Facts and interpretation

the fact factory [website link]

Nothing in Biology Makes Sense except in the Light of Evolution (Theodosius Dobzhansky)

In my previous post I pointed out a striking difference in the interpretation or representation of actual data by two creation scientists. In this post I want to think this important subject in more detail.

In science there are facts, and there is interpretation, and from the first one follows the other. As humans we have to interpret the data around us to make sense of the world. When people are interpreting data, they are assigning meaning to certain abstract objects that are found to be true.

So it is an easy solution to the problem saying that creationists and evolutionists interpret fact differently, and so to say, through their different worldviews. But that’s a rather simplistic explanation for the major differences in interpretation between those two groups.

But let’s first examine the question what a scientific fact is. A scientific fact originates through application of the scientific method. And they should be independent from the one that observes that particular fact. So by now you understand that not every fact is a scientific fact. By proposing a hypothesis or theory people interpret the facts. In that way it is really clear that creationists interpret data differently than evolutionists.

And it is easy to fall into the fallacy, that every interpretation is allowed that is based on the same data. And for creationists it is easy to say that they interpret data through a different worldview and therefore stop the discussion about that interpretation.

Because there can be competing theories, which are both credible. And there can be one validated theory and another less sophisticated theory. And finally there can be one theory in which facts are interpreted by people in the same way again and again.

Is it interpreting the facts in a different way? That’s true. But at the same time it is, and will ever be, a search for the best scientific explanation of something that is happening around us. And when we cannot find another better explanation based on creation, we have to admit that evolution explains it better.

Back to the creation-evolution fact interpretation controversy. When I see how evolution makes sense of the world around us, I  really do think that evolution explains many phenomena in a better (scientific) way. Sometimes, using evolutionary assumptions it is more easy to interpret your data and to make sense of it… That is at least my experience, and I think that all creationists should admit that.

But of course, based on my ideological belief that the earth exists only 6000 years,  and that the Scripture is the key to the ultimate Truth, I have to say that I do not believe that the Darwinian conception of life is true.

But scientifically speaking I can say, unconditionally,  that the light of evolution shines very clearly over a broad range of phenomena. And my conclusion would be that