31 December 2004, reposted and updated 9–10 December 2006
The main response is to a critic who took exception to Dr Jonathan Sarfati’s detailed response to an anticreationist called Dr Lawrence Lerner, Who’s really pushing bad science? His response defends the important difference between operational and origins science. There is also a brief exchange about why atrocities in the name of Christ are no parallel to those in the name of evolution — the former are inconsistent with Christ’s teachings while the latter are not inconsistent with evolution. But the main teaching point in the response is the commonly overlooked metascientific issues — the propositions required for science to work in the first place. The point is that these propositions are deducible from the axioms of Bible, while atheists must merely accept them as given because they can’t deduce them from their axiom ‘God does not exist.’ The strong Christian roots of the birth of modern science is a very well kept secret in much of the media and education system.
A second response is a type of meta-feedback — a feedback on the feedback responses, in particular, to some of the angrier critics as well as to churchians who yoke with a theory that is a major crutch for the atheistic faith.
To whom it may concern,
Dr Jonathan Sarfati has outlined a very carefully worded and closely reasoned argument as to the differences between “operational science”, as he calls it, and “origin science” (in the article Who’s really pushing bad science?).
These terms are not my inventions. And I clearly demonstrated why there is a fundamental distinction.
I write a lot on a wide range of topics, so it is not really fair to attack any particular article as “narrowly focused”. Indeed, it is only natural that any given article is “narrowly focused”, since it is supposed to deal with the topic at hand.
Well, yes, and if he wants to lead with his chin, you can’t blame us for reacting accordingly ;)
Of course. So why do so many people claim that science contradicts biblical creation? And that was the whole point of why I said that creation and evolution are matters of origins science.
Rather, your efforts might be better spent in reading what I actually say rather than reading them superficially then resorting to “poisoning the well”. And you should also have taken note of what we often say about investigations needing a framework of interpretation. It matters not whether I or an evolutionist makes the investigation—this becomes public property, and it is perfectly legitimate to show why it makes best sense under a biblical framework.
And that demonstrates the folly of compromising churchians marrying their theology with today’s science, because they will be widowed tomorrow.
I’m not sure what he could mean by that. Natural selection is a description of an observable process, so is part of true operational science. In fact, it was proposed by creationists such as Edward Blyth 25 years before Darwin, and is an important part of the Creation-Fall-Flood dispersion model, as I explain in Variation and natural selection versus evolution. This doesn’t mean it is the only explanation of any observation.
All this is fine for operational science, precisely because it involves repeatable observations. (However it is a bit of a naïve, high school textbook view about how real science operates—see If you are truly scientists …). This is precisely why it doesn’t apply to origins science. Furthermore, such rigorous testing means dealing with probabilities (statistical analysis). Such analysis can only be done with unbiased repeated measurements so that the degree of natural variation can be properly accounted for. This is not possible with historical/origins science.
No it won’t—as I said, natural selection is part of the six-day creation paradigm, which was so fruitful in the origin of modern operational science, as explained in the article in question—Creationist contributions to science.
Not at all, as I explained very carefully in the article in question—The belief system behind evolution. Sure, they can dispute the fine details of evolution, but not the underlying paradigm of naturalism.
|Backdrop: two first cousins: Charles Darwin (left) and Francis Galton (right). Foreground: Adolf Hitler, the best known proponent of their ideas.|
The latter is definitely illogical—remember the KKK bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, 15 September 1963, which killed four black girls. This shows once more the virulently anti-Christian attitudes held by fanatical racists.
How can one even talk about a “misuse” of the Bible when these racists were invoking something not mentioned in the Bible at all? We should also remember that atrocities committed by professing Christians were completely contrary to the teachings of Christ, while the atrocities of 20th century Nazis and Communists were totally consistent with evolutionary teaching.
