Science and Worldviews

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, October 31, 2014 10 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

The primary thing I’ve been learning about in the Cadre with the Creation Truth Foundation is about worldviews. Back in February, I described what a Worldview is and what a Biblical Worldview is. We have also been learning about a lot of science. How do these two interact? Is there a conflict between science and the Biblical worldview? Or does this whole origins debate actually boil down to a debate between worldviews?

First let me clarify what a worldview is and what a worldview is not. A worldview is a set of principles, presuppositions, and convictions that mold and shape how you look at everything around you. It acts as a filter that determines which knowledge we consider to be true and which knowledge we consider to be false. A worldview usually acts subconsciously, but it acts and influences our every day decisions both big and small. A worldview is NOT personal opinion, nor is it political philosophy, though our worldview will affect these. A worldview is NOT educational progression, though education can play a role in how our worldview is formed. A worldview is also NOT held by strong emotions, though our worldview will draw them out.

Our worldview addresses many key questions including: Does God exist? Is the Bible true? Where am I from? Why am I here? Who am I? Where am I going? What can I include for x discussion? Most of us really don’t think about these questions very often, yet the answers to these questions influence our daily lives in the same way the heart influences our daily lives and activities. And one area in which our worldview has a major influence is science.

Now science is very often misconstrued with the philosophy of science, or scientism. Scientism is itself a worldview; one that only considers that which science can address to be considered valid. But let’s dig a little deeper into this. First, science is NOT a philosophy. It is a method that we use to acquire knowledge. And that method is called the scientific method. This is a valid way we can gain knowledge. The scientific method has five major steps, though you might know them under different terms or in a slightly different order. The steps are:

(1) Formulate a Hypothesis: This is the step where you raise a question about an aspect that you want to explore. It is where you come up with an idea you want to test and seek to find out if it is true or not. For example, on the TV show Mythbusters, the hypothesis being put to the test is always what happens in the myth.

(2) Observation: Observation can occur before or after you formulate your hypothesis. It also occurs during the experiment. Observation is where you take a look at things that have already been done or have already happened to gather preliminary data on your question. It also occurs as the experiment it taking place. An example here would be with Isaac Newton and discovering gravity. He was in his house staring out his yard when he saw an apple fall. He observed the apple falling. This is the same as observing in an experiment but it got him thinking and that eventually led to his discovery of gravity. Observation relies and depends on your senses to be able to register what is happening.

(3) Setup/Execute Experiment: This is the glorious part of the scientific method and what everyone thinks of. This is where we set things up to put our hypothesis to the test. And it reveals if our hypothesis works out or doesn’t.

(4) Interpretation: This is where we take the data that we record and we come up with a conclusion about what it means and why. It usually relates to the hypothesis, and we determine if the hypothesis was accurate or not, or if there is something we explored correctly or not.

(5) Report Findings: The report is what everyone else sees from the experiment. This includes all the data from setting up the experiment, from the results, and how the experiment was performed. It also includes the interpretation of what the results mean.

Now here is where it gets tricky if we are not carful. Our worldview has a direct influence on 4 of these 5 steps, and can influence the 5th. Let’s check out each one.

Formulate a Hypothesis: Your worldview will show up here in how you ask the question to be tested. It will influence how you think about the issue you want to see resolved and influence which possible solutions you consider.

Observation: Your worldview will determine issues including how reliable your senses are. Most won’t question this aspect and that is part of the point. It will determine how you trust the equipment you are using. It will also determine what you think you are observing. For an extreme example, if you are observing an Ouija board, your worldview will determine if you think you are observing magnetism, human trickery, or demonic influence or which of those you won’t consider. Setup/Execute Experiment: This is the step least influenced by your worldview. The only area it will be influenced is the set up. But once the experiment gets going, it will go and your worldview does not have a role to play.

Interpretation: Here is where your worldview plays the largest role. If your worldview only considers natural explanations, you may completely miss what is going on. Likewise, if your worldview is driven by certain purposes, you may be inclined to think it is doing something it is not. In the origins debate, worldview-driven interpretation shows itself strongly when looking at fossils. Homology is pure interpretation, and it is influenced strongly by the evolutionary worldview which demands common ancestry. So anytime you see features that look similar, interpretation will make an evolutionist think: common ancestor. But a Biblical Creationist will think: common designer. Same evidence, different interpretation, each based on a different worldview.

Report: It is well assumed that scientists are professionals and that they do their job with integrity. Yet this is not always the case. One’s worldview also influences what you report and how you report it. Piltdown man was reported as a great missing link despite the fact that all they had was a pig’s tooth. Lucy was reported as a great missing link despite the fact that it had all the signs of a monkey (curved finger bones, hip structure, size, etc). Reports do not always match the facts. The moon is estimated to be 4.5 billion years old, yet when we got the results of radiometric dated moon rocks, 90% of them are nowhere close to this age. Reporting is not immune to worldview influence.

