a valid scientific theory? <<

a) In the sense that SOME empirical data (gathered by the scientific method [observation, repetition, measurement]) CAN be marshaled and interpreted to implicitly support the concept, perhaps.

b) In the sense that NONE of the empirical data MUST (unequivocally) be so interpreted; in the sense that MUCH of the empirical data explicitly does NOT support the concept; and in the sense that the conceptual process itself is wholly beyond the scope of the scientific method (observation, repetition, measurement), no.

>> 4. What is the difference between an evolutionist and a scientist? <<

An evolutionist is someone who believes in evolution, who views things in general through a framework of interpretation that presupposes evolution. Some evolutionists are scientists, while others are not.

A scientist is someone who studies and/or practices matters of empirical knowledge in association with the scientific method (observation, repetition, measurement), and or who studies and/or practices matters of theory based on that empirical knowledge. Scientists can be professionals or non-professionals (amateurs), and can work in a variety of fields. Some scientists are also evolutionists, while others are not.

>> 5. Who are the “certain vocal popularizers of evolution” that you say interpret data to fit there own presuppositions? <<

I can’t give you an exhaustive list by any means, but among the best-known of late have been Stephen J. Gould, Kenneth Miller, Isaac Asimov, Francisco Ayala, Michael Ruse, Douglas Futuyma, and Eugenie Scott. There are many, many others, some less vocal than others, but this short list should give you some idea.

>> 6. What organizations of science would you say are credible? (For example: Universities, Societies, Associations, Academies, ect.) <<

Whether you mean any such organizations in general or specifically, the answer is really the same: Those organizations which genuinely focus on empirical science. It wouldn’t necessarily be fair to label any given organization as ‘less-than-credible’ on account of one or two members or divisions that fail to meet that fundamental criterion.

On the other hand, an example of a distinctively less-than-credible organization is the so-called “National Center for Science Education” whose whole agenda is fostering evolutionism and not only opposing the idea of a creationary paradigm, but entering heavily into the arena of philosophy and religion, openly criticizing doctrines of biblical Christianity. The NCSE clearly has less to do with science education than with advancing and protecting an idealogical/political/philosophical agenda.

>> If I may restate question #3 from what I understand in your response. You say creationism and evolution... <<

I never say “creationism and evolution” and nor should you, if you want to communicate intelligibly and objectively. A word ending in -ism indicates an ideology, philosophy, or belief system. To keep your terms in the same class, it is only reasonable to say either “creationism and evolutionism” or “creation and evolution”—but to mix these two classes of terms is an error.

In any case you asked, in essence, how the empirical data of science better fit the creationary paradigm than the evolutionary paradigm. It might be interesting if you were to suggest a particular set of data or two, and explain how you understand those data fit the evolutionary paradigm. I can then respond with the creationary interpretation of the data (if there is one). This is not to put you on the defensive, and I am not expecting you to demonstrate anything approaching exhaustive knowledge of any particular field of science.

Other than the exercise suggested above, I recommend reading some of the literature available on precisely this topic. If you have some specific areas of interest, I can possibly suggest specific journals or books addressing the empirical data and/or laws typically associated with those areas.

Kind Regards,
TW


Response from John Hoppner:

I feel from reading your explanations, that your definitions of : Science, Scientific Method, and Scientific Theory are broader than mine. I didn’t know what would be a neutral reference on science to help me clear up my misunderstanding. That was the reason I asked about credibility of science organizations. Also I thought it more effective to address the evidence and its interpretation by referencing it specifically at the source rather than a second hand inferences that I may have read like textbooks and essays of both creationists and evolutionists. That is why I wondered who the “vocal popularizers” were. Biologists, Geologists, and Paleontologists (though not to exclude anybody else) and their publications that must find application of the theories in question to their specialty of scientific research would be my opinion.

My feeling of credible organizations would be: American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Geological Institute, National Academy of Sciences, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, American Institute of Biological Sciences, . I would include such journals as: Science, Nature, Scientific American, The Scientist. I would be open to suggestions for any of the resources you mentioned you would have.

I would be interested in how the creation paradigm explains the geological fossil record. It shows layers in the earth, one of which is found many species of trilobites in a layer called the cambrian. They continue to be found in successive layers after (above) up to the permian layer. In addition to the trilobites there are many other species that are found in specific layers, and not found in others. Another example is my favorite dinosaur Triceratops, it is only found in the cretaceous layer and no other. Likewise, there have been no human fossils found in that layer or preceding layers. It appears to be ordered in that there is a radiation of diversity going in the direction of the bottom layers to the top layers.

Thank you,
John


Response from Timothy Wallace:

>> I feel from reading your explanations, that your definitions of: Science, Scientific Method, and Scientific Theory are broader than mine. <<

I’m not sure how you mean that, particularly since you didn’t offer your own (less “broad”) definitions.

>> ...Also I thought it more effective to address the evidence and its interpretation by referencing it specifically at the source rather than a second hand inferences that I may have read like textbooks and essays of both creationists and evolutionists. <<

When possible, this makes sense. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that much science research is conducted by examining empirical data gathered from multiple sources. Second hand inferences aren’t necessarily inevitable in this process, though they are certainly available. Ideally, resources like textbooks and essays (when composed fairly) are still useful, no matter who wrote them. They’ll cite whatever relevant data (and sources) they are basing their conclusions on along with the presentation of their conclusions.

>> That is why I wondered who the “vocal popularizers” were. Biologists, Geologists, and Paleontologists (though not to exclude anybody else) and their publications that must find application of the theories in question to their specialty of scientific research would be my opinion. <<

Many of evolution’s best-known proponents do fall into these categories.

>> My feeling of credible organizations would be: American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Geological Institute, National Academy of Sciences, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, American Institute of Biological Sciences, . I would include such journals as: Science, Nature, Scientific American, The Scientist. I would be open to suggestions for any of the resources you mentioned you would have. <<

The organizations and publications you have cited certainly represent the lion’s share of the published empirical data and the majority of those involved in studying it. Unfortunately, they also represent a body of literature and organization that is largely dominated by the evolutionary paradigm. As long as that paradigm is the “accepted mainstream” framework to which the majority of such science authorities and editors adhere, they disqualify themselves from ever taking an unbiased approach to the alternative (creationary) paradigm.

The same empirical data and (sometimes) interpretations produced in the context of these organizations and publications is frequently the subject of much creationary study. (Since there is proportionally such a small number of creationary geologists, for example, they sometimes have no choice but to examine the empirical data produced and published from the field work of other (non-creationary) scientists.)

On the other hand, there are creationary organizations and publications. The Institute for Creation Research (ICR) is staffed with several scientists whose work is published by ICR and who serve in a graduate program for science students in a variety of specialties. The Creation Research Society (CRS) has several hundred voting members, all of whom have PhD or better degrees in their respective fields of science. Both their Creation Research Society Quarterly (CRSQ), and the Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal (CENTJ), published by Answers in Genesis, are peer-reviewed journals devoted to relating the empirical data to the creationary paradigm. There are other organizations and publications both in the U.S. and abroad, but these are the most widely known.

>> I would be interested in how the creation paradigm explains the geological fossil record... <<

The sequence you describe, while generally accurate, is also punctuated by occasional exceptions and/or anomalies in the record. It also overlooks the likelihood that a certain portion of sedimentary rock will be labeled “cretaceous” precisely because a Triceratops fossil is found in it, and not the other way around.

If we divest ourselves of evolutionary presuppositions and consider what sedimentary effects and evidence a global flood might leave behind, the fossil record happens to cooperate rather well -- exceptions and all. Only recently have paleontologists in general come to concede that fossils form almost exclusively in sudden, catastrophic conditions, rather than the slow, incremental burial scenarios often popularized in the past. The first type of organism one would expect to become entrapped in sediment would be aquatic bottom-dwellers, followed by other, less agile or robust aquatic specimens. The sequence would then progress, with some semblance of progression, through shore-dwellers to terrestrial creatures, again saving the most mobile for the upper portion of a given series of sediment layers.

Exceptions would be expected in such a sequence, since the entire globe would not have necessarily been covered in exactly the same manner, with exactly the same force of water and sediment, at exactly the same time.

