Friday, January 1, 2010

Separating Scientists: The Toolmakers and The History Rewriters

To anyone who has read this blog for a while, it's probably apparent that I have a tendency to be critical of the scientific establishment.  And I'd like to emphasize that my criticisms of the scientific establishment are just that, criticisms of the scientific establishment.  They are not criticisms of the scientific method, the philosophy of science, scientific investigation, or learning in general.

One reason that I am so critical of the scientific establishment is because I don't see science as an establishment. I also don't lump everyone wearing the scientist label into one crowd.  You could get a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, and Kabbalist together and label them as "religious" people.  While that might be a true statement, that broad label overlooks the key differences between the religions the people represent.

On the same note, if you take an Archaeologist, Paleontologist, Medical Doctor, a Rocket Engineer, and a Computer Engineer, you could label them all as "scientists," but the label doesn't clarify the differences between the types of science.

However, people don't readily point out the differences between the scientists and the types of science they research.  I think this is kind of tragic, because it allows some scientists to ride on the accomplishments of other scientists.

The point I want to get across here is that we don't have computers, airplanes, and GPS systems because of Charles Darwin or a Big Bang Theory.  We have computers, airplanes, and GPS systems because someone took the time to conceptualize them and then figure out how to build their concept.

On the other hand, we have a group of people trying to rewrite history that they didn't live through or experience.  Their version of history is based on a materialistic viewpoint, and they model their concept of history through that viewpoint.

However, these two groups of people label themselves as scientists.  One group seeks to design new tools, the other seeks to rewrite history from their perspective.  Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, the tool making scientists have made many notable accomplishments, allowing the history rewriters to ride along with that success and teach their materialism.

I'd like to point out that tool makers have been around since the earliest records of men (and presumably before that too).  Regardless of whether you think we were created here, planted here by aliens, or 'evolved', its apparent that men have been making tools for a long time.  One generation develops a tool, and another generation builds upon the original design.  The wheel becomes a cart, the cart becomes a carriage, the carriage becomes a car.  These toolmakers have been making tools since before the word "science" was invented.  If our modern engineers want to call themselves scientists that is fine, but what they are doing is something people did before "science" was defined.

The medical doctors of today take what is called the Hippocratic Oath (or rather, a modernized version of it).  The Hippocratic Oath is basically an oath a doctor makes to practice medicine ethically.  Hippocrates is widely considered to be the father of Western medicine, yet he lived circa 460 BC - 370 BC - long before science was defined.  So the study and practice of medicine has been around for a long time.  Over the years, knowledge of medicine has increased tremendously.  We might call it "Medical science" today, but the study of medicine existed before modern term was defined.

During the Renaissance, the Catholic establishment began to lose its hold on Europe once the Protestant reformers began questioning their authority.  It wasn't long after that though that the so-called 'age of enlightenment' began, which led to some people considering non-traditional outlooks on life and history, which led to materialism, which led to the modern scientific establishment.  Essentially we've traded one establishment for another.  Woopty-doo.

So really my criticisms here are against the history rewriters.  Sure, they may abide by the philosophy of science and use the scientific method as tool for investigations and research, but ultimately, their brand of science is highly interpretative.  Their brand of science isn't like the science of an aerospace engineer.  The aerospace engineer designs airplanes.  The history rewriters just intepret data they find from a certain point of view.

Which brings me to another point.  Scientists are always about the data.  They want to see the data.  Data, data, data.  They want to know what the data says.

But the data doesn't "say" anything.  Data is interpreted.  And not everyone may interpret the data the same way.

I have a book called Thousands...Not Billions, which makes a case for the earth being much younger than 4.5 billion years old.  The book is written by a group of scientists called Radioisotopes and the Age of Earth (RATE), and they used the same data and radiometric dating techniques that the mainstream scientific establisment uses.  The establishment says the earth is 4.5 billion years old because the data 'says' so.  But as I pointed out, data doesn't say anything.  The establishment has interpreted the data to mean that earth is 4.5 billion years old.

So how did the RATE scientists, who, by the way, are credentialed scientists, determine that the earth is so much younger?  The Great Flood.  What the establishment views as age, the RATE scientists view as flood deposited rock.  RATE lumped what the mainstream scientists refer to as Cenozoic, Mesozoic, and Paleozoic eras together as a single layer of flood deposits.

