Archive for Saturday, October 1, 2005

See to believe

October 1, 2005

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To the editor:

In response to the many articles concerning the "anti-science" attitude of conservatives, and how the big debate is science vs. religion, I would like to address the definition of "science."

Evolution is not really science. And to be frank, neither is creationism. Science is evidence that we can observe. We cannot scientifically prove that Caesar Augustus ever existed. We may find evidence (documents, tablets, etc.) that support the idea of his existence, but it is still simply a belief, though it may be supported by science.

Now, evolution may be factual. But unless we can observe evolution taking place, it is not science. The Oxford dictionary describes science as "the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment." If we cannot examine it, then we cannot call it "science."

Isaac McPheeters,

Lawrence

Comments

greyhawk 9 years, 8 months ago

Then what about gravity? You cannot directly observe it; rather, one observes its effects. Is gravity no longer subject to scientific inquiry? What about nuclear physics? Can we directly observe the collision of fissionable material at the molecular level? Does the inability to directly observe this event remove it from science? Of course not.
You posit a fallacy: "But unless we can observe evolution taking place, it is not science." This requirement of direct observation is not part of scientific method. The Oxford definition is perfectly fine but you extend its use of the term "observation" to be direct. Observation includes the indirect, such as gravity's effect on an apple...or a beam of light. Or the shadows of subatomic particles that elude direct observation.
Simply because you can't directly see, hear, taste, smell, or feel it doesn't mean that it doesn't exist or that it isn't science.

kuhusker 9 years, 8 months ago

Human beings have only travelled into space as far as the Moon. We've never been any further. Therefore, all of astronomy that deals with objects further out then the moon (i.e. the Sun, other planets, the stars, the galaxy) is by the letter writer's definition, not science.

Jamesaust 9 years, 8 months ago

(Haven't we already read on these pages this argument? Hasn't it already been refuted?)

Sure its science ("the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment"). Observations of phenomena are made (think Charles Darwin). Hypothesis are proposed that would explain the observed phenomena (think Charles Darwin). These hypothesis are then tested in valid and reliable ways, which for evolution (AND MANY OTHER ASPECTS OF THE SCIENCES) means the degree that the hypothesis predict and conform to newly discovered phenomena (think the scientific method). These hypothesis are then adjusted or abandoned as new information comes to light (think all biological theory after Charles Darwin).

In contrast, creationism (a/k/a, intelligent design) does not put forward any hypothesis, other than God did it and indeed, more to the point, did it just the way we see it today. This is not only easily disprovable by the fossil and geological evidence but it also fails to put forward a hypothesis as to the mechanism of this creation - hocus-pocus, abra cadabra! Perhaps the ID'ers could come up with a scientific theory first before demanding to be treated seriously?

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 8 months ago

The ignorance on the part of those who say evolution is not science in these blogs is astounding. Just saying something does not make it a true, although many demgogues would argue that point. Also, wishing really badly that something is true does not make it so.

These attacks on science are just childish wishful thinking.

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