It is noteworthy that David Raup (evolutionist geologist) had his own doubts about the strict sequence as popularized by both evolutionists and creationists in the following:

“One of the ironies of the evolution-creation debate is that the creationists have accepted the mistaken notion that the fossil record shows a detailed and orderly progression and they have gone to great lengths to accommodate this ‘fact’ in their Flood geology.”
[“Evolution and the Fossil Record,” Science, vol. 213 (July 17, 1981) p.289]

Kind Regards,
TW
 

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From: Murali Krishna Warier

Hi,
A small question. You have mentioned that Biblical creationism is the only alternative to evolution. If the author(s) (supposedly God himself) of Bible had been so endowed with scientific knowledge, why they failed to see the fact that the earth goes round the sun and not the other way round? It may be a conclusion difficult to arrive at for ancient men, but certainly not for an omniescient god

Regards,
M K Warier.


Response from Timothy Wallace:

>> You have mentioned that Biblical creationism is the only alternative to evolution. If the author(s) (supposedly God himself) of Bible had been so endowed with scientific knowledge, why they failed to see the fact that the earth goes round the sun and not the other way round? It may be a conclusion difficult to arrive at for ancient men, but certainly not for an omniescient god. <<

1) Where does the Bible state as absolute fact that the sun goes around the earth?

2) Knowledgeable men of science recognize that, while the geocentric view is no longer in use, it has not been ruled out by empirical science. The simpler interpretation (heliocentricity) is now the prevailing view because of its simplicity—not because any empirical data has “proven” it to be correct and/or “proven” the geocentric view to be false.

Bernhard Haisch, an astrophysicist at Lockheed Martin (one of several scientists who have recently raised challenges to certain aspects of Einstein’s relativity[!]) said, “The Ptolemaic system had great agreement with observation, too...” [Discover Magazine, August 1998]. He went on to imply that the basis for rejecting it was that “it was silly.” The term “silly” is a value judgement, and says nothing about the empirical data, which can still be interpreted in support of either geocentricity or heliocentricity. It so happens that, in accordance with the principle of Occam’s razor, heliocentricity has won the day (whether it happens to be the correct interpretation or not).

Kind Regards,
TW
 

[Mr. Warier declined to argue his claim any further. -TW]
 

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From: Frank Lovell

How did Timothy Wallace come to possess the colossal intellectual arrogance to write a review of Genie Scott’s review of Rob Pennock’s book THE TOWER OF BABEL without himself first having read Pennock’s book? Was it a Gift from God?

        —Frank Lovell


Response from Timothy Wallace:

>> How did Timothy Wallace come to possess the colossal intellectual arrogance to write a review of Genie Scott’s review of Rob Pennock’s book THE TOWER OF BABEL without himself first having read Pennock’s book? Was it a Gift from God? <<

It’s very telling that while my response to Scott dealt specifically with the content and unmitigated bias of her piece and what little of Pennock’s content she elected to share, your reaction amounts to little more than a sophomoric and sarcastic ad hominem.

Kind Regards,
TW
 

[Prefering to add further personal criticisms, Mr. Lovell declined to defend the arguments of Pennock and Scott as criticised in my original response. -TW]
 

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From: Eyjólfur Gislason

I use this definition of sience: “Sience is not about what nature is but about what we can say about nature” (from Niels Bohr).

I think that is wrong with creationism is that it breaks the unity of sicense. It is not compatible with the fundamental natural law of physics, which is the “hardest” sicence of all, and therfore it is scientificly “unsound”.

E. Gislason


Response from Timothy Wallace:

>> I use this definition of sience: “Sience is not about what nature is but about what we can say about nature” (from Niels Bohr). <<

This “definition” has nothing to do with the applied sciences or the scientific method specifically. Real science is based in knowledge gained through the scientific method, which involves observation, repetition, and measurement.

This is why matters of origins (whether from a creationary or evolutionary point of view) cannot be ‘proven’ scientifically—they are a matter of history, and you cannot effectively observe, repeat, or measure the past.

>> I think that is wrong with creationism is that it breaks the unity of sicense. <<

Exactly how?

>> It is not compatible with the fundamental natural law of physics, which is the “hardest” sicence of all, and therfore it is scientificly “unsound”. <<

To which specific “fundamental natural law of physics” are you referring? And exactly how does the creation paradigm prove itself incompatible with that law?

Kind Regards,
TW
 

[Other than repeating such generalities, Mr. Gislason declined to explain exactly how the creationary paradigm “breaks the unity of sicense [sic]”, or exactly how it “is not compatible with the fundamental natural law of physics”, and therefore, how it is “scientificly [sic] ‘unsound’”. -TW]
 

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From: Alexander L. Wild

The reason that scientists propose purely naturalistic mechanisms to explain phenomena is that the alternative (the Supernatural) is a research dead-end. Science has not got the proper equipment in its tool box to probe the supernatural. God is omnipotent; he may alter the results of any of our experiments. No matter how strong our efforts to test, falsify, illustrate, or otherwise understand a Deity, our efforts will never be able to corner the all-powerful. He is, by definition, above our empirical reach. At the point when you invoke the super-natural, you remove the topic from the reach of science. This is not to say that a supernatural explanation is necessarily wrong. It is merely unscientific. An independent researcher would be unable to come to the same result you did. (Oh, he could very well agree that the cause has a supernatural origin, but how would you know WHICH origin? You might conclude God, he might conclude Teddy Roosevelt’s Ghost, and how, empirically, could you tell the difference?)

Let us say that God DID create the world in roughly its present form. Let us also say that I am researching a particular phenomenon: a well-documented skewed sex ratio in social insect colonies (this topic, while it appears obscure, has some practical relevance in controlling pest ants like fire ants, and also for improving the science behind the beekeeping industry).

So. God created the world. Where do I start? Why would God have skewed the sex ratio in the social insects? Ummm.... Does the Bible say anything about this? I could go and carefully document and measure this skewed ratio again, maybe, but... What I really need to know is WHY they have so many more females than males. Help me out here, maybe my own imagination is lacking, but given a supernatural origin of ants, how am I to know what God intended for them? Do I pray for the answer? And if I get one, how should I test it? My research program is dead in the water, and the fire ants continue to cut a swath across the southern US.

Now, let us look at the problem from a Darwinian perspective. So. Ants came into existence through the continued differential reproduction of genotypes. Why do the ants have a skewed sex ratio? Well, we know from karyotypes that male ants are haploid (have only one copy of each chromosome), and females are diploid, and that males are produced from unfertilized eggs. If we work through the genetics here (trust me on this, it is kind of complicated), it turns out that sisters share 3/4 of their alleles with other sisters, and only 1/4 with their brothers. (See Trivers and Hare, 1976. Haplodiploidy and the evolution of the social insects. Science 191: 249-263). This immediately suggests a hypothesis: that the sex ratio is skewed because sisters (the workers) favor production of genetically-similar sisters over less genetically similar brothers.

Our Darwinian method has yielded a hypothesis, the starting point for scientific inquiry (this particular example was answered by Boomsa and Grafen 1990, Evolution 44: 1026-1034). From here we can design experiments to test our idea. Compare this to the creation model, which to the best of my ability, is unable to even generate a hypothesis other than God’s will. I am not one to second-guess God. Sure, God may very well have created ants, too. And I could also try to eradicate fire ants through prayer.

My point is that Creation Science is not of great practical use in answering detailed questions about living things, unless you know the mind of God better than He does. By prematurely relegating nature into the realm of the supernatural, you are shutting down our ability to pick apart the nature of life. Agriculture will suffer. As will medicine. What is worse, so will our ability to think critically.

I can only assume that you will disagree with me here. So, tell me how Creationism generates hypotheses, and how we may test these hypotheses.

Alex Wild
entomologist


Response from Timothy Wallace:

Thank you for taking the time to comment...

>> The reason that scientists propose purely naturalistic mechanisms to explain phenomena is that the alternative (the Supernatural) is a research dead-end. Science has not got the proper equipment in its tool box to probe the supernatural. <<

First, please note that not all scientists propose purely naturalistic mechanisms to explain all phenomena or all empirical observations, and contrary to your claim, those who do not are not prone to end up in research dead-ends. Just for example, there are over 650 members of the Creation Research Society who have an earned masters degree or better in a recognized field of science. They are scientists. They do not propose purely naturalistic mechanisms to explain all phenomena or all empirical observations, and their careers and studies have not become research dead-ends.

