An article has recent;y come out in the NY Times dispelling a myth that has been propagated in the name of science. Which one you may ask? Well don't get too hopeful this is the NY Times after all, it has it's sacred cows. In this article what is being debunked is the common myth that fatty diets cause heart disease and cause shorter lifespans. This is being dispelled by scientists now. (the article can be read here)
The point I want to draw from this is the fact that around 92% of scientists in this field held to the anti-fat philosophy. My main thrust isn't dietary, I really could care less. Rather, what I am getting at is the fact that many people embraced this sort of a view on fat consumption because most scientists said this theory was true.
1)This is a Fallacy Often used
This ties right in to many of the scientific theories floating around today and the alleged near unanimous support for them. It is a logical fallacy to say that "Most X's believe that theory Y is true, therefore we should too." Yet this is the exact line of reasoning that I almost always here from Atheists in defending evolution. Some 90% of scientists believe that evolution is a matter of fact, the other 10% are just religious nuts who shouldn't be scientists anyway because science is inherently Atheistic mind you. If over 90% of scientists say this is true we should as well.
This will tie into the final point of holding theories of science tentatively and not screaming about how "Evolution is Fact Fact FACT!" to quote Michael Ruse. This sort of mantra is used whenever talk of other views is brought up, evolution is taken to be so matter of fact that other views aren't allowed due to the impossibility of any other view. This links to the next point, which is that no matter what theory you are dealing with there are rival theories.
2)All Theories Have Rivals
In the polemics of science and education the ID folks are often just asking school boards to allow their teachers to "Teach the debate". The popular reply to this from the Darwinists has been to firmly state "There is no debate!" Well, that simply isn't true, there always is an in-house debate in science about theories. There is something inherently wrong when in science (where theories are to be held tentatively) you have proponents of a theory deny that there are any counter theories being proposed. There is always rival theories because no theory is perfect, it will have anomolies (or unaccounted for data).
To say that there is no debate is to engage is a slight of hand like Luke Sky Walker saying "These are not the Droids you are looking for..."
This does not mean that every rival theory needs to be taught to school children, but a teacher should be free to do so. That's what science is supposed to be about, the free exchange of ideas/theories to explain phenomena. The reason this isn't allowed anymore is because there are a good number of people who want to make science into a religion that negates God.
3) All Theories Are Tentative
There is never rationally a point in science where Michael Ruse can make the statement he does, especially given his presuppositions. This is because science is based on inductive reasoning. Take for example dropping a pen on the floor, how many times do you have to drop the pen to arrive at certainty that it will fall to the ground rather than float to the ceiling? 10x? 50x? 100x? 1000x? 10,000x? No matter how great the number, you can never have absolute certainty that the pen will fall to the floor rather than float to the ceiling.
Nor can you even really speak in probabilities, you can't put a percented number on your certainty that your pen will fall, that is wholly arbitrary, "I am about 75% sure it will fall rather than float...oh...now I suppose I am 75.00002% certain when I drop it again it will fall."
So how do we get out of this problem? Well the Atheist can't, all he has to go by is autonomous reason, he has no answer to the problem of induction. So for the atheist to do science he has to make an irrational leap (kinda ironic huh? the guys touting themselves as THE rational free thinkers...) For the Christian science is based on God's existence. Based on this presupposition we can expect His creation to behave with a regularity of laws and thus we can proceed to use the inductive method rationally.
4) The False Authority
This is more a problem for the public observer who naturally sees the lab coat fellow as automatically authoritative. This is why in numerous commercials people will be wearing lab coats as they pitch the product to the consumer. The white coat says: "Objective Expert" to the observer. Well objectivity is a farce, but my point is that this is how bad research gets accepted, the "Expert" speaks and the observer accepts.
Again this is kind of ironic to me because many Atheists criticize Christians as if they just sort of accept everything their pastor says to them as fact, but it seems there is a parallel to this as well. Granted, there are a good deal of people who are passive pew sitters and don't do their homework or critically think about what is being taught. However, I think it is equally true that there are many pew sitters in the naturalist arena who just uncritically accept what their pastor in a lab coat is saying. Perhaps they are doing poor exegesis (or even isogesis) of the text of nature?
(ps. That is Bush in a lab coat...)
My point in all of this is not to debunk evolution, although I do think it is a smoke and mirrors theory. My point is that all the dogmatic scientific pronouncements made, all the things that are labelled "fact" or "Certain" are made/labelled irrationally. Given the nature of science such statements can not be made.
I would of course go a step further as I began to do so in heading 4 and say that without presupposing the Christian worldview you can't prove anything.
Suffice it to say that no matter what the theory in science we should hold to it tentatively no matter how many guys in white coats accept it at any given time, that is the point of this post.