Natural science

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Natural science refers to the branches of science dedicated to study of the natural (that is, created) world.

The best known natural sciences include astronomy, physics, chemistry, and biology.

Contents

Objectivity

Science is popularly thought of as being a very objective pursuit, but some evolutionists argue otherwise.

Milford Wolpoff:
In my view, “objectivity” does not exist in science. Even in the act of gathering data, decisions about what data to record and what to ignore reflect the framework of the scientist.[1]
John Gribbin and Jeremy Cherfas:
…we do know that the popular image of the scientist as a dispassionate seeker after the truth could not be further from reality.[2]

Nevertheless, the scientific method and peer review are intended to ensure that scientific research is done as objectively as possible.

Beginnings

Although some early civilizations, particularly Greece, developed some scholarship, it was not until the 1500s in Europe that science proper developed. This was due to the prevailing Christian world view, that taught that the creation was not itself Divine, but was the product of a consistent Creator who didn't change His creation, such as the laws of physics, on a whim.

Loren Eiseley:

The philosophy of experimental science … began its discoveries and made use of its methods in the faith, not the knowledge, that it was dealing with a rational universe controlled by a creator who did not act upon whim nor interfere with the forces He had set in operation … . It is surely one of the curious paradoxes of history that science, which professionally has little to do with faith, owes its origins to an act of faith that the universe can be rationally interpreted, and that science today is sustained by that assumption.[3]

Rodney Stark:

...theological assumptions unique to Christianity explain why science was born only in Christian Europe. Contrary to the received wisdom, religion and science not only were compatible; they were inseparable.[4]

David A. Noebel:

The fact that science arose at all is powerful testimony to the truth of Christianity. As Louis Victor de Broglie says, "We are not sufficiently astonished by the fact that any science may be possible." This is especially true of the Marxist and the Secular Humanist. They do not understand that science could never have been conceived in a society dominated by their worldviews. Historian and philosopher of science Stanley Jaki says that "the belief in a personal rational Creator ... as cultivated especially within a Christian matrix ... supported the view for which the world was an objective and orderly entity investigable by the mind because the mind too was an orderly and objective product of the same rational, that is, perfectly consistent Creator." Man believed science possible because man believed in a God of reason and order.[5]

Indeed, many of the early scientists, such as Galileo, Johannes Kepler, and Sir Isaac Newton were people who believed in the literal truth of Genesis and who based their science on their belief in a Creator.[6]

Philosophical basis

The following philosophical assumptions provide a basis for science.[7] Christianity provides each one.

  • That the universe is real. Not all philosophies believe that the universe really exists.
  • That the universe is orderly. The Bible teaches that God is not the the author of confusion.[8] Some other views (e.g. atheistic views) hold that the universe is the result of chance or that the gods are capricious (e.g. ancient Greek religion).
  • That mankind may investigate the universe. Some religions believe that the creation itself is divine, whereas the Bible teaches that God gave man dominion over creation.[9]
  • That our thoughts are rational. The Bible teaches that God made man in His image[10], whereas atheism believes that our thoughts are the result of a series of accidents, and our thoughts are merely electrochemical processes.

Types of science

Science can be subdivided into two categories, operational science and origins science.[11]

Operational science deals mostly with things in the present, which scientists are able to observe, measure, and test. If, for example, someone claims that water boils at 110 degrees Celsius at sea level, you can test for yourself to see if that is really true (and discover that it's not).

Origins science deals with things in the past. Scientists do not have the past to observe, measure, and test, so the conclusions of historical science must be somewhat more tentative than empirical science. If, for example, someone claims that birds evolved from dinosaurs more than 65 million years ago, it is difficult to formulate an experiment to effectively support or deny this claim. Because of this, origins science tends to function through observation of historical records, as well as extrapolating current data (which can easily be experimentally validated) into the past. In addition, it is common for theories to be tested on their adherence to the available evidence; for example, the discovery of Tiktaalik in the predicted strata for a transitional form between tetrapods and fish.[12]

In some cases, such as astronomy, the distinction between the two becomes somewhat muddled; Due to the finiteness of the speed of light over astronomical distances, current observations of most astronomical phenomena are dealing with the far-distant past, but experiments and observations are easily performed - it is common for a theoretical prediction to be compared with observed data.

Bibliography

Stark, Rodney, For The Glory of God: How Monotheism Led to Reformations, Science, Witch-hunts and the End of Slavery, Princeton University Press, 2003, ISBN 978-0691114361.

References

  1. Wolpoff, M.H., Paleoanthropology, Second Edition, McGraw-Hill, Boston, p. iv, 1999, quoted by Ryan Jaroncyk, Turkana Boy—getting past the propaganda (Creation Ministries International), 21st March 2007.
  2. Gribbin, J. and Cherfas, J., The First Chimpanzee: In Search of Human Origins, Penguin Books, London, p. 148, 2001, quoted by Ryan Jaroncyk, Turkana Boy—getting past the propaganda (Creation Ministries International), 21st March 2007.
  3. L. Eiseley: Darwin’s Century: Evolution and the Men who Discovered It (Anchor, NY: Doubleday, 1961), quoted in Sarfati, Jonathan, Refuting Evolution, Chapter 1.
  4. Stark, 2003, introduction.
  5. Noebel, David A., "The Battle for Truth", p. 355, Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Oregon, 2001 ISBN 0-7369-0782-3.
  6. Scientists of the past who believed in a Creator (Creation Ministries International).
  7. Sarfati, Jonathan, "Leaving your Brains at the Church Door", Video 2 of "Retaking the Ground", Creation Ministries International.
  8. 1_Corinthians 14:33
  9. Genesis 1:28
  10. Genesis 1:26
  11. Sarfati, Jonathan, and Matthews, Michael, Refuting Evolution 2, Chapter 1
  12. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v440/n7085/abs/nature04639.html
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