We have more than one choice in responding to the obvious limitations of science. The popular, prevailing choice (which, by the way, does not necessarily make it the ‘correct’ choice) is to act as if whatever science can’t touch is unreasonable, illogical, and essentially myth—if it can’t be verified by science, it’s of little value, if not laughably superstitious.

Another choice is to recognize that science’s limitations are just that: boundaries within which empirical observations work and are useful. The empirical is not by definition all that matters or is important, but a subset of all of human experience and knowledge.

We might popularly ‘talk’ the first choice, but we all ‘walk’ the second choice. You and I act on matters and in ways that are not empirically established for us every day, when we initiate or respond to love, justice, compassion, cruelty, beauty, etc. These and other aspects of human experience fall outside the realm of scientific empiricism, yet we do not cast them aside as ‘unscientific’ and (therefore) myth or superstitious because of it.

Yet when the creationary paradigm, while interpreting the same empirical data as the evolutionary paradigm, happens to render more credibile the most comprehensive explanation for both the empirical and the non-empirical aspects of human experience, evolutionists hasten to throw it all out, citing the ‘non-empirical’ implications as somehow invalidating the empirical interpretations. Why? The only reason I am aware of is nothing less than a predisposition specifically against the non-empirical implications themselves, no matter how substantial or comprehensive the empirical interpretations may be.

>> God is omnipotent; he may alter the results of any of our experiments. No matter how strong our efforts to test, falsify, illustrate, or otherwise understand a Deity, our efforts will never be able to corner the all-powerful. <<

It is an error to assume that the creationary paradigm is the same thing as “trying to ‘prove’ God with science”. This popular caricature of the creationary position misses the boat entirely. The objective is not to “prove” God but to interpret the empirical data in accordance with the biblical paradigm of both history and origins—which happens to work rather well. The resulting implications that the biblical record is accurate, and that (therefore) the God who reveals Himself in the context of that record is truly who He claims to be, do not invalidate the empirical interpretation side of the creationary paradigm any more than the largely anti-biblical implications of the evolutionary paradigm ipso facto invalidate it.

>> He is, by definition, above our empirical reach. <<

This is correct, but this does not render science a judge over non-empirical truth. It merely reveals that there are distinct limits to what science can determine as far as truth is concerned. The problem many evolution proponents seem to have is they don’t want to accept the notion that there is an immutable limit to the scope of man’s scientific endeavors. This inacceptance directly linked to the humanistic philosophy currently dominating “scientific thought” wherein man is seen as the pinnacle of intelligence, commander of his own fate, limitless in his potential—philosophical (not empirical) concepts in the face of which fallibility, limits, and accountability to a Creator are both antithetical and unwanted.

>> At the point when you invoke the super-natural, you remove the topic from the reach of science. This is not to say that a supernatural explanation is necessarily wrong. It is merely unscientific. <<

These statements seem to assume that science must somehow be for man THE means of establishing true facts. On what basis is this assumption validated? What makes this assumption more valid than the assumption (as described above) that science is only ONE of the means (e.g., as a tool) for man to establish true facts—particularly within the realm of the empirical. As I’ve mentioned above, we all rely every day on many non-scientific methods to arrive at conclusions concerning true facts—yet we don’t routinely dismiss their implicit or explicit correlations to the empirical on the grounds that the non-empirical is “out of the reach of science”. It requires the use of an unmitigated double-standard to reject the creationary paradigm on such grounds, when we conduct our lives according to non-empirically determined data every day.

>> Let us say that God DID create the world in roughly its present form. <<

Let’s not. That’s not what the creationary paradigm states, so why should we use such an assumption as the basis for an argument? (Your ignorance of the biblical creationary paradigm has begun to be revealed here.)

>> ...So. God created the world. Where do I start? Why would God have skewed the sex ratio in the social insects? Ummm.... Does the Bible say anything about this? I could go and carefully document and measure this skewed ratio again, maybe, but... What I really need to know is WHY they have so many more females than males. Help me out here, maybe my own imagination is lacking, but given a supernatural origin of ants, how am I to know what God intended for them? Do I pray for the answer? And if I get one, how should I test it? My research program is dead in the water, and the fire ants continue to cut a swath across the southern US. <<

Your error here is that you think that subscribing to the biblical paradigm somehow compels you to rely only on the Bible and prayer in order to conduct science. This is another fallacious caricature of creationary paradigm.

My son happens to be an aspiring entomologist. He has no trouble understanding that ants were created by God. He loves to observe them and study their behavior (along with wasps, bees, etc.). When he had an “ant farm” we were all fascinated by the way the ants worked together, and happened to recall the Scripture passages:

Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise,
Which, having no chief, officer or ruler,
Prepares her food in the summer,
And gathers her provision in the harvest. (Proverbs 6:6-8)

Interesting that the ancient text recognized that worker ants are females, that they don’t have apparent “chief, officer or ruler” ants directing their work, yet they work together in remarkable unison to achieve a common goal. Now, we didn’t conclude that this was the end of ant study—it was just a beginning. We recognize that other aspects of ant physiology and behavior may be studied and understood apart from what is recorded in Scripture, but—just the same—the empirical facts themselves don’t contradict the Scriptures.

An entomologist who subscribes to the creationary paradigm asks the same questions that you ask (i.e., “Why do they have so many more females than males?”). He can run into some of the same dead-ends as you do. The difference is simply that he does not share your presuppositions when considering the empirical data and searching for answers.

Now, while we’re on the subject, can you name one significant advance in genuine, empirically-substantiated entomological knowledge that was not possible without the presupposition of evolution (excluding further evolutionary hypotheses)?

The example you cited, and the accompanying hypothesis, was very interesting. But how exactly is it strictly an example of the “Darwinian perspective”? Do you think that the creationary paradigm rules out genetics? (If so, you are in error.)

How exactly do you “know” that “Ants came into existence through the continued differential reproduction of genotypes”?

How exactly does your hypothesis (“the sex ratio is skewed because sisters (the workers) favor production of genetically-similar sisters over less genetically similar brothers”) substantiate your predisposition towards Darwinism and against the creationary paradigm? What exactly is it about the creationary parardigm that is negated or challenged by the hypothesis?

Do either the hypothesis or the experiments designed to test it do anything to substantiate Darwinism itself? If so, exactly how? How are your end results better explained through the evolutionary paradigm than the creationary paradigm?

>> ...Compare this to the creation model, which to the best of my ability, is unable to even generate a hypothesis other than God’s will... <<

This is because you are trying to use a CARICATURE of the creation model, rather than the model itself. The model doesn’t compel you to invoke God every time you have a question, and if you were even basically familiar with the creationary model, you would know this. Instead, you are mocking it from a distance, based quite apparently on a position of ignorance. That approach is neither logical, nor reasonable, nor scientific.

>> I am not one to second-guess God. Sure, God may very well have created ants, too. And I could also try to eradicate fire ants through prayer. <<

Your persistence at mocking your beloved caricature is noted—and tiresome.

>> My point is that Creation Science is not of great practical use in answering detailed questions about living things, unless you know the mind of God better than He does. <<

My point is that you don’t know enough about Creation Science to be making such arrogant statements about it.

>> By prematurely relegating nature into the realm of the supernatural, you are shutting down our ability to pick apart the nature of life. Agriculture will suffer. As will medicine. What is worse, so will our ability to think critically. <<

But no one is “prematurely relegating nature into the realm of the supernatural” except those who are ignorant of the methodology of creation science, and who prefer that ignorance to exercising some critical thinking skills of their own. (It takes far more in the way of critical thinking skills to compare the empirical data to two different paradigms than to arbitrarily cling to one while mocking a caricature of the other.)

>> I can only assume that you will disagree with me here. So, tell me how Creationism generates hypotheses, and how we may test these hypotheses. <<

Creationism doesn’t generate hypotheses any more than evolutionism does. It’s the investigating observer of the empirical data—the scientist—whose God-given creative abilities enable him to connect the data in ways that suggest testable explanations for facts and phenomena. The creationist simply holds to certain presuppositions concerning the origin and Author of it all, while the evolutionist holds to a different set. The notion that a logical, plausible hypothesis that fails to invoke God is by default an “evolutionary” hypothesis is as unfounded as the notion that any creationary hypothesis by definition must invoke God.

