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The Epistemology of the Natural Sciences: False Objectivity and Inductive Reasoning

All knowledge comes through information from others (speaking or writing), Scriptural revelation (God writing) or through inductive reasoning from observations. The last method can never give us settled truth. (Or, as Francis Schaeffer said, “true truth.”) Therefore, it follows, that unless one can deductively determine knowledge of these sciences from Scripture, one does not have a settled truth. That is the epistemological argument. Examples may help, but they only illustrate what is a sound argument in itself. (For definitions of induction and deduction in Glossary.)

Biology is not a settled science. Evolutionary pseudoscience is the most obvious, but not the only example. We piddle around on the beach, play in the waves, and declare that we understand the oceans. Relative to tides around the world: some locations have two tides per day, some have one tide per day, and still others have none.

Chemistry has been said to be a "closed science," in the sense that everything in it is reducible to physics, the atomic "shells," valences, etc. These account for “chemical” reactions. So, examples in physics will suffice for chemistry. Organic chemistry (the realm of living things), however, has complexities which render the theoretical reduction to physics essentially irrelevant. An astounding example is the “ribbon diagram” of a streptococcal and staphylococcal (two kinds of bacteria that infect humans) super antigen -- a rough model -- of the structure of just one immune molecule. Huge and complex! And, the body has dozens of these.

Physics is given away by its scientists who foray into cosmology -- theories of black holes, worm holes, Big Bang, string theory, multiverses, the wave/particle theory of light, etc. They are aggressive in their desire to erase any tiny remnant of a requirement for a Designer. Physicists cannot give a coherent account of gravity or time. They discourse and debate a great deal about a grand unified theory, uniting electromagnetism, gravity, and matter but such discussions are incoherent. You can watch their atom (Greek for that which cannot be split or divided) continue to get split into more and more exotic particles than quarks and the rest of their imaginary particle zoo. Some of their "explanations" make Zen Buddhism seem sensible by comparison. They take their notion of the uncertainty of the position of an electron in its peri-nuclear shell and expand that into a notion that everything is random.

Consider the observations and experience of Gordon H. Clark:

Years ago, scientists abandoned every one of Newton's laws, even the basic assumption that space and time are independent  frameworks within which things move.  Everything the Physics Department of the University of Pennsylvania taught me in 1921 has now been discarded. Lord God of Truth and Concerning the Teacher, 1994, page 36.

These “scientists” are godless and are out to prove that there is no god by great leaps of faith in their own reasoning and flimsy theories. They present a form of 21st century witchcraft! They extrapolate beyond all sensibilities. They have measured the velocity of light in our corner of the universe for about 150 years -- results that are inconsistent and vary a great deal. They inductively conclude that our time-limited, location-limited, and methodology-limited "constants" for the velocity of light are accurate for all space and time. What hubris!

Mathematics is different. It is not a natural science at all. It is a set of decisions about how to relate anything quantitatively. It is composed of sets of decisional rules which are created to correlate with our observations in nature. The Fibonacci number series, found ubiquitously in nature, is absolutely intriguing. The epistemological argument for mathematics would look like this: How do you know that two plus two equals four? Either it is revealed in Scripture (there are short books to establish this by deduction from passages here and there --Numbers for one) or one inductively notices that every time one counts and combines two with two others, one can then count four. Every time we go through this process, we inductively conclude that it is always going to be four, even for items not yet counted and combined. Philosophers like to say that such things are "intuitively true" or words to that near effect. That is just cheating to avoid saying that these things are inductively "true." Mathematics has its zoo as well. For example, what is the "meaning" of the square root of a negative number.

While on some practical and superficial level, some natural sciences may be considered to be “objective,” at a deeper and cosmological level, scientists “faith” in a godless universe and their giant leaps of reasoning are laid bare.

* My thanks to Hilton Terrell for these insightful thoughts, first presented in an email to me.

More Thoughts on Science as Truth

The argument that the appearance of the universe being old is deceptive and that God would not deceive in this way.  (1)Duh! He told us how and when He created in Genesis 1 and 2!  What person is able to deceive by telling the truth, unless the listener is willing to be deceived!

(2) If the Big Bang did occur, as it is theorized, and you were there one second after it occurred, you could not tell whether it was one second old or 25 billion years old.  Your decision of age would be based upon your own assumptions of the facts.  The facts do not interpret themselves.

The problem of what my senses tell me.  "We must 'override the apparent evidence of our senses' all the time in life... My senses tell me that the earth is flat and still and that the sun goes around the earth.  My senses tell me that a friendly looking lion in the zoo wants me to pet him  My sense tell me nothing about the way my computer works.  Anyone who has ever observed a court case involving many witnesses knows that people's observations and senses can be very incorrect... Moreover, our senses tell us nothing about the history of the cosmos.  Our senses react to pain and light and sound, but they have nothing to do with grand philosophical cosmogonic schemes.  It is not the "apparent evidence of our senses" that Genesis 1 may "override," but rather the highly rarified philosophies of our sin-twisted reason.... It is analogous to Jesus turning water into wine in Cana.  The "evidence of our senses" would say that the wine had been made the usual way over a long course of time. (Indeed the attendees senses did indicate such Ed.) ... The same is true regarding the events of the creation of the world."  (James Jordan, Creation in Six Days, Canon Press, 1999, page 117)

We should understand the difference between understanding and pragmatic value.  Modern man, beginning with Thomas Edison, has marvelously learn to use electricity, but there are still considerable mysteries about how it works.

 

 

 

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