Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Why should creationists bother with science?...

Reasons to Believe is a Christian apologetic organization dedicated to,
show that science and faith are, and always will be, allies, not enemies. Our mission is to bring that life-changing truth to as many people as possible, both believers and unbelievers.
In their dealings with scientists they have realized that in order to be taken seriously, as scientists, they must present their theories in scientific form. That is, they must develop scientific models that are testable, regardless of whether the models have a foundation in the Christian worldview. Is it a pipe dream to expect secular scientists to accept a well prepared creation model for testing? Possibly not. Consider the following comments from P. Z. Myers evolution-based blog Pharyngula with regards to a post P. Z. made regarding his meeting with the Discovery Institute's Paul Nelson:
Professional conferences are exactly the place for IDers or creation scientists or other "opponents of the status quo" to propose papers and posters. Conferences are where new ideas get brought up, shot down, re-propped up, retooled, run up flagpoles, and in general, placed before colleagues with the intent to persuade them to join you in building new theories. I say good for Paul for coming to the conference and doing so. Other IDers should do the same thing, though obviously more effort is spent organizing their own conferences aimed at the general public than doing research aimed at convincing the scholarly public. But after presenting the paper or poster, what needs to be done -- if this were REALLY theory-building -- is to take the criticisms of peers back to the lab or library and rework the ideas, do some more tests, think about it some more, and then put forth the revised version of your idea, and see if you gain any more converts. Eventually, if your ideas are any good, others will pick them up and begin applying them, and a group of scholars will begin to form around you. THAT is how new ideas enter the body of science. The IDers seem to take the first step, but avoid the follow-through. And that is why they aren't taken seriously as scholars. - Dr. Eugenie Scott As Genie mentions, poster presentations are opportunities to toss up new ideas and work in progress and let the attendees do the peer-reviewing. I agree that it was commendable for Nelson to make the effort. I am concerned that the DI hasn't taken the necessary steps to do real science, but they are going to pretend that they have in their press releases...but that isn't grounds to change policy at scientific meetings, and we should still encourage these guys to continue to try and show us the substance behind their claims. - Dr. P. Z. Myers
To that end, the scholars at RTB have been working on developing such models. Granted, their work is in its infancy, and it is a formidable task, but they do intend on meeting the justifiably reasonable requests from the likes of Scott and Myers.

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