So what we really have here is a debate between Catastrophism and Uniformitarianism.  Catastrophism suggests that the earth has been affected by sudden, catastrophic events (such as the Great Flood).  Uniformitarianism, on the other hand, suggests the opposite, that natural laws and processes that operate in the universe now have always operated that way without interruption.  Uniformitarianism is the lens the scientific establishment views history through.  It's actually pretty clear that the Uniformitarianism theory in its original form (which was developed by James Hutton and Charles Lyell) is not accurate, so during the 20th century the scientific establishment created a set of "correction tables" (or "calibration tables").  When asked how they 'know' the earth is 4.5 billion years old, the scientific establishment will say because the radiometric data 'says' so.  Wrong.  The data hasn't 'said' anything.  They intepreted the data to mean that by examining it with a certain pre-conceived notion.

There are those out there that would suggest trying to dispute what the scientific establishment says about pre-history is just an attempt to cling to old religious beliefs.  Well, I could say the same thing about those people. They are clinging to 19th century materialism and its interpretation of history and reality.  How convenient that the Darwinist crowd created a new theory (Uniformitarianism) to support their theory of evolution.  It was necessary to do so, otherwise the theory of evolution would have fallen apart long ago.  The Darwinists needed a way to claim the earth was millions and billions of years old in order to make their theory of evolution plausible (by dismissing the hundreds of ancient stories of a catastrophic flood, the Darwinists can interpret radiometric data to suggest that the earth is billions of years old).  Creating a theory about history to support another theory about history isn't the same as building airplanes.

I also criticize the scientific establishment because they often have a tendency to 'speak with authority'.  They speak about theoretical concepts as though they were already known to be true.  A recent example of what I mean can be seen in an article about dark matter.  I think the main body of the article presents an authoritative tone regarding the existence of dark matter, yet if you go to the bottom, there's a little snippet that points out that not all scientists believe in dark matter.  Well, if that's the case, I think the mainstream scientists need to make it a little more clear that dark matter itself is just a theoretical concept, instead of 'speaking with authority' about something that is not yet known to be true.  Their concept of dark matter may very well be accurate, but until they actually find something and can clearly define it, they need to drop the authoritative tone.

This also goes for the so-called Higgs-Boson particle.  Few scientists are interested in studying ghosts or psychic phenomenon, yet they'll spend billions of dollars and devote years of time to trying to find some unknown particle that no one has ever seen and may not even exist.  Go figure.

And what of these 'peer-reviewed' journals?  Are we to assume that because a bunch of people who already think alike agree with what an article says, that the article must be true?  Frankly, when it comes to interpreting scientific data, I'm not interested in a 'peer' review.  I would rather have an analysis by people with different viewpoints.  Preferably, the data collection would be done by people with different viewpoints too.  I think by doing so, we could get a more thorough examination of the data, instead of just looking at it through a single lens.  As a result, people could review the different intepretations of the data, and draw their own conclusions from those intepretations, instead of just being told what the data supposedly means.  When doing research, it's good to investigate a subject or the data thoroughly.  If you're only looking to find specific answer, there's a good chance you'll find it.  You can probably find someone out there to tell you what you want to hear.  But it's not always good to stop researching something because you found someone who will tell you what think (or hope) is true.  Maybe it is true, but, you know, maybe it isn't.  Get some different perspectives, and draw your own conclusions.  Ultimately, you can still choose your own perspective, but at least you can say you listened to other perspective and tried to understand where those perspectives were formed.

So when it comes to science, I try to have an open mind.  I don't lump all scientists together.  When reading about science, I try to determine what lens the writer is looking through.  The tool making scientists look through a lens toward the future.  The history rewriting scientists look through a lens to the past.  History is one of my favorite subjects, yet the lens of 19th century materialism is of little interest to me.  But hey, I'll still consider their viewpoint...but I'd want to consider other viewpoints too.

I criticize the establishment because they have a tendency to speak with authority and try to tell people what to believe.  Some may argue that religious leaders from the past and present do the same thing, but there are already plenty of criticisms of religious establishments out there.  I don't think there is enough criticism of the scientific establishment, which is one reason why I have chosen to take a critical position regarding the scientific establishment.  Another reason I criticize them instead of religious establishments is that devout religious people admit their beliefs are based in faith, but scientists claim to base their beliefs on rationalism and data.  So when they start talking about evolution, big bangs, dark matter, and Higgs-Bosons, they darn well better have some clear evidence that it's true first.  And the evidence better be as clear as the sky is blue before they start 'speaking with authority'.  Claiming the evidence is clear doesn't mean it's clear.  It's obvious that the sky is blue.  It isn't obvious that the universe exploded itself into existence.

Our tool makers, as they have throughout history, continue to make great accomplishments. Our history rewriters on the other hand, eh, not so much.  I think lumping our history rewriters into the same bunch as our tool makers is an insult to the tool makers...but that is just my opinion.

