Saturday, June 09, 2007

Having it both ways: The critics of creationism can't seem to decide which of two mutually exclusive criticisms they want to make

Well, can we say, now that the Darwinist Thought Police have condemned the Creation Museum in Northern Kentucky for making false scientific claims, that the argument popularized by the Katzmiller vs. Dover decision just two years ago--that creationism is not science at all--has now gone by the wayside?

Consider this. Last year the rap on Intelligent Design (which the Darwinists say is just another form of creationism) was that it was not science because science makes falsifiable claims, and Intelligent Design (hereafter referred to as "creationism" at the Darwinists' own insistence) does not make falsifiable claims. And since it was not science, it shouldn't be taught in science classes.

This criterion (the "falsifiability criterion") for what constitutes science comes from philosopher of science Karl Popper, and is the preferred criterion used by the scientific establishment to avoid arguing the merits of positions that disagree with currently popular dogmas--except when, like now, in the case of the Creation Museum, they want to turn around and say that creationists make false (and therefore falsifiable) claims.

In other words, they argue on the one hand that creationism isn't science because it isn't falsifiable. Then they turn right around and say that creationism makes false claims. But if creationism's claims are false, then they are falsifiable claims, and therefore scientific. You can't have it both ways: either it is science, in which case the worst you can say about it is that it is not good science (since it makes false claims), or it is not science at all, in which case you cut yourself off from saying that it makes false claims.

Back to my original question--does the assault on the Creation Museum indicate that the "Creationism isn't science" position is dead?--I think obviously not. In fact, the Darwinists make whichever of these two mutually exclusive arguments suits their case at the time. Just wait a couple months and they'll be back to the first argument, counting on the fact that we will have forgotten about the one they're making now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Actually saying that something isn't falsifiable and saying that it's false are by no means mutually exclusive statements. Creationists gleefully do both: make false claims and make unfalsifiable claims.

If you take a moment to look into the claims made by creationists, a lot of them are patently false. Many of them are even debunked by other creationists. The "Paluxy man tracks" claim is obviously false, as are most of Hovind's bizarre claims. Creation science makes testable hypotheses, and they have all been falsified. "Creation science" is not unfalsifiable, just false.

Intelligent design, on the other hand, makes untestable hypotheses. Disproving every anecdotal example does not disprove that something might happen somewhere. By definition, it is not science. ID says that there are "elements" in that natural world that are too complex to have originated via known mechanisms. That assertion is unfalsifiable because it's anecdotal. Behe's irreducible complexity is one of these. Despite the fact that his examples of structures which are "irreducible" have been disproven, his "hypothesis" is so vague that as long as something remains that has not been clearly explained, you can't disprove his assertion. That makes it unfalsifiable, and thus, unscientific. When one comes up with something that's as hopelessly vague as ID, it's impossible to disprove.