Original Sin in the Garden of Science?

by Robert Kofahl, Ph.D.

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do His commandments; His praise endureth forever." Psalm 111:10

Most secular scientists probably don't believe in sin, but they are guilty, I think, of a great "original sin" against science, their God. This great sin has its roots not in science, but in various materialistic and humanistic philosophies, no doubt. But the Fall of the scientific Establishment into this sin was completed by the work and writings of Charles Darwin in the nineteenth century. To understand the exceeding sinfulness of this transgression of secular scientists we need to define science.

Definition: Science is the systematic extension of human experience (by intent, methodology and instruments) for the purpose of learning more about the natural world and for the critical testing and potential falsification of all hypotheses and theories about the natural world.

Common sense rules for the scientific method flow logically from the definition of science. One of these rules may be called "the central policy of science." It is the requirement that all hypotheses and theories must be so constructed that they can be subjected to empirical testing, with a view to falsifying those that are false. From a good scientific hypothesis it is possible to deduce many logical consequences, predictions which are very demanding and restrictive concerning what is possible and what is not possible in the natural world. These predictions are then the basis for new experiments or observations which confirm or contradict the predictions. If a particular prediction is confirmed, some corroboration for the hypothesis has been gained. If the prediction is contradicted, the hypothesis has failed to pass a test. After the contradiction of a number of predictions, the hypothesis is considered to be falsified, proved to be false. It needs to be modified or replaced by another hypothesis. This is the way science progresses and is continually corrected.

Another characteristic of science to be noted in the definition of science is that it makes no reference whatsoever to the philosophical or religious commitment of the scientist. For example, a person can be a good scientist and be a Buddhist, Protestant fundamentalist, theological liberal, Roman Catholic, atheist, or agnostic, provided he is willing honestly and consistently to submit his methodology, data, and conclusions to critical review by his peers. Nobody has the slightest justification in the canons of science for criticizing the scientist's work on the basis to his philosophy or religion. And this includes belief in either evolution or creation, as well as the adoption of a neutral stance with respect to the origins issue.

So what is the great original sin of the evolutionary science Establishment? It is the utterly heinous act of injecting their philosophy of materialism into the definition of science. Once this was done and widely accepted, science was distorted. It became unprofessional for a scientist to entertain any concept of teleology (that is, purpose or plan) in the natural world. In his major writings Darwin persistently fought against all teleology, against any possibility of plan, purpose, or intelligent design in biology. In the Origin of Species he often used theological arguments against special creation and against any possibility of divine intervention into the natural order. And virtually the entire scientific and intellectual community was soon conquered by a definition of science which had been falsely bent out of shape and directed against God by the monkey wrench of materialistic philosophy.

A principle result of the universal acceptance of the jimmied definition of science was first the silencing of scientists who believe in creation, then their gradual expulsion, and finally the virtual exclusion of believers in creation from the ranks of scientists. and it has long been forgotten that believers in the God of Creation actually laid much of the foundations of modern science.

So now evolution, the materialistic explanation of origins, is almost universally held to be the "scientific" explanation of origins. But is evolution really a bona fide scientific theory founded on scientific facts? Is creation in contrast just a religious idea held by blind faith? If evolution is to qualify as science it must be testable, falsifiable. Is it? It is not! There is, in fact, no experimental test which can prove that the grand concept of either evolution or creation is false. This is because both postulate events and processes in the past which were not observed by man and which cannot be reproduced in the laboratory or observed in the field. and the evidence for both is circumstantial, subject to differing interpretations depending upon the assumptions of the interpreters. Sir Karl Popper, considered by many to be the world dean of the logic of science, in his 1976 book, Unended Quest, wrote, "I have come to the conclusion that Darwinism is not a testable scientific theory, but a metaphysical research programme--a possible framework for testable scientific theories." And the first point in his definition of "Darwinism" is that of a past history of evolution of all species from a few original organisms.

The category of "metaphysical research programmes" is strongly suggestive of religion. Indeed many writers have noted the religious aspects of the evolutionary belief system. It is good sometimes to boil down concepts to a few words. Evolution attempts to explain the origins of all things in terms of spontaneous materialistic process. Creation is an explanation of origins in terms of intelligent purposeful design. These are two conceptual frameworks which are actually faith propositions. There is no way by scientific observation or experiment to prove or disprove that either one is the correct or incorrect explanation of origins. On the other hand, testable sub-theories can be formed under the conceptual framework of Darwinism (or evolution) and under the conceptual framework of special divine creation.

From what we have considered above there logically follow three propositions which, in my opinion, properly characterize the evolution/creation controversy.

I. Evolution and creation are equally non-scientific, being non-falsifiable models of the past.

II. Evolution and creation are equally religious, being logical corollaries to two faith world views, materialism and biblical theism, respectively.

III. Evolution and creation are equally scientific, for the two groups of believers, from the common pool of scientific data, adduce circumstantial evidence in support of the two explanations of origins.

We can conclude from all this that it is not necessary for either believers in either evolution or creation to compromise their convictions in order to arrive at an equitable solution to the problems of equity, law and Constitutional rights which are raised by the current controversy. there must first of all be agreement that the definition of science does not restrict the religious or philosophical beliefs or commitment of scientists, teachers or students of science. Or if the materialistic scientists cannot repent of their original sin, they must at least agree to stop forcing their definition of science on other who reject it. If this agreement is achieved and properly implemented, the result will be an opening up of the scientific enterprise, science education, indeed, all scholarly disciplines, to the critical evaluation of and competition between explanations, models, and theories based upon the two competing conceptual frameworks or paradigms for studying nature, that is, spontaneous, materialistic process and intelligent, purposeful design. This agreement will also bring an end to the persecution of scientists, teachers, and students who choose to place their faith in an intelligent Creator rather than in dumb atoms, time, chance and evolution. These results will be good for science, for education, and for people. There will be more potential scientists, better motivated students, and greater intellectual and personal freedom in science and education. Who could possibly find fault with these objectives? Only those who love their "original sin" and intend to use the politics of the scientific Establishment to force their sin upon others.