Oh, come on. Darwin’s book, The Descent of Man (1871) proposed the inferiority of “black” people and that the strong (whites) would eventually overrule the weak (blacks). The Nazi propaganda films often illustrated strong animals overpowering the weak from both within and between species. Then they applied this to humans—after all, according to evolution, humans are just another animal. And evolutionary theory is mainly concerned with intraspecific competition—just think of the alleged proofs for evolution in the varieties within a single species, e.g., dog breeds and peppered moths. So, the fact that we are a single species does not mean that ‘struggle for survival’ is not relevant in evolutionary thinking regarding humankind.
There is an interesting overview of this in the latest [18(3) at time of writing] Journal of Creation / TJ: J. Warren Nelson, Genetic variability and human history, Journal of Creation 18(3):18–23, 2004. Nelson points out that Africans’ greater genetic variability is consistent with a larger population migrating to Africa after Babel. He also points out evidence of a more severe genetic bottleneck for humans than many other land animals, because the former suffered both the Flood and Babel while the latter suffered only the Flood.
Someone has to, because the secular educators are still pushing these discredited aspects. In any case, many of us focus far more in informing people of the role of biases in understanding origins, the intractable problems with chemical evolution as an explanation for life’s origin, the encyclopedic quantities of information that characterize all living organisms and defy naturalist theories of origin, and the exquisite design in life and the universe that are beyond the reach of random mutations and natural selection.
It’s strange then, how they are still in many textbooks. Even Ernst Mayr, probably the leading evolutionist of the last century, still advocated Haeckel’s idea in What Evolution Is, p. 28, Basic Books, NY, 2001.
Once again, this reveals a misunderstanding of the nature of science and the operational/origins distinction. Copernicus vs. Ptolemy was clearly an example of operational science.
No, I just point out the facts of the materialist stranglehold on the scientific establishment, and their double standards of complaining that we don’t publish overtly creationist papers in journals they control.
Of course, and that’s why we promote operational science so much, and indeed why creationists founded operational science, the science that has brought huge benefits to the whole world.
All the same, it’s very likely that many people will benefit. After all, we are trying to restore the traditions of the creationist fathers of modern science by reminding readers of the foundations for science itself, without which it cannot function:
It is no accident that science has flowered since the Reformation. And it is no accident that the country with the strongest remnants of Bible-based Christian faith, the USA, leads the world by a mile in the output of useful science. And note that when evolution was largely banned in schools during the alleged scientific nadir between the Scopes Trial and Sputnik, American schools produced more Nobel prizes than the rest of the world combined. In fact, America produced twice as many as all other countries—this was especially pronounced in the biological field (physiology and medicine), supposedly one that can’t do without evolution.
Of course, our careful readers will know that we had no intention of disproving an important part of our model!
Dr Sarfati, I welcome you in helping to do what every investigator in the life sciences has been trying to do for more than a century now: to prove the null hypothesis to the theory of natural selection. If you make it there first, my hat’s off to you.
Alas, I can’t take my hat off to you, since you’re laboring under a severe misconception about the biblical creation model. I suggest you do a lot more reading of the material on our website to get a much clearer picture of what we are about.
Jonathan Sarfati, Ph.D.
CMI (Brisbane, Australia)
I have been reading through past online articles tonight. I especially enjoy Dr Sarfati’s rebuttals to various angry commentors. Dr Sarfati is so clear and precise in his counters, and so GENTLE. It would be, I suppose, easier to disregard such comments or to attack the anti-creationists in like fashion. But Dr Sarfati displays profound amounts of grace and patience in his replies.
Those who make such angry comments really don’t have anything to say. It is clear that they rant from an emotional response, not from genuine intellectual offense. I am the most upset, however, by those who claim to be Christians while telling Creationists they must abandon their “fringe” viewpoints and align themselves with other theists for no reason other than unity. (The ages-old question “if all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you follow” comes to mind right now.)
If the Bible isn’t true, there is no Christianity, no Christians, no Christ, no reality, nothing to believe in or to hope for.
Thanks to [your site] for providing guidance and direction to a world with so many questions, and thanks to Dr Sarfati for being such a good communicator and a good witness.