You would do well to note that the founders of modern science were largely biblical creationists, whose basis for experimenting in the first place was their confidence that the handiwork of the great Creator and Lawgiver revealed in Scripture was also subject to consistent laws and order, allowing the scientific method (repetition, measurement and observation) to be meaningful in the first place. Without this confidence (which neither pagan religion nor atheism can provide in and of themselves), science itself has no basis.

Kind Regards,
TW


Response from Alexander L. Wild:

My impression after reading through your reply is that you seem to be looking for grounds on which to disagree with me, I can only assume because I am an evolutionist. However, if you were to re-read my response a little more carefully, you will find that we agree more than you think. I find that someof your logical argument is quite sound, you are obviously an intelligent person. We differ more in our assumptions. Also, I find it a bit distasteful how you slipped into accusing me of various things. Lets try to keep this on-topic and out of the mud.

Pay attention to my comments and tell me what you think.

>> First, please note that not all scientists propose purely naturalistic mechanisms to explain all phenomena or all empirical observations, and contrary to your claim, those who do not are not prone to end up in research dead-ends. Just for example, there are over 650 members of the Creation Research Society who have an earned masters degree or better in a recognized field of science. They are scientists. They do not propose purely naturalistic mechanisms to explain all phenomena or all empirical observations, and their careers and studies have not become research dead-ends. <<

You have missed my point, sort of. When I speak of “research dead-ends”, I am in no way refering to careers, degrees, or academic recognition. I am refering to the down-in-the-dirt, day-to-day workings of a scientific study. Science requires testable hypotheses, and I think you can agree that evolutionary biology DOES provide a theoretical framework for producing hypotheses (though I think you instead disagree with interpretation of the studies that examined these hypotheses). For example, evolutionary theory has predicted that bird species with higher parasite loads will have brighter male plumage. This is a concrete idea that we may test empirically (measure parasitism rates, measure plumage brightness, look for correlation). My issue with Creation Science is that it is unclear to me how the creation model can be used to produce such specific hypotheses. And without this important entryway into rational enquiry, scientists can do little other than make observations. There is no possibility of experimentation, and our research dead-ends.

Unless, of course, creationists can explain to us how we may generate hypotheses using the creation model.

>> We have more than one choice in responding to the obvious limitations of science. The popular, prevailing choice (which, by the way, does not necessarily make it the ‘correct’ choice) is to act as if whatever science can’t touch is unreasonable, illogical, and essentially myth—if it can’t be verified by science, it’s of little value, if not laughably superstitious. <<

I find this approach to be a little hasty. I gather that we agree on this point.

>> Another choice is to recognize that science’s limitations are just that: boundaries within which empirical observations work and are useful. The empirical is not by definition all that matters or is important, but a subset of all of human experience and knowledge. <<

I agree 100%.

>> We might popularly ‘talk’ the first choice, but we all ‘walk’ the second choice. You and I act on matters and in ways that are not empirically established for us every day, when we initiate or respond to love, justice, compassion, cruelty, beauty, etc. These and other aspects of human experience fall outside the realm of scientific empiricism, yet we do not cast them aside as ‘unscientific’ and (therefore) myth or superstitious because of it. <<

I’m with you here.

>> Yet when the creationary paradigm, while interpreting the same empirical data as the evolutionary paradigm, happens to render more credibile the most comprehensive explanation for both the empirical and the non-empirical aspects of human experience, evolutionists hasten to throw it all out, citing the ‘non-empirical’ implications as somehow invalidating the empirical interpretations. Why? The only reason I am aware of is nothing less than a predisposition specifically against the non-empirical implications themselves, no matter how substantial or comprehensive the empirical interpretations may be. <<

Ah, here we enter into disagreement. Do you agree with the statement that the results of good science are repeatable, i.e., can be reproduced by an independent researcher? If so, then we run into problems. “Non-empirical aspects of the human existence”, however true they may be, differ from person to person. Even within a religion this is likely true: do you not think that each individual Christian has his own relationship with Christ? An independent researcher, drawing on an (even slightly) different spiritualilty, may reach a different conclusion about a non-empirical matter. This violates the “repeatability” aspect of science. Hence, the evolutionsist stance is not a pre-disposition towards empirical interpretation, it is merely a recognition that human spirituality differs from person to person in non-quantifiable ways, and hence is not available to science. To me, this has no bearing on the validity of religious experience one way or another.

>> >> God is omnipotent; he may alter the results of any of our experiments. No matter how strong our efforts to test, falsify, illustrate, or otherwise understand a Deity, our efforts will never be able to corner the all-powerful. << <<
>> It is an error to assume that the creationary paradigm is the same thing as “trying to ‘prove’ God with science”. This popular caricature of the creationary position misses the boat entirely. The objective is not to “prove” God but to interpret the empirical data in accordance with the biblical paradigm of both history and origins—which happens to work rather well. <<

Sorry to have missed the boat, but you have also missed my point. I speak not of trying to “prove” God. Here is my main point: ideas that use God as an explanation of natural phenomena are not scientifically testable. This does not mean, however, that they are not true. I am a biologist. It is my job to understand natural phenomena, and the way in which I do it is through hypothesis testing, commonly referred to as the “scientific method.” I cannot test ideas that include God. Not because I don’t want to, nor because there is some kind of law against it, but because it is a logical impossibility, as I think you can agree. God is beyond our empirical reach. So I can either use empirical methods only, or quit biology for some other line of work.

>> The resulting implications that the biblical record is accurate, and that (therefore) the God who reveals Himself in the context of that record is truly who He claims to be, do not invalidate the empirical interpretation side of the creationary paradigm any more than the largely anti-biblical implications of the evolutionary paradigm ipso facto invalidate it. <<

The order in which your analytical process runs (correct me if i am wrong) is:

1. Accept the Bible as Truth regarding the origin of species
2. Gather evidence relating to the origin of species.

I am sorry, but any self-respecting scientist does not know his conclusion before he starts his inquiry. I’ve heard creationists claim the same of evolutionists. I have not much to say to that, except it does not match my own perceptions of what scientists are actually doing.

For your argument to be scientific, it must run:

2. Gather evidence relating to the origin of species
1. Accept the Bible as Truth regarding the origin of species. (assuming that is what the evidence indicates)
>> >> He is, by definition, above our empirical reach. << <<
>> This is correct, but this does not render science a judge over non-empirical truth. It merely reveals that there are distinct limits to what science can determine as far as truth is concerned. <<

You are absolutely correct. Do not look for disagreement between us where there is none.

>> >> At the point when you invoke the super-natural, you remove the topic from the reach of science. This is not to say that a supernatural explanation is necessarily wrong. It is merely unscientific. << <<
>> These statements seem to assume that science must somehow be for man THE means of establishing true facts. <<

You misread me. I never claimed science to be the only method to determine truth.

>> >> Let us say that God DID create the world in roughly its present form. << <<
>> Let’s not. That’s not what the creationary paradigm states, so why should we use such an assumption as the basis for an argument? (Your ignorance of the biblical creationary paradigm has begun to be revealed here.) <<

Ok, let us say that God created the world. Is this also out of line with the creation model?

>> >> ...So. God created the world. Where do I start? Why would God have skewed the sex ratio in the social insects? Ummm.... Does the Bible say anything about this? I could go and carefully document and measure this skewed ratio again, maybe, but... What I really need to know is WHY they have so many more females than males. Help me out here, maybe my own imagination is lacking, but given a supernatural origin of ants, how am I to know what God intended for them? Do I pray for the answer? And if I get one, how should I test it? My research program is dead in the water, and the fire ants continue to cut a swath across the southern US. << <<
>> Your error here is that you think that subscribing to the biblical paradigm somehow compels you to rely only on the Bible and prayer in order to conduct science. This is another fallacious caricature of creationary paradigm. <<

Ok. Tell me what hypothesis the creation model suggests regarding skewed sex ratios, and then I will believe you.

