Come Hell Or Hypothesis

Well, it seems that my last entry woke some people up! Thanks for continuing the discussion. Now I would like to throw more gasoline onto the fire by first of all defending the scientific hypothesis.

As a tech support guy, my job involves solving both simple and complex problems. We all encounter problems that must be solved on a daily basis, whether or not we get paid for it. And we all have processes that we follow for reaching a solution, though these processes vary depending on the nature of the problem and the amount of information we have. If a customer sends me an error message with no other descriptive information, I either recognize the error from past experience or I have to request more detail. What steps did you take to receive the error? Is the error repeatable? Did the error occur before today? Have any changes occurred that might have triggered the error? These are the questions that I use to form my hypothesis.

Science loves to ask questions much like these. Our curiosity leads us to ask questions, and on the way to finding out the answers we form our hypothesis. This hypothesis usually changes several times during the process, sometimes subtly and sometimes drastically, but we always use this “educated guess” as a touchstone for the questions we ask and the evidence we gather. Otherwise, we’re just stabbing blindly at solutions.

Religious faith is quite different. It implores us to accept a holy scripture as fact, or at least as a guide to discover answers to our questions. A literal interpretation of The Bible tells us that God created the whole shebang as described, end of story. Other interpretations of the same holy book view this account of creation as a myth–a simple story that mortals can understand. The main point of the story being that God created the whole shebang, and we are meant to look within ourselves and our faith to fill in the details.

Other religions have their own creation stories, with each having great significance to the followers of each faith. And many of them at odds with scientific findings. So do we teach all these religious texts in science classes along with Evolution? Instead of Evolution? Or do we call a stalemate and teach no scientific theories or religious views of creation at all?

Again, I support teaching only the Theory of Evolution in public school science classes until a better theory comes along. I have no problem with teaching Creationism, Intelligent Design or other religion-based views of creation in public school religion classes, or in private and home schools. But if this issue becomes irreconcilable, I feel it would be more fair to the students if schools would dump both Evolution and Creationism from the science curriculum. This is preferable to the philosophical vortex that would be created by mixing the scientific method with pure faith.


One Response

  1. And might I add that as fallible humans, our practice of both faith and the scientific method is imperfect. We strive for perfection in both areas, but usually fall short. Theories are revised over time based on the most current information, and religious views change as certain facts become undeniable (such as the case of Galileo vs. The Catholic Church) and as social forces shape what’s acceptable.The good news is, science encourages the constant revision of theories, while God forgives us for our transgressions!

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