11 comments:

  1. Okay, I follow what you're saying, but I'm not about to believe the folks who think there was great flood and the earth is younger. My problem with that is that, like Shermer the skeptic, they have a stand to make. They're looking at science for the purpose of finding clues that can point to the Bible being true. That's not true science. Science shouldn't be about proving your stand on something. It should be the raw data and interpretation of it. A real scientist looks at how long it takes to make layers in the strata, a religious "scientist" will come up with ways to incorporate the flood mythos to it. I'm sorry, but on that count, I don't buy it.

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  2. Autumnforest,

    Now you might have understood the overall point of the article, but I think you misunderstood the point for my inclusion of RATE's interpretation of the data. The key point of that segment of the article was that data does not speak, it is interpreted. Maybe I didn't make it clear, but what I wanted people to understand from reading that segment of the article is that the establishment's interpretation of radiometric dating data is based on the viewpoint of 19th century materialism (including Atheism and Darwinism). You have accused the RATE scientists of trying to prove the Bible, but where is your accusation of the Darwinist establishment trying to prove Darwinism (and I'm not asking in nasty or snarky tone, btw)? Why fault RATE because they have considered the flood in their interpretation, but not fault the materialists for excluding it from their interpretation? Does the inclusion or exclusion of catastrophic flooding from the interpretation make either interpretation any more or less of being just that - an interpretation?

    The old Catholic establishment tried to maintain a belief that the Pope was infallible. Whatever he said, was true. The current Darwinist establishment tries to maintain a facade that data can 'speak', and that it speaks infallibly. But it doesn't speak. It is interpreted.

    Perhaps where me and you differ on this issue is that I think you're probably considering the interpretation of the data that excludes catastrophic flooding from the equation as the "raw" interpretation. I don't see it that way though. I see it as the interpretation of the data from a 19th century materialist viewpoint. You've accused RATE of looking at science to prove the Bible, but I'm accusing the establishment of looking at science to prove to Darwinism. So I guess, in a way, we are doing the same thing here; we are making the same accusation, but we are pointing fingers at different parties. You might be right about RATE, maybe they are just looking to science to prove the Bible. But I'm not going to turn a blind eye to the fact that the Darwinist scientific establishment has done the same thing - they just have a different agenda they are seeking to prove.

    But you know, you don't have to take my word for it. I don't claim to be a scientist. History is more my subject. I also like to step back and take a look at society on occasion. Looking at history and society is what actually helped open my eyes to the Darwinist agenda that is paraded as 'science'. The history of it is not hard to see. The materialism and evolutionary theories of the 19th century predate the onset of radiometric dating. When radiometric dating was developed in the early 20th century, the Darwinists were already there to interpret the data. The data didn't shape their belief, the belief had already been formed. What they did was shape the data. They interpreted the data from a certain viewpoint, and that interpretation eventually became the dominant viewpoint. The under 50 crowd of the Western world today has grown up in a society that teaches evolution, has written about it in fiction, and can be seen on TV. It has become 'established' in the minds of many people because of it. As a result, many of the new scientists graduating today don't see science's that study pre-history as part of a Darwinist agenda, they see it as what is 'established'. Their interpretation of data is based on how they were taught to interpret it. For them, it's not an agenda, it's just what 'is' and what they want to research.

    Well, it's not so established in my mind. I see it for what it is, a Darwinist interpretation of data. And I'm not going to limit myself to a Darwinist interpretation only.

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  3. ...my response got a little wordy, so I had to split it into two comments...here is the rest:

    I don't know that there can always be a "raw" interpretation of every type of data. That's precisely why I think scientific scrutiny shouldn't be limited to a single viewpoint - particularly in regards to prehistory. When it comes to prehistory, who's to say there wasn't a flood? This isn't just about the Bible, there are many accounts of catastrophic flooding from ancient times, so why should we limit our study of prehistory to a viewpoint that excludes catastrophic flooding from its interpretation? I'm not saying we have to throw that interpretation out the door, but is there any good reason we should limit ourselves to it? Forming new ideas doesn't always mean old ideas have to be thrown out.

    So for the record, I didn't ask anyone to accept RATE's interpretation of the data. The point I really wanted to get across is that data is interpreted from a certain viewpoint - including what the current scientific establishment claims is true.

    I don't know, we might just have to agree to disagree on this subject, Autumnforest. No hard feelings though, I hope. :)

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  4. Oh, maybe I should also point out that I don't adhere to any particular date range for the age of the earth. Radiometric dating results are sometimes dubious. I don't think it should be considered an authoritative source for estimating the age of the earth regardless of what interpretation you are partial too. I don't pretend to know the age of the earth.