>> My son happens to be an aspiring entomologist. He has no trouble understanding that ants were created by God. He loves to observe them and study their behavior (along with wasps, bees, etc.). When he had an “ant farm” we were all fascinated by the way the ants worked together, and happened to recall the Scripture passages:
Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise,
Which, having no chief, officer or ruler,
Prepares her food in the summer,
And gathers her provision in the harvest. (Proverbs 6:6-8)
Interesting that the ancient text recognized that worker ants are females... <<

I find that interesting as well, thought about it the other day in the shower. But I digress.

>> ...that they don’t have apparent “chief, officer or ruler” ants directing their work, yet they work together in remarkable unison to achieve a common goal. Now, we didn’t conclude that this was the end of ant study—it was just a beginning. We recognize that other aspects of ant physiology and behavior may be studied and understood apart from what is recorded in Scripture, but—just the same—the empirical facts themselves don’t contradict the Scriptures. <<

Maybe true. So, what is the Creationist hypothesis regarding skewed sex ratios in ants? No offense, but it looks to me as though you are skirting the question.

>> An entomologist who subscribes to the creationary paradigm asks the same questions that you ask (i.e., “Why do they have so many more females than males?”). He can run into some of the same dead-ends as you do. The difference is simply that he does not share your presuppositions when considering the empirical data and searching for answers. <<

I do not understand. Run me through the chain of logic by which a creationist comes to a hypotheses to test. Even better, tell me how a creationist tests it. Look, I’m not trying to be antagonistic here, I really do want to know how a creationist would go about answering this question.

>> Now, while we’re on the subject, can you name one significant advance in genuine, empirically-substantiated entomological knowledge that was not possible without the presupposition of evolution (excluding further evolutionary hypotheses)? <<
Yes. The observation that monogynous ant colonies have a 3:1 sex ratio of reproductive females to males, while polygynous ants have a 1:1 ratio.
>> The example you cited, and the accompanying hypothesis, was very interesting. But how exactly is it strictly an example of the “Darwinian perspective”? <<

Genes that favor production of like genes (See Dawkins’ “The Selfish Gene”) should increase in proportion in subsequent generations. This is a profoundly evolutionist idea. You may claim that it is also consistent with the creation model. I cannot disagree, but since I do not know what the creationist model is, how can I test this?

>> Do you think that the creationary paradigm rules out genetics? <<

No. The problem is, I have NO IDEA what the creationist paradigm is, much less what it rules out.

>> (If so, you are in error.) <<

How is it that you are arguing against an argument I have not yet made? I find this to be a little odd.

>> How exactly do you “know” that “Ants came into existence through the continued differential reproduction of genotypes”? <<

I don’t. I was merely explaining how an evolutionary biologist produces workable hypotheses. This is the starting assumption (for which there is a great deal of evidence, but that is not the immediate subject at hand.)

How do you “know” that you are really reading this email, and it isn’t all a big dream?

>> How exactly does your hypothesis (“the sex ratio is skewed because sisters (the workers) favor production of genetically-similar sisters over less genetically similar brothers”) substantiate your predisposition towards Darwinism and against the creationary paradigm? What exactly is it about the creationary parardigm that is negated or challenged by the hypothesis? <<

You misread my intent. The sex-ratio test was designed as an experiment OF the Darwinian perspective. It had nothing to do with creation. It substantiates the Darwinian hypothesis BECAUSE the hypothesis predicted that, if sex ratios evolved through inclusive fitness, the ratios would be 3:1 and 1:1, respectively. Empirical evidence, gathered LATER, confirmed this. It makes no assessment of creation, either positive or negative.

>> Do either the hypothesis or the experiments designed to test it do anything to substantiate Darwinism itself? If so, exactly how? How are your end results better explained through the evolutionary paradigm than the creationary paradigm? <<

How can I compare the two if I have no idea of what a creationist hypothesis is? Once somebody fills me in on it, then I can tell you.

>> >> ...Compare this to the creation model, which to the best of my ability, is unable to even generate a hypothesis other than God’s will... << <<
>> This is because you are trying to use a CARICATURE of the creation model, rather than the model itself. The model doesn’t compel you to invoke God every time you have a question, and if you were even basically familiar with the creationary model, you would know this. Instead, you are mocking it from a distance, based quite apparently on a position of ignorance. That approach is neither logical, nor reasonable, nor scientific. <<

Thank you, for that lively personal attack. What IS the creation model? Since I have yet to hear how Creationists generate hypotheses, I can do little other than caricature the “creation model”.

>> >> I am not one to second-guess God. Sure, God may very well have created ants, too. And I could also try to eradicate fire ants through prayer. << <<
>> Your persistence at mocking your beloved caricature is noted—and tiresome. <<

Ask yourself: was that last comment really necessary?

>> >> My point is that Creation Science is not of great practical use in answering detailed questions about living things, unless you know the mind of God better than He does. << <<
>> My point is that you don’t know enough about Creation Science to be making such arrogant statements about it. <<

What can I do, besides read Gish, Morris, Johnson, Behe, Denton, and peruse trueorigins.org and answersingenesis? I’m trying to understand it, yet almost all I get from these sources is attacks on evolution, as if disproof of evolution somehow confers literal truth on Genesis.

Look. Here is the problem faced by myself and other professional biologists. We study living things. In order to understand these living things, passive observation only goes so far. We need to experiment, we need to create ideas and test them. Evolution, true or not, has provided a very useful theoretical framework for this sort of inquiry. The sheer “odd-ness” of the idea of evolution itself leads to myriad questions. This is where the scientific process begins.

Creationism, as I understand it, wishes to be seen as a scientific alternative to evolution. Fair enough. But we biologists need to continue working. We cannot just abandon a theory that gives structure to what we do without replacing it with something that is equally good at providing structure. Once creationism produces a way for us to go about making and testing hypotheses, then we will pay it more heed. Until then, your arguments against evolution will fall on deaf ears.

>> >> By prematurely relegating nature into the realm of the supernatural, you are shutting down our ability to pick apart the nature of life. Agriculture will suffer. As will medicine. What is worse, so will our ability to think critically. << <<
>> But no one is “prematurely relegating nature into the realm of the supernatural” except those who are ignorant of the methodology of creation science... <<

What IS the methodology of Creation Science? Explain it to me, because I do not, as you point out, understand it.

>> ...and who prefer that ignorance to exercising some critical thinking skills of their own. (It takes far more in the way of critical thinking skills to compare the empirical data to two different paradigms than to arbitrarily cling to one while mocking a caricature of the other.) <<

Thank you, too, for this additional personal slander.

>> >> I can only assume that you will disagree with me here. So, tell me how Creationism generates hypotheses, and how we may test these hypotheses. << <<
>> Creationism doesn’t generate hypotheses any more than evolutionism does. <<

Evolution DOES generate hypotheses. In the case that you don’t believe me, here are a couple:

1. Individuals belonging to species with high reproductive rates should senesce (age) earlier than species with low reproductive rates.
2. In sexually dimorphic species, the gender that invests most heavily in the offspring will be the one that exercises mate selection.

The whole gist of my last letter was: show me a testable creationist hypothesis! I was not asking you to attack evolution, I was not asking you to attack ME, and I was not asking you to tell me about your son, although I’m glad to hear he likes bugs. I was asking you to tell me how to use the creation model to answer some questions that I have about living things. This is not a matter of personal belief, this is a matter of practical concern in how I am to manage my own scientific program.

>> It’s the investigating observer of the empirical data—the scientist—whose God-given creative abilities enable him to connect the data in ways that suggest testable explanations for facts and phenomena. The creationist simply holds to certain presuppositions concerning the origin and Author of it all, while the evolutionist holds to a different set. <<

We run into a practical difficulty here as well. If we are to use two different standards for what is science, we destroy science’s wide applicability to real-world problems.

>> The notion that a logical, plausible hypothesis that fails to invoke God is by default an “evolutionary” hypothesis is as unfounded as the notion that any creationary hypothesis by definition must invoke God. <<

Yes, I do agree with you here. So, what ARE some creationist hypotheses? I do not care if they invoke God or not. I just have never seen a testable creationist hypothesis.

>> You would do well to note that the founders of modern science were largely biblical creationists... <<

James Watson and Francis Crick? Barbara McClintock? Robert Oppenheimer? Albert Einstein?

