Saturday, March 05, 2011

How Scientism Destroys Science

Introduction:  I have been interacting on and off with an anti-creationist detractor named "David" on this blog for some time and I think that his question below gets to the heart of the issue as it pertains to discussions and debates between atheistic Darwinists and young earth creationists. 


You asked, "I really am curious if there is any evidence that you would accept as 'sinking' young earth creationism . . .?"

No, because the problem isn't facts, it's the philosophy of fact. What I'm about to write isn't meant to be derogatory, but you seem to be naively assuming that the "facts speak for themselves".  For example, when evolutionist Mary Schweitzer discovered red blood cells in T-rex soft-tissue, I knew that at least one of two things would happen: (1) evolutionists would deny that the samples were genuine erythrocytes and soft-tissue, and/or (2) some evolutionists would agree that it was a genuine find but would instead argue that soft tissue can be preserved in situ for 65 million years.  I was correct on both counts.  Of course, finding unfossilized dinosaurian soft tissue is perfectly consistent with young earth creationism (hereafter YEC), but given what I've been told by creation scientists, maintaining any soft-tissue integrity via the best cryogenic conditions isn't possible beyond 10,000 years.  Thus, creationists argue that the idea of biological tissue surviving for 65 million years in situ is preposterous.  Nevertheless, because evolutionary "faith" demands it, some evolutionists have dogmatically asserted otherwise, namely, that dinosaur soft-tissue can remain preserved and unfossilized for at least 65 million years.  So why aren't the creationists and evolutionists changing their mind but instead are sticking their ground?  Its because the facts don't speak for themselves.  All facts are pre-interpreted facts that are run through one's mental filter known as a worldview, which consists of a network of presuppositions that aren't testable through the procedures of natural science.  This mental filter determines what one will and will not accept as metaphysically possible.  As Augustine and others after him so eloquently put it, "I believe so that I may understand."  So it goes with YEC proponents, so it goes with the naturalist.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.   

Naturalism Undermines Cognitive Reliability

It gets worse because on naturalist lights, it is impossible to know whether anything is really true or not given the conjunction of Darwinian Evolution with Naturalism. Of course, your comments have always assumed that naturalism is true, that we are autonomous (vs. being dependent and accountable to God as His creatures), that we have the cognitive prowess within ourselves to figure out our problems on our own, without deferring to what skeptics would consider to be a mere imaginative philosophical crutch called "God".  However, you seem to be unaware that certain things about reality that you take for granted and use to undermine creationism couldn't be true if Darwinism and naturalism were true.  Quoting from naturalistic materialists, Darwin himself confessed,
With me, the horrid doubt always arises, whether the convictions of a man's mind, which have been developed from the minds of lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Why would anyone trust the convictions of a monkey's mind, if there were any convictions in such a mind?
Physicalist atheist philosopher Patricia Churchland was consistent when she said this:
Boiled down to essentials, a nervous system enables the organism to succeed in the four F's: feeding, fleeing, fighting, and reproducing. The principle chore of nervous systems is to get the body parts where they should be in order that the organism may survive. . . . . Improvements in sensorimotor control confer an evolutionary advantage: a fancier style of representing is advantageous so long as it is geared to the organism's way of life and enhances the organism's chances of survival [Churchland's emphasis]. Truth, whatever that is, definitely takes the hindmost.
 And so my questions for you are twofold:

1.  Given naturalism, evolutionary theory, and the conjunction between those two, what basis do you have to believe that your cognitive faculties are reliable given naturalism and evolution? And to offer a follow-up question:

2.  If what you say is true, how can you can figure out your problems on your own since the very cognitive faculties you use to problem solve to answer my objections to atheism are called into question by the very process they supposedly arose from?

Naturalism is Metaphysically Contradictory and Self-Refuting

It appears that your underlying philosophical assumption for evaluating evidence is empiricism. But in the process of their argumentation, most empiricists are unaware that they annihilate empirical science itself, the very thing that they have put their "faith" in.  Science depends upon nonempirical ideas such as the uniformity of nature and the predictability of future events in order to function or teach us anything. But empirical verification must apply only to a particular time, place, and entity to be examined. I cannot empirically prove that the sun will rise tomorrow until I test the hypothesis tomorrow. But the past cannot be used to predict the future if no metaphysical truths are valid. Thus, science as we know it would then become impossible. Knowledge (science in this case) could mean no more than the reception of unrelated and there unintelligible sensations, bombarding the senses from the physical world.

Also, when you use logic and reason to suggest that YEC is invalid or contradicts "well-established facts", you are utilizing cognitive tools that are not themselves empirically verifiable. In other words, the laws, concepts, criteria, and propositions you appeal to to make your case are not themselves testable, demonstrable, or empirically proven. They are abstract, immaterial, and universal. Since when has anyone seen, smelled, or touched the law of non-contradiction? Thus, reasoning itself is destroyed as the human mind is reduced to a random collection of atoms and electrochemical events that we cannot assume is anything more than a statistical anomaly. We cannot even speak of the brain revealing a pattern if all knowledge is purely empirical. And then who is to say that the atomic event constituting my brain leading me to believe in Jesus Christ is any more or less "valid" than the atomic event of your brain leading you to put your "faith" in naturalistic materialism? Thus, the validity of any argument involves an appeal to various metaphysical (transcendental) criteria.