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  5. It's funny because the first thing that came to my mind at about your 3rd paragraph was the newspaper rag - India Daily. They constantly use the words "our scientists" but never state who or what kind. What should we expect from a newspaper that mimics something the likes of the National Enquirer? :) Sadly though, millions read that rag. Consequently, yes, the word 'scientists' should never be lumped together.

    I understand where you're coming from and I also find that older scientists had a different stance on their findings. Keep in mind that my emphasis is on 'older scientists', which would have been in a day where such things as Christianity were still flourishing - in other words, not like today. Today, they all seem to be out to 'prove a point' for notoriety and many times are caught in error. Frank Drake is one very good example. He is currently back treading on his original theory and has made major changes to it recently. His changes have come about based on new findings from the ESA and NASA that cannot be denied. So that's one great example of science being taken literally and then suddenly he's changed his tune. The problem here is that hardly anyone even knows that he's changed his tune. They had to have caught one, maybe two recent articles that they missed. Meanwhile, we still see a preponderance of articles about Frank Drake's theory without his recent changes. :)

    Jumping down to the great flood, I'm a flood fanatic. I say this because I never miss a beat when I find a flood story. It's always intrigued me.

    I believe in the great flood but like others, I also believe that it wasn't as great as many think due to misinterpretation.

    I know you visit Naveed's Realm but I'm posting these anyway just in case you missed them. You might find them interesting.

    The light plow and simple irrigation appear abruptly in the Transcaucasus
    Drawing back the gates

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  6. One other thing, at least scientists still follow the law, theory, fact, rule. Imagine if it didn't exist. They absolutely have to abide by such. At least that keeps them at bay somewhat.

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  7. Eileen,

    I'm intrigued by the flood too. What are the odds that there would be so many stories about catastrophic flooding from cultures so far apart? One of my favorite posts that I did here was the one called Forgotten Civilization: The Science of Questioning or the Questioning of Science. In that post I point out that people should be looking for ancient cities around the old ice age coastlines, which are now underwater. It's funny to me that someone could teach about the ice melting at the end of the last ice age one minute, and then declare the ancient flood stories are just myths the next. As I said before, I don't know exactly how old the earth is, but I think the prehistoric period is more interesting than what the 19th century revisionists have portrayed it as. As always, I'm eager to learn more, but I don't want to learn everything from a 19th century materialist perspective.

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  8. Oh, and in regards to your second comment Eileen, I agree. It could be much worse, they could be sending out inquisitors. :)

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  9. I posted this in my forum a couple of years ago. It's both A Chinese flood story that may predate Enoch and a personal experience of mine.

    Chinese Flood Story and Who's the Dragon

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  10. Sorry, I've been so busy I haven't had a chance to come back and see comments. Well, I'll admit, I'm completely up in the air about science in many ways. I just remember being told we should drink our milk and then told that milk had antibiotics and hormones. It varies day to day. I think any scientist going at something to prove a point is doing a real disservice. If he goes to prove the flood or prove evolution, he's missing all the possibilities. We've seen by religious zealots that you can't make people see all sides but when it comes to science, you have to. They've been slow and late to deal with the paranormal and spiritual aspects, but there are some good ongoing experiments with NDEs with signs up high in emergency rooms where only a hovering body can see them. That kind of open-mindedness helps. I'll admit, I completely don't believe in any biblical flood, though I do believe that man has been vulnerable to area floods a lot and that has obliterated towns in the past and still does (i.e. Katrina). It should be part of the legends. I have no religious ties, so I can't suspend my logical mind enough to encompass enough water to flood the world and enough food for 2 of every creature including those in Australia that don't exist anywhere else on the planet and certainly didn't walk to the middle east to jump on a boat. I won't get into evolution either because I think there's a lot of aspects of it that don't tie together for me either. It's that very lack of need to validate a theory that makes me probably more open-minded and logic-based than faith-based, but our scientists really need to exhibit that. I know one thing about you, Jeff, you're a highly intelligent and very curiosity-motivated guy. I don't get my feelings hurt when you have a different belief system. I'm thrilled you do. If we didn't all have different views, we'd just accept things the way they are and quit asking questions. I want the world to be filled with believers and nonbelievers and those who are questioning and those who have lost faith and those who have found faith and all the variations in between. Still, I admit that no man and no religion is going to tell me what I think, so you will always get a very opinionated point of view from me. Heck, I even question myself and whether ghosts exist. I don't think the book is ever closed on this stuff so long as there are humans with their own minds.

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