Thursday, September 13, 2012


In an attempt to assert the hypothesis of the expected volatile reaction between two ingredients I shaped and molded the clay into a stunningly uneven cone. I had one of those cheap water bottles on the inside of the cone to be a sort of mixing chamber for my 'experiment.' I filled out a sheet of paper under the heading 'Scientific Method' with a hypothesis, a list of materials, and gave a brief description of what I was about to attempt. I was yet another homeschooler doing the ever popular: baking soda and vinegar volcano, for the umpteenth time. Is this science? According to the famous atheist Richard Dawkins, when I do it, it is not.
Dawkins states "Even if there were no actual evidence in favor of the Darwinian theory...we should still be justified in preferring it over all rival theories." He is specifically referring to Intelligent Design as that 'rival theory.' If you read Dawkins and many other scientists with years of experience under their belts they will tell you that the worldview with which you come at science action will dictate whether or not what you are doing is really science at all. Published in the scientific journal, Nature, is a quote from a Kansas State University professor which is a little more clear in stating this position: "Even if all data pointed to an intelligent designer, such an hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic." Accordingly, if the action does not come from a naturalistic perspective it is not science at all.
It all starts with the definition of science. If you define it as "the testing of hypotheses and the development of theories based on the results of that testing. With a preconceived belief that the world is purely naturalistic and free from all supernatural invention" then its game-over for me. The uber-smart scientists have won. They are right, experimentation and theory making that comes from the perception that there is a supernatural being in the universe cannot be science. I, however, believe that science is something different. It has little or no relation to a man's worldview. It is free from the consequences of your position on God or dinosaurs or the Dodgers. At the start of an experiment you have a belief and after the experiment that belief could, remain unaffected because it is inapplicable. Second, it could be affirmed because the experiment supported your hypothesis because it was born out of that belief. Third, it could change your belief because there is no evidence to support your belief-born hypothesis. This the very effectiveness of science itself, otherwise it is completely fruitless. For the first definition science becomes an elite club of naturalists or whatever other worldview is guilty of limiting the members of club "Theistic Science." Science is designed to make those who are eager to learn, but may not know everything, far wiser about the way things work in this universe. Not to prove the theory of naturalistic origin. Science is discovery, not just proof of one's position. I think much of the scientific world, despite their brains, is slightly messed up. Prejudice ought not play any part in science.
The next step is to redefine science. A more appropriate definition of science would be "the testing of hypotheses and the development of theories based on the results of that testing with an eagerness to learn." World Book Dictionary defines science as "knowledge based on observed facts and tested truth arranged in an ordered system." Still is has no relation to someones preset beliefs. If we are required to come at experimentation with a particular belief then science becomes religion and not the discovery of truth. Many creation scientists are often accused of making science a religion. They could be guilty of doing so, but they are not guilty as charged if they are merely making and testing hypotheses with no requirement for what you believe before that.
If I pour my vinegar into the small lump of baking soda at the bottom of that clay covered water bottle I am doing science. It may not be very impressive test of reaction, not perhaps as shooting molecules through a specially designed tube to find a particles interact when they collide; nonetheless, I am testing the hypothesis that "When baking soda and vinegar are mixed they will create a release of bubbling fluid and a mixture of sodium acetate and water will be left when the reaction is finished." I have my hypothesis, I pour in the vinegar, and voila: I get the desired result, I have fun, and I am doing science.
Another long and Boring post....