>> ...whose basis for experimenting in the first place was their confidence that the handiwork of the great Creator and Lawgiver revealed in Scripture was also subject to consistent laws and order, allowing the scientific method (repetition, measurement and observation) to be meaningful in the first place. Without this confidence (which neither pagan religion nor atheism can provide in and of themselves), science itself has no basis. <<

Thanks for taking the time to reply. Do you sense a pattern in my questions to you? I would greatly appreciate it if you could lay down the principles of Creation Science, since I appear to be ignorant of them, and give me some reason why I should consider using them in my own projects.

Alex Wild


Response from Timothy Wallace:

>> ...My impression after reading through your reply is that you seem to be looking for grounds on which to disagree with me, I can only assume because I am an evolutionist. <<

Allow me to remind you that it was not I who wrote to you a message based entirely on (and advocating) my own presuppositions, while disparaging yours. Rather, you took it upon yourself to take such action in writing to me. Under these circumstances I need not “look for” grounds on which to disagree with you; you have willingly presented them to me in the content of your message, apparently disagreeing with me precisely because I am a creationist.

>> ...I find it a bit distasteful how you slipped into accusing me of various things. Lets try to keep this on-topic and out of the mud. <<

If you would care to cite any of my comments which you consider false or substantially inaccurate accusations (and exactly why), I am certainly willing to consider retracting and apologizing for them. Otherwise, please don’t assume that you can make questionable or unsubstantiated claims with impunity.

>> ...You have missed my point, sort of. When I speak of “research dead-ends”, I am in no way refering to careers, degrees, or academic recognition. <<

I don’t think I missed your point. I wasn’t referring exclusively to careers, degrees, or academic recognition either, but to credentialed scientists who operate “down-in-the-dirt, day-to-day”—but under the creationary paradigm.

>> ...evolutionary theory has predicted that bird species with higher parasite loads will have brighter male plumage. <<

What exactly is the evolutionary logic that leads to the prediction that bird species with higher parasite loads will have brighter male plumage? And how exactly would brighter male plumage in bird species with higher parasite loads unequivocally substantiate evolution?

>> ...My issue with Creation Science is that it is unclear to me how the creation model can be used to produce such specific hypotheses... <<

Is it unclear to you because you have found no hypotheses in the CRSQ or the CENTJ? Or is it unclear because you haven’t looked?

>> Unless, of course, creationists can explain to us how we may generate hypotheses using the creation model. <<

(Who is “us”?) You’ll find much more than the mere “how” in the creationary journals.

>> >> Yet when the creationary paradigm, while interpreting the same empirical data as the evolutionary paradigm, happens to render more credibile the most comprehensive explanation for both the empirical and the non-empirical aspects of human experience, evolutionists hasten to throw it all out, citing the ‘non-empirical’ implications as somehow invalidating the empirical interpretations... << <<
>> Ah, here we enter into disagreement... “Non-empirical aspects of the human existence”, however true they may be, differ from person to person... <<

You have apparently misunderstood my statement. In fact, you are doing exactly what I described in the above paragraph. You are focusing on matters connected with the IMPLICATIONS that arise from the valid application of the empirical data to the creationary paradigm (i.e., religious experience). You are not looking at the data vis-a-vis the paradigm, but have bypassed that in order to question whether the subsequent implications are scientifically valid. The creationist doesn’t necessarily concern himself with making those “non-empirical aspects of the human existence” empirically valid, but with conducting day-to-day empirical science on the basis of the same fundamental presuppositions from which those “non-empirical aspects” also arose.

Likewise, the evolutionist doesn’t necessarily concern himself with making his own “non-empirical aspects of the human existence” empirical, but he also conducts empirical science on the basis of the same fundamental presuppositions from which his “non-empirical aspects” arose.

>> ...Here is my main point: ideas that use God as an explanation of natural phenomena are not scientifically testable. This does not mean, however, that they are not true. <<

It is not necessarily the objective or practice of the creationist to “use God as an explanation of natural phenomena.” Your “main point” is still based on a caricature of the creationary paradigm.

>> ...I cannot test ideas that include God... <<

That is correct. God, by definition, is not subject to science. However, that doesn’t render as untrue anything that God has revealed about Himself. Science is a tool—just one of several—that man uses to learn. Science, by definition, is not guaranteed to be exhaustively comprehensive in the range of valid, true knowledge which man may learn by using that tool. It is not science itself, but the ideology of “scientism”, that claims science to be capable of of finding all relevant answers, and dismissing that which cannot be known empirically. (This is the approach which you describe as “a little hasty”.)

>> ...God is beyond our empirical reach. So I can either use empirical methods only, or quit biology for some other line of work. <<

This seems to be a non sequitur. What logical connection is there between God’s being beyond empirical reach and your only two choices being empirical science or no science at all?

>> The order in which your analytical process runs (correct me if i am wrong) is:
1. Accept the Bible as Truth regarding the origin of species
2. Gather evidence relating to the origin of species.
I am sorry, but any self-respecting scientist does not know his conclusion before he starts his inquiry... <<

Let’s try it another way: The order in which most evolutionists’ analytical process runs (correct me if I am wrong) is:

1. Accept naturalism as a fundamental ideology and evolution as Truth regarding the origin or species.
2. Gather evidence relating to the origin of species.

I’m sorry to have to tell you this but everybody has presuppositions (even those who pretend not to).

>> I’ve heard creationists claim the same of evolutionists. I have not much to say to that, except it does not match my own perceptions of what scientists are actually doing. <<

On what exactly are your “perceptions” based? The popular claim that “good” scientists are “empty slates” waiting for the data to automatically create a hypothesis in their freshly voided minds? It is certainly a noble thing to suppress one’s bias as best as one is able while gathering and examining the data, and many people do (some better than others). OTOH, it is a fallacy to pretend that people in general—and scientists in particular—are fully capable of doing so at will. (Do you spend more of your time just sitting and looking at the empirical data or comparing the data to a specific hypothesis?)

>> For your argument to be scientific, it must run:
2. Gather evidence relating to the origin of species
1. Accept the Bible as Truth regarding the origin of species. (assuming that is what the evidence indicates) <<

Likewise with yours. However, that’s not the way either side really operates. Creationists readily admit that they examine the evidence in light of the creationary paradigm. Many evolutionists, OTOH, insist that the evidence “led them” or “compelled them” to their evolutionary conclusions. They deny any outside influences (peers, professors, employers, the literature, the media...). How realistic—or honest—is that? When asked about their objectivity (i.e., how carefully or thoroughly they have examined the literature of the creationary alternative) they often betray a gross ignorance—yet they insist that they are unbiased in their handling of the data.

>> >> ...It requires the use of an unmitigated double-standard to reject the creationary paradigm on such grounds, when we conduct our lives according to non-empirically determined data every day. << <<

>> This is moot, since I do not disagree with you here. <<

So you agree that the creationary paradigm is not invalidated by the fact that its implications are “out of the reach of science”his is moot

>> >> >> Let us say that God DID create the world in roughly its present form. << << <<
>> >> Let’s not. That’s not what the creationary paradigm states, so why should we use such an assumption as the basis for an argument? (Your ignorance of the biblical creationary paradigm has begun to be revealed here.) << <<

>> Ok, let us say that God created the world. Is this also out of line with the creation model? <<

Of course not.

>> Ok. Tell me what hypothesis the creation model suggests regarding skewed sex ratios, and then I will believe you. <<

(...believe me about what?)

It seems to me that you are assuming that every hypothesis of science must either have an evolutionary origin or a creationary origin. That’s a false assumption. I don’t know of an exclusively “creationary” hypothesis for skewed sex ratios—but nor have you presented an unequivocally “evolutionary” hypothesis for the same.

>> ...So, what is the Creationist hypothesis regarding skewed sex ratios in ants? <<

Like I said, I don’t know of an exclusively “creationary” hypothesis for skewed sex ratios—but nor have you presented an unequivocally “evolutionary hypothesis” for the same.

>> No offense, but it looks to me as though you are skirting the question. <<

It seems a bit sophomoric to ask me the same question twice in the same message and then accuse me of “skirting the question” for failing to have answered it between the first and second times you typed it(!).

>> ...Run me through the chain of logic by which a creationist comes to a hypotheses to test. <<

The same way anyone else does it: He sees patterns in the data (through observation, repetition, measurement), he relates them to what he knows or assumes to be fact, he posits what he considers plausible assumptions and the conclusions to which they may lead.

