virus: Science

Reed Konsler (
Wed, 18 Sep 1996 13:06:37 -0400

>From: Martin Traynor <>
>Date: Tue, 17 Sep 1996 16:37:39 +0000

>The fundaligionists (to borrow a phrase from the freak
>brothers) want evolution to be taught in school only as a theory to
>explain our existence - not as a fact, and that it should be taught
>alongside the creationist Genesis worldview.

Creationism is not a scientific theory...the preponerance of evidence
refutes it. It is thus not something that should be taught in a science
class. Now, I'm for redefining and interconnecting subjects. But
Creationism is not a valid part of biology as that field is currently

>However, any true scientist must agree that evolution *is* just a
>theory, albeit one which has a weight of evidence in its favour...
>implying that one must accept the validity of science and its
>tenets and techniques before one can accept the theory as being
>better than any other. But isn't this exactly the same for any

Sure, but I would argue that the axioms of science are much simpler than
religious axioms, and even the base asumptions are open to refutation in
science. Scientists have thrown out the ideas of completly objective
observation, the continuity of time and space (as well as the continuity of
or perception of it), and other "central theories", like the big bang are
under continious scrutiny. This is not a componeent of religion.

I'm not going to argue that science is superior, since we are comparing
apples and oranges. I find scientific understanding to be more useful and
more predictive in my own life, but it's just a model. I undersyand that
some people find the fickle, uncertian ontology of scientific investigation
unsatisfing in their search for the absolute.

Science will never provide the abslolute, religion does (how true is it?
your call). Perhaps, if you are looking to satisfy that desire for
absolute truth, religion is ends that itch to learn more, to
understand in greater detail.

I like that itch, though.

>Reed hasn't mentioned science, and if it's implicit
>in his statement (it could be, if you look deep enough) he certainly
>hasn't said that it should be exempt from that very same scepticism
>and humility. Yes, there are bad practitioners of science and
>fundamentalism abounds but science is a very powerful tool when used

Thank you, saves me the trouble...

>For my own part, I believe in the power of science. However, I
>equally believe that there is wisdom to be found everywhere and there
>are some questions which science, by definition, cannot even try to

I wholeheartedly agree. But where those lines are is difficult to say.
There are many things science can explain, in a sense (like conciousness)
that people don't want to see explained.

>To draw a parallel, if a mechanic finds that he never uses that 3/5" spanner
>does he throw it out? No. It may find its way into the back of his
>toolbox, it may get lost because he's become careless with it but he
>won't throw it out. 'You never know, I might need it'. We are
>becoming careless with our tools and we risk losing them.

To extent this analogy: Let's say you have a set of old tools that work
pretty good but are all standardized to old Imperial gauges. You start
buying these new metric ones. The metric ones work better. Metric parts
become standard. Tools are heavy. You can only carry a few. Which ones
do you take?

I don't think this argument needs to be allegorical and I take your point.
I just wanted to make sure we avoid fallacy by limited analogy.


Reed Konsler