Archive for Thursday, October 21, 2004

A nonscience

October 21, 2004

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To the editor:

Todd Wilson ("Science lacking," Journal-World, Oct. 17), in criticizing John Hoopes, writes that neither evolution nor creation was observed, so neither can be science. As a cognitive psychologist, I have never witnessed a mental process. Similarly, we have never seen gravity or nuclear activity. However, all of these leave evidence of their properties in their wake, evidence that is both observable and repeatable.

I have seen pictures of the brain as mental processes are carried out, and the behavior that results from them. I then can use these repeatable observations to build an explanation of the underlying mental processes that gave rise to them.

Likewise, we look at the observable evidence in the form of the fossil record and then build an explanation of how that record came to existence in the form that it did. This process has given rise to evolutionary theory, which, as new facts are observed, may be confirmed, adjusted, or scrapped altogether.

Creationism, on the other hand, begins with the explanation itself, irrespective of the observable record. The facts are then interpreted, or reinterpreted, to fit with the explanation. The latter approach is distinctly nonscience, and has no place in the science classroom.

Greg Simpson,

Lawrence

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