>> Even better, tell me how a creationist tests it. <<

The same way anyone else does: He devises experiments (more observation, repetition, measurement) by which his assumptions and/or conclusions may be falsified, he executes his experiments, and depending on the results, he modifies, dumps, further develops, or presents his hypothesis for review by others.

>> Look, I’m not trying to be antagonistic here... <<

I’ll take your word for it. It does puzzle me, however, that you should assume a creationary scientist would not use the scientific method.

>> >> Now, while we’re on the subject, can you name one significant advance in genuine, empirically-substantiated entomological knowledge that was not possible without the presupposition of evolution (excluding further evolutionary hypotheses)? << <<

>> Yes. The observation that monogynous ant colonies have a 3:1 sex ratio of reproductive females to males, while polygynous ants have a 1:1 ratio. <<

Okay, now what exactly made that knowledge not possible without the presupposition of evolution?

>> >> The example you cited, and the accompanying hypothesis, was very interesting. But how exactly is it strictly an example of the “Darwinian perspective”? << <<

>> Genes that favor production of like genes ... should increase in proportion in subsequent generations. This is a profoundly evolutionist idea... <<

No, it is not. It is a manifestation of natural selection. Natural selection is not “a profoundly evolutionist idea” even though it is popularly touted as such. It was an observed, documented, and published (by creationists, no less) phenomenon years before Darwin published.

>> You may claim that it is also consistent with the creation model. I cannot disagree, but since I do not know what the creationist model is, how can I test this? <<

You can ask the right questions: What exactly does natural selection demonstrate? Is it a phenomenon that generates new genetic information? No, it only acts on (i.e., selects from) whatever genetic information is present in the subject population’s gene pool. Does it result in the development of new organs or traits known unequivocally and absolutely to have previously been absent from the population’s gene pool, and/or which cannot be attributed to a loss of genetic information? No, again, it only acts on whatever genetic information is present in the subject population’s gene pool. If information is lost (i.e., through mutations), “new traits” may appear, but they are usually eliminated from the pool via differential reproduction, and they are seldom beneficial.

Evolution calls for the addition of truly new genetic information—not just the preservation of what is already there. Evolution supposedly relies on natural selection, but they are not one and the same—and in fact natural selection is simply an observable phenomenon of living organisms.

To test it even further, you could ask what exactly it is about natural selection that disqualifies it from fitting the creationary paradigm? Or what exactly it is about natural selection that qualifies it exclusively for the evolutionary paradigm?

>> How is it that you are arguing against an argument I have not yet made? I find this to be a little odd. <<

You have implied from the beginning that you are operating under the assumption that natural selection is what you’ve called “a profoundly evolutionist idea.” I was challenging you to examine your assumption—not arguing against an argument you have not yet made.

>> >> How exactly do you “know” that “Ants came into existence through the continued differential reproduction of genotypes”? << <<

>> I don’t... <<

Okay, so the “evolution” part of the hypothesis has not been established, but is an assumption. Now, is it a necessary assumption? In other words, do the dynamics of genetics and natural selection operate in such a way that the hypothesis works whether the evolutionary assumption is included or not?

>> How do you “know” that you are really reading this email, and it isn’t all a big dream? <<

That seems like a facetious (though not invalid) question—and it’s a deliberate departure from empirical science to non-empirical. So, let’s not go there just now.

>> >> How exactly does your hypothesis (“the sex ratio is skewed because sisters (the workers) favor production of genetically-similar sisters over less genetically similar brothers”) substantiate your predisposition towards Darwinism and against the creationary paradigm? What exactly is it about the creationary parardigm that is negated or challenged by the hypothesis? << <<

>> You misread my intent. The sex-ratio test was designed as an experiment OF the Darwinian perspective. ... It substantiates the Darwinian hypothesis BECAUSE the hypothesis predicted that, if sex ratios evolved through inclusive fitness, the ratios would be 3:1 and 1:1, respectively. Empirical evidence, gathered LATER, confirmed this. <<

Okay, now what is the logical process by which you arrived at your assumptions and conclusions? Let’s break it down:

1) if sex ratios evolved through inclusive fitness (premise/assumption)
2) the ratios would be 3:1 and 1:1, respectively (conclusion)

So, assuming that the conclusion has been confirmed (i.e., the ratios are 3:1 and 1:1, respectively), does this unequivocally verify the premise/assumption? Are ratios of 3:1 and 1:1, respectively, attainable only through evolution? If not, then the premise is certainly not substantiated by the conclusion (in logic, this is known as a non sequitur - [in this case] affirming the consequent). If so, then how exactly do we know unequivocally that ratios of 3:1 and 1:1 are attainable only through evolution?

>> >> Do either the hypothesis or the experiments designed to test it do anything to substantiate Darwinism itself? If so, exactly how?... << <<

>> How can I compare the two if I have no idea of what a creationist hypothesis is?... <<

You don’t have to know anything about anything creationary in order to answer the two questions above.

>> >> >> ...Compare this to the creation model, which to the best of my ability, is unable to even generate a hypothesis other than God’s will... << << <<

>> >> This is because you are trying to use a CARICATURE of the creation model, rather than the model itself. The model doesn’t compel you to invoke God every time you have a question, and if you were even basically familiar with the creationary model, you would know this. Instead, you are mocking it from a distance, based quite apparently on a position of ignorance. That approach is neither logical, nor reasonable, nor scientific. << <<

>> Thank you, for that lively personal attack. <<

If the shoe fits... You needn’t fear any “attack” as long as you refrain from the above described behavior. Do you deny using a caricature rather than the creation model itself? Do you deny being less-than-familiar with the creationary model? Do you deny mocking the creationary model from a position of ignorance? Do you claim this approach to be logical, reasonable, or scientific?

>> What IS the creation model? <<

Excellent question. Not unlike the evolution model, there is no simple answer. However, the essentials of the biblical creation model flow from these principles upheld by the Creation Research Society:

  1. The Bible is the written Word of God, and because it is inspired throughout, all its assertions are historically and scientifically true in the original autographs. To the student of nature this means that the account of origins in Genesis is a factual presentation of simple historical truths.
  2. All basic types of living things, including man, were made by direct creative acts of God during the Creation Week described in Genesis. Whatever biological changes have occurred since Creation Week have been accomplished only changes within the original created kinds.
  3. The great flood described in Genesis, commonly referred to as the Noachian Flood, was an historic event worldwide in its extent and effect.
  4. The account of the special creation of Adam and Eve as one man and one woman and their subsequent fall into sin is the basis for our belief in the necessity of a Savior for all mankind. Salvation can come only through accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior.

There are other “short versions” which de-emphasize the biblical aspect, but I see no reason to downplay the most fundamental presupposition of the model. There are plenty of books, magazines and journals that round out the paradigm—some almost exclusively from an empirical angle, others not so much so. (If you’re serious about learning more about it, let me know and I’ll provide a list.)

>> Since I have yet to hear how Creationists generate hypotheses, I can do little other than caricature the “creation model”. <<

That’s another non sequitur. You’re trying to use ignorance as an excuse for mocking the very thing of which you are ignorant.

>> >> >> I am not one to second-guess God. Sure, God may very well have created ants, too. And I could also try to eradicate fire ants through prayer. << << <<

>> >> Your persistence at mocking your beloved caricature is noted—and tiresome. << <<

>> Ask yourself: was that last comment really necessary? <<

No, I’ll ask you by what right you fire off such juvenile, sarcastic comments and then react like a self-righteous, wounded saint when you are taken to task for your own childish behavior? Don’t play your sophomoric games with me. If you had asked yourself your own question before penning that sardonic derision, you wouldn’t have to answer for it.

>> >> My point is that you don’t know enough about Creation Science to be making such arrogant statements about it. << <<

>> What can I do, besides read Gish, Morris, Johnson, Behe, Denton, and peruse trueorigins.org and answersingenesis? <<

Who do you think you’re fooling? For your information, neither Johnson nor Behe nor Denton claim to be creationists. And it’s not easy to read much Gish or Morris without getting a fair picture of the creationary paradigm.

Exactly what have you read by them??

