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Do scientists reject good evidence if it comes from outsiders?

Post of the Month: April 2007


Subject:    | what has science become?
Date:       | 22 Apr 2007
Message-ID: |

Dale Kelly wrote:
> science has become a ministry of truth, in that not everyone's observation
> and inference is acceptable, to infer or observe you must be a part of the
> institution of science, and in such your inference and observation is
> certified, if you are not a member of the institution your observation and
> inference is NOT certified,

J.J. O'Shea wrote:
Tell me, have you ever heard of Clyde Tombaugh? Quick, what degree did he have when he made his most famous discovery?

Tell me, have you ever heard of William Thompson, Lord Kelvin? He was an extremely religious man as well as a famous scientist... and he had problems with the Theory of Evolution. And he had actual _numbers_ and _evidence_ to support his position, that the Earth could not be more than 40 million years old, and was probably more like half that. (Note: way, way, WAY older than 6000, as per YECs.) He supported his claims with actual data... right up until new data came to light which invalidated his work. In the light of further data, he, like any other good scientist, backed off. (The new data which included information on how radioactive materials worked, data which had not been available when he had first done his calculations.) What this meant was that, until Becquerel and the Curies provided the work which showed the mechanism by which the Earth could be old enough for evolution to work, a substantial portion of the scientific establishment did not accept the ToE and did not accept it for very good reason. The ToE was the anti-establishment theory! Once, however, people working in fields totally unrelated to biology uncovered new data which supported evolutionary theory, scientists world-wide revised their stands.

You should note that just as scientists world-wide went from being at best neutral on the ToE (at worst, like Kelvin, being actively hostile to it) to accepting it based on the evidence, should further data come in which invalidates the ToE then scientists world-wide will support whatever theory that new data supports. It's the way science works. It's all about the data.

Dale Kelly wrote:
> if you are a member of the institution and you infer or claim to observe
> something, not in line with the AGENDA of the ministry of truth, you are
> ostraicized and seen as a heretic

J.J. O'Shea wrote:
Tell me, have you ever heard of Albert Einstein? Quick, for which institution was he working during the 'miracle year' when he published four papers which would completely revolutionise physics? What degree did he have at the time? How long did it take for all four of the miracle year papers take to be accepted for what they were?

Tell me, have you ever heard of Paul Dirac or Hugh Everett? Tell me, did _their_ work gain immediate acceptance? Why or why not?

How about Albert Wegener? Ever hear of him? He had problems because he could not propose a mechanism by which certain parts of his theory would work... but other people could, and did, uncover that mechanism for him. If he was an ostraicised heretic, why did others spend literal _decades_ supporting him?

If you can provide actual data, evidence, numbers, which support a theory which explains Life As We Know It as well as the Theory of Evolution does, or even if you can show a pointer to where such evidence might be, _someone_ will check. It took literal decades for supporting evidence to be uncovered for evolutionary theory... during which time, the ToE was itself modified in the light of new data. And it continues to be modified in the light of new data, the way _all_ science is... though the modifications are just that, modifications to the basic structure which remains unchanged, the way that classic mechanics as uncovered by Newton centuries ago has been modified over the years by, among others, Einstein and Dirac but still works just fine for most purposes. It took literal _decades_ for the data to support plate tectonics to become available, during which time _that_ theory was also modified in the light of new data.

The problem that creationists face is the interlocking nature of science. Becquerel and the Curies didn't set out to smash Kelvin's ideas of the age of the Earth; several of their key discoveries were entirely accidental, and their work was in a field (then) as far removed from biology as it could get and still be a science. (Biologists care a lot about radiation _now_; they didn't have clue one then.) Once their data was available, though, it was simply impossible for good scientists to ignore it... and the implications of that data. Which lead to, among other things, plate tectonics. And the light bulb. _Anything which is of a magnitude as to overturn the theory of evolution will also overturn much of physics, chemistry, geology, and, indeed, most of science_ because _it's all connected_. Change one thing, and you change it all. You have to. That's how science works. Newton changed everything. Darwin changed everything. Einstein changed everything. Dirac changed everything. You'd best be able to see something those four didn't see if _you_ want to change everything. And you'd best have some kind of actual data, evidence, to support your position. And Genesis is not any kind of support for science, as the Bible is not, never was, and never will be a science text. Men wrote the Bible; God wrote the rocks. Any new theory has to explain, among other things, the rocks. If you have such a theory, by all means trot it out.

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