Science vs. Pseudoscience

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Could it be that evolution is in fact pseudoscience

by Dr. Jason Lisle

Evolutionists sometimes call biblical creation a pseudoscience.  Is such a claim defensible?  Could it be that evolution is in fact pseudoscience while creation makes science possible?

Definitions

Defining key terms is always helpful in any rational discussion.  The Merriam-Webster dictionary lists a number of definitions of science, but the one most relevant to our discussion involves science as a discipline: “knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method.”  The scientific method involves observation and experimentation.  Similarly, dictionary.com defines science as “systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.”

From these definitions we see several key terms that will help us identify something as science.  First we see that the term “knowledge” is essential to science.  So what is knowledge and how do we recognize it?  Knowledge is true, justified, belief.  Let’s examine each of these qualifiers in turn.

First, knowledge is a belief – a positive mental attitude toward a proposition.  You believe something when you accept it as true.  When a friend states something that you believe to be true, you may find yourself nodding “yes” or saying to yourself, “that’s right.”  Obviously, to know something you must also believe it.  It would make no sense to say, “I know that the moon is round, but I do not believe it.”  Clearly, when you know something, you believe it to be true.

But not all beliefs are knowledge.  People have some beliefs that turn out to be false.  We would not call such beliefs knowledge.  For something to count as knowledge, it must be true.  If we believe something that is false, then we don’t really know it at all.

Finally, knowledge is always justified.  That is, we must have a good reason, or several good reasons to believe it.  Something doesn’t count as knowledge if we merely happen to believe something that is true with no good reason.

Suppose Abe says, “I believe that the number of stars in the visible universe is an even number.  I just know it.”  But does he really know it?  No one but God knows the number of stars in the universe.  So Abe doesn’t really know this.  Yet, Abe’s belief may well be true.  After all, there is a 50% chance that he is right.  Suppose Carl comes along and says, “Not so.  I believe that the number of stars in the visible universe is an odd number.”  Logically, either Abe’s belief is correct, or Carl’s belief is correct.  Yet neither of them really knows the number of stars in the universe because neither of them has a good reason for his belief.  In heaven, God may reveal to them that in fact the number of stars is odd.  But that doesn’t mean that Carl actually knew this.  Rather, he had a belief that turned out to be true by accident – with no good reasons for it.  But a true belief is not knowledge unless you have good reasons to believe it.

Therefore, since science is systematic knowledge, a scientific fact must be both true and justified.  It cannot be merely a speculation or conjecture unsupported by evidence.  However, science is more than just a body of knowledge.  The way in which scientific knowledge is gained is through the scientific method: observation and experimentation…

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image credit: Old medicine bottles by Matt Briney