Have you ever looked at a Creation Research Society Quarterly (CRSQ)? How about a Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal (CENTJ)? (These are peer-reviewed journals, featuring material submitted by a variety of authors, mostly scientists.)

>> Here is the problem faced by myself and other professional biologists... <<

[Correction: “other evolutionary biologists”]

>> We study living things. In order to understand these living things, passive observation only goes so far. We need to experiment, we need to create ideas and test them. Evolution, true or not, has provided a very useful theoretical framework for this sort of inquiry... <<

Nobody is denying you and your evolutionary colleagues that opportunity. It is not that at all that is the trouble, but the unsubstantiated assumption on the part of many evolutionists that the “theoretical framework” under which you happen to conduct your inquiry is the only one or the best one—especially while being careful to avoid careful inquiry into the creationary alternative.

>> The sheer “odd-ness” of the idea of evolution itself leads to myriad questions. This is where the scientific process begins. <<

The creationary paradigm operates in the same way—questions abound (that’s where CRSQ and CENTJ come in).

>> Creationism, as I understand it, wishes to be seen as a scientific alternative to evolution. Fair enough. But we [evolutionary] biologists need to continue working... <<

So please do. Creationary biologists are doing the same. Jonathan Wells is one example, who happens to have a few essays on the TrueOrigin site. So is Royal Truman.

>> We cannot just abandon a theory that gives structure to what we do without replacing it with something that is equally good at providing structure. <<

You’re talking about a major paradigm shift—really a paradigm revolution. You know it’s not as simple as everybody taking off their evolution hats and putting on creation hats—and no one is suggesting anything like that. In fact, I’m not even suggesting that you should be working under the creationary framework. However, the more you really, honestly examine it and compare the empirical data to it, the more you’ll realize that the data itself does not invalidate it. You may still choose to subscribe to the evolutionary paradigm, but you would at least appreciate the creationary paradigm for something besides the popular caricature that many scientists are persuaded it is.

>> ...your arguments against evolution will fall on deaf ears. <<

That just doesn’t sound like an objective scientist. If your paradigm is so fixed in your mind that you are resolved to reject out-of-hand any arguments against it, then you are practicing intellectual bigotry—not science—when it comes to the question of origins.

>> Evolution DOES generate hypotheses... <<

No, it doesn’t. The paradigm itself doesn’t generate hypotheses. New hypotheses are generated by men, not the presuppositions under which they operate. The examples you give do not exclusively substantiate evolution. If you will apply some critical thinking skills and logic to the assumptions and conclusions of your examples (as I did to the one above), you will see what I mean.

>> The whole gist of my last letter was: show me a testable creationist hypothesis! <<

For starters, the first creationist hypothesis was that since God is Creator and moral Law-Giver, His creation must also operate under ordered laws. This hypothesis is what gave birth to modern science. If the likes of Copernicus, Newton, Linnaeus, and others hadn’t subscribed to—and tested—this hypothesis, there wouldn’t be a basis for a scientific method today. We have a reasonable expectation that observation, repetition and measurement will produce consistent results under consistent conditions BECAUSE of their initial assumption that God’s handiwork would function with some semblance of consistency.

(Evolution, the notion that everything is always changing, didn’t come along until later, after the scientific method had become fairly well established—by Bible-believing Christians.)

Now, if you tell me which books you have by Gish and Morris, and I’ll look up the creationist hypotheses they cite and tell you which pages they’re on. Otherwise they aren’t that hard to find in the literature (if you’re really looking for them). I can only assume that you’re looking for hypotheses that substantiate the creation paradigm.

>> ...I was asking you to tell me how to use the creation model to answer some questions that I have about living things... <<

That sounds interesting. What are those specific questions? I may be able to find and forward to you some articles or papers in response to your questions from a creationary point of view.

>> >> ...The creationist simply holds to certain presuppositions concerning the origin and Author of it all, while the evolutionist holds to a different set. << <<

>> We run into a practical difficulty here as well. If we are to use two different standards for what is science, we destroy science’s wide applicability to real-world problems. <<

That’s not true. The same standard for “what is science” applies to both models. It is the study of the empirical evidence vis-a-vis the two models that is different. It no more “destroys science’s wide applicability” than do any other two competing paradigms. (Of course, those who erroneously insist that science and evolution are somehow exclusively synonymous will never agree, but that doesn’t change the truth a bit.)

>> I just have never seen a testable creationist hypothesis. <<

Where have you looked?

>> >> You would do well to note that the founders of modern science were largely biblical creationists, << <<

>> James Watson and Francis Crick? Barbara McClintock? Robert Oppenheimer? Albert Einstein? <<

No, I said founders—Pasteur, Newton, Kepler, Boyle, Cuvier, Maxwell, Kelvin, Mendel, Agassiz, and Linnaeus, among others.

>> Do you sense a pattern in my questions to you? <<

Yes. You began by making unsubstantiated claims about science and the supernatural, splattered sarcastic derision on a caricature of creationism, rejected pointed criticism of these practices, and then confessed to having “no idea” of what the creationary paradigm is, yet claimed to have at least read Morris and Gish. You also advanced allegedly “evolutionary” hypotheses, yet without demonstrating unequivocally how they either require evolutionary assumptions or how they substantiate evolutionary theory.

>> I would greatly appreciate it if you could lay down the principles of Creation Science, since I appear to be ignorant of them, and give me some reason why I should consider using them in my own projects. <<

I have neither the time nor the qualifications nor the resources to tutor you in the principles of creation science, but I can assure you that there is plenty of informative material available. If you’re serious, I would encourage you to look at CRSQ and CENTJ, though (like I said) I’ll be happy to suggest a few books.

Kind Regards, TW
 

[Mr. Wild declined to defend his claims or criticisms any further, having felt “insulted” by the accurate description of his use of a caricature of the creation paradigm and his confessed ignorance of the same. -TW]
 

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From: Tim Morken

Such masterful uses of out of context quotes and references! Such ambiguous language! Such denial of masses of evidence aquired by the best minds in the world! Your discussion of the 2nd law alone is unequaled in its obsfucations and lack of understanding! And you would teach the world! By the way, which creation myth do you subscribe to?


Response from Timothy Wallace:

Thank you for your interesting feedback...

>> Such masterful uses of out of context quotes and references! <<

Specifically which quotes and references are “out of context”—and how exactly are they “out of context”?

>> Such ambiguous language! <<

Which specific passages contain what you consider to be ambiguous language, and exactly how is it ambiguous?

>> Such denial of masses of evidence aquired by the best minds in the world! <<

Which specific evidence is “denied”—and exactly how is that evidence “denied”?

>> Your discussion of the 2nd law alone is unequaled in its obsfucations and lack of understanding! <<

Specifically, how so?

>> By the way, which creation myth do you subscribe to? <<

Obviously not yours!

Kind Regards,
TW
 


Response from Tim Morken:

Rather than waste my time replying point by point I’ll leave you to read the rebuttal of your site by Wayne Duck (http://www.mindspring.com/~duckster/evolution/). He does a sufficiently good job to discredit everything you have written.

One problem with all the creationist people is that none (none!) have any understanding of the way science works...


Response from Timothy Wallace:

>> Rather than waste my time replying point by point I’ll leave you to read the rebuttal of your site by Wayne Duck... <<

Your failure to substantiate your own accusations pretty much makes any further dialogue with you a waste of my time.

>> ...He does a sufficiently good job to discredit everything you have written. <<

Wrong: Had you carefully read Duck’s essay, you would know that he has critiqued only ONE of my essays, and he did that more with inaccurate, contrived, and false accusations than with anything involving empirical science—and only after he apparently didn’t do as well as he had hoped in a one-on-one dialogue with me, which is posted at:

http://www.trueorigin.org/9712.asp

>> One problem with all the creationist people is that none (none!) have any understanding of the way science works... <<

In order to be able to truthfully make a statement like this, you would have to have exhaustive personal knowledge of what every creationist knows and does not know (including the 600+ voting members of the CRS who hold masters [or better] degrees in recognized fields of science). It is logically impossible for you to have such exhaustive knowledge, exposing your approach to this topic as based more on sophomoric arrogance, ignorance, and bigotry, rather than an earnest regard for truth, honesty and empirical science itself.

(Like I said, you’ve already wasted more than enough of my time.)

Kind Regards,
TW
 


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