For instance, how do we know that to be an empiricist is valid? That is a metaphysical question. A material event accessible to the senses is neither valid nor invalid; it is just an event. This is why there are no such things as brute facts. All facts are interpreted facts.

In my experience of interacting with intelligent unbelievers, they correctly note that the creationist assumes the metaphysical propositions of the Bible before coming to the evidence. However, I have also noted that fellows like yourself rarely see that you are metaphysician too; just one of another kind. You too are a person of faith. You presuppose materialism by limiting the nature of existence without any warrant (empirical or otherwise) to do so. Consequently, you seek to disprove metaphysics by using your own metaphysic, and thus adhere to a self-referentially absurd worldview.

, a person holding this view of reality has undermined the very possibility of any knowledge whatsoever, whereas Biblical Christian theism provides us with the philosophical grounding for knowledge (scientific or otherwise), logic, and the intelligibility of human experience.


  1. Keep in mind that soft, viable tissue wasn't just found in one specimen, but in a number of them, including hadrosaur remains that Schweitzer and her team had three independent labs verify just so she could preempt the radical evolutionary critics of her findings.

  2. I have posted some quotes from Dallas Willard,certainly not a YECèr to my knowledge, from some of his writings regarding how naturalism makes it difficult to account for Knowledge, Truth and Noetic Unity.

    Whether aa person is a YECèr or not, Naturalism does have a real problem accounting for Knowledge.

    I get the impression that Atheist writers don`t respond because they hope perhaps no one will notice the problem.

    Unrelated but maybe not, if the Aristotelian explanatory paradigm regarding causes is still workable then why cannot a theist practice science and use this cause paradigm when explaining that they are doing science ... that God as the final cause for explaining everything is still viable and accounts for the knowledge one has discovered.

  3. "Nevertheless, because evolutionary "faith" demands it, some evolutionists have dogmatically asserted otherwise"

    This is ridiculous. One piece of evidence against something that was already well supported does not mean it is automatically false. For example, I'm assuming you're a Christian who believes in the bible. If I point out a ridiculous contradiction in it, are you going to say "Oh you're right, I guess I'm not a Christian any more" or are you going to come up with an excuse to explain it away? Obviously the latter (and don't suggest there aren't any contradictions, that's ridiculous).

  4. Suika,

    I would suggest to you that there are not any contradictions in the Bible. If there were, I would not be a Christian.

  5. Suika,

    What's wrong with being ridiculous? Why *should* I be rational? Why can't I contradict myself, and you, and the Bible and rub cabbage patch dolls with red peanut butter while sleeping faster than blue?

  6. Hi GREV,

    You asked,

    "if the Aristotelian explanatory paradigm regarding causes is still workable then why cannot a theist practice science and use this cause paradigm when explaining that they are doing science ... that God as the final cause for explaining everything is still viable and accounts for the knowledge one has discovered."

    That's the problem, atheistic physicists now argue that the universe didn't necessarily have to have a first cause. Thus, they cast aside Aristotle's prime mover argument by appealing to "uncaused quantum fluctuations" per quantum mechanics. Of course, there much I could say about that, but I need to work on my teaching notes for tomorrow!

  7. Dusman -- Say More! I recall reading sdomething about the fluctuation issue but one still is back to how they account for this knowledge under a naturalistic framework.

    That is the issue I cannot seem to get a response on from someone defending the atheist viewpoint.

  8. I too must go and rest for tomorrow's services.


    While not, perhaps specifically on topic, a possible explanation for naturalistic reliability?

  10. "How Scientism Destroys Science"

    I think many/most people haven't even heard of the term "Scientism", let alone know what it is.

    Therefore, my humble suggestion is to help the term "Scientism" gain widespread exposure. Then they will ask what it is and what it means. Then a conversation can start about Scientism and alternatives.

    Good post, Dusman!

  11. Excellent post. I am wondering: are you a Scripturalist, Dusman?

  12. "How Scientism Destroys Science"

    I think many/most people haven't even heard of the term "Scientism", let alone know what it is.

    Therefore, my humble suggestion is to help the term "Scientism" gain widespread exposure. Then they will ask what it is and what it means. Then a conversation can start about Scientism and alternatives."

    I would heartily concur.

    I recall a few years back asking an atheist about their knowledge of Scientism and I was accused of propogating a fundamentalist smear of science.

  13. Thomas,

    Perhaps you should have a read of this website:
    Regardless, my point stands. One piece of evidence against a belief does not automatically prove it, especially if the evidence is disputable.

  14. RoBe,

    No, that doesn't answer the EAAN since to say that our beliefs are confirmed by consistent experience while assuming the reliability of our cognitive faculties in interpreting those supposedly consistent experiences begs the question.


    No, I'm not a Scripturalist, but I do like much of what Clark had to say, though I think his his dismissal of the *general* reliability of our senses contradicts Scripture (Matt. 16:1-3). I also think that all people will have to assume the very thing they are arguing for when it comes to issues of ultimacy. Thus, all worldviews are circular to one extent or another. Here's a basic, elementary overview of my apologetic:


    What's wrong with being irrational given your belief that we're all evolved pondscum? After all, if my brain is the end product of the evolutionary chain of events, then perhaps my brain has evolved to embrace contradictions and yours has evolved to embrace atheism and to hate contradictions. Either way, our cognitive faculties wouldn't necessarily be equating to truth, so why demand that one be rational given atheism?

    Also, what *morally obligates* me or anyone else to be rational given atheism? How do I get ethical normativity from mere molecules in motion?