All this does not invalidate the scientific method, but we need to keep in mind that it is just a method and it is not the answer to all things. It has limits and it is very susceptible to outside influences. If we are aware of these influences, that is fine. And scientific etiquette requires that these influences be reported. Yet most of the time, they aren’t. Be a Berean. Check it out. Is it legit? And the only standard that is 100% reliable to test against is Scripture.


Piltdown Superman said...

Once again, you have written some useful information. (One quibble, a slip of the keyboard, and I know that you know this, but you put Piltdown Man as the one made from a single tooth, that was Nebraska Man. Too bad you're not able to edit these things.) Worldviews are something that I keep bringing up all the time.

What do you see when you look at a fossil? The old earther will see something that is millions or billions of years old. Biblical creationists like me see something that is probably the result of the Noachian Flood a few thousand years ago. Evidence must be interpreted, and it's interpreted according to worldviews.

Some people say that they don't have one, that atheism or evolutionism is not a worldview, but that is simply not the case. Everyone has a worldview, but they often do not even realize it. Some of us actively choose to presuppose the truth of the Bible as our foundation, and refuse to compromise on that. Secularists hate us for that.

There are people who have a view of scientists that is simply unnatural: They go around collecting facts and then come to conclusions using the scientific method. Wrong. You pointed out what the scientific method (which was developed by Christians for the most part) entails, and it does allow people to be human because they have their own ideas at the onset.

Michael Butler has four lectures on the foundation, goal, method and nature of science (free downloads, each about an hour long) and shows how science is a philosophy itself. He covers some of the material you did.

Scientists are people, subject to error and avarice as well as nobility. They are subject to their worldviews just like anyone else.

Charlie said...

Ashley is parading his trolling again. Can't even address the topic at hand.

Anonymous said...

If you don't read the post, you can't make a worthwhile comment. But you have to do it anyway. Nice trolling.

Charlie said...

Six comments by the same person and I immediately thought of this passage of Scripture.

//Now it happened when Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab, and the rest of our enemies heard that I had rebuilt the wall, and that there were no breaks left in it (though at that time I had not hung the doors in the gates), 2 that Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come, let us meet together among the villages in the plain of Ono.” But they thought to do me harm.

3 So I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?”

4 But they sent me this message four times, and I answered them in the same manner.

~ Nehemiah 6:1-4

"Professor Tertius", you are not "new" here at all. You have long demonstrated you are indeed proud, and you have long demonstrated you are NOT moved by any evidence that does not conform to your already established worldview. You claim you do much like Bill Nye does but I look at deed over word and like Nye, you're deed expose your mouth as a fraud and a liar. I know exactly who you are and like Nehemiah who addressed Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem when they pretended to be his friend, I shall address you accordingly. I'm too busy to deal with you. I won't be responding to your points or any other comment you make here. You are a waste of time but I do thank you for the time you have given me. Excellent novel material has come from you. I've got a character already figured out that well represents you for the novel I am writing right now.

Charlie said...

And before you accuse me of mistaking you for someone else, your good friend who you are defending repeatedly says "Don't underestimate who you don't know." You don't know me and you don't know I have a VERY good memory and have battled you several times on this site by both username and proclaimed name "Professor Tertius". You showed all the classic signs of a false teacher and a tare sowed among the wheat. You can act as nice as you want, but know you are marked as a wolf and you will continuously be marked as a wolf until you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ which you have shown absolutely no evidence of. You may call yourself a Christian but you want to talk evidence and the evidence shows you are a fraud and false teacher. Teachers are held to higher standards. I hope you have your millstone ready because that's getting off easy.

Charlie said...

I'm just going to say this. There are four types of soil. Three of them take root but only one survives. I know which you are and why. You are a weedy soil because you always look to what man says and have no interest in what God says. You never did show any interest in "discussion". Your demonstration of "discussions" is "Get away from the Bible as having the authority." I'm not buying. This is my last post to you.

Anonymous said...

Hayward keeps doing the either/or thing. Another possibility is that he does NOT want to respond to your comments because they are NOT valid criticism. Just because YOU are fond of yourself doesn't make you right. It also doesn't make your dishonesty about pretending to be the bible science forum right either.

Anonymous said...

Haward isn't pretending to be an antiscience liar, but he is pretending to be something he's not. He's not tolerant or rational, and he's been shown a liar many times. Spends 2 weeks in hospital for bed bugs, trolling stops. He gets out, the fake 'science foundation' and he both post agian.

Anonymous said...

Your so angry you lash out at things that were never said and beliefs I never said I hold, troll. If you hate anonymous stuff so much, why don't you cry about the atheist anymous bozos who post? Take all yourselves off here and get a life.

Anonymous said...

And yet, you have the same condescending bigotry as well as name calling.