Re: virus: Science

Martin Traynor (
Thu, 19 Sep 1996 12:42:12 +0000


On 18 Sep 96 at 13:06, Reed Konsler wrote:

> >From: Martin Traynor <>
> >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
> understood

Agreed. My understanding of the proposed legislation was that it
insists that evolution should only be taught as a theory and that
much I agree with. I think that schools (or at least any
schools I would want to send my kids to) should be places primarily
for the teaching of the science. I don't think that creationism has a place
in a biology class but I do think that people benefit from a broad
base of knowledge, including theology. Not instruction designed to
foster a belief in a particular ideology but to bring an awareness of
the range of ideologies that are out there and to encourage that the
subject, as with all other subjects, should be examined impartially
and critically if at all.

> 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.

A central theory and an axiom are not the same thing when we deal
with science so big bang / evolution etc. don't really apply. At
first glance your point about objectivity is a good one. Objective
measurement is central to science and yes, science has recognised
that it cannot be achieved but it has not thrown away the axiom. It
still strives to be as objective as it can, while at the same time
recognising that perfection in this respect is unattainable. Some
might call that dogma, or at least quixotic. For what it's worth, I
don't and your next paragraph sums it up nicely.

> 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.

It's a model, and better yet when used correctly it's a model that
recognises its own limitations (objectivity).

> To extent this analogy [mechanics]: 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 take the metric ones, but I know that if they can't do the job I
can return to the garage, rummage around in that old toolbox in the
corner and dig out..yes, you've guessed it..the trusty old 3/5.

> 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.

Fair point, and for what it's worth I agree. The analogy was perhaps
a bad one as I wasn't suggesting that every mechanic should posess
the full range of tools but that they should all be in *someones*

Version: 2.6.2i
Comment: Requires PGP version 2.6 or later.


Martz <>
For my PGP key, email me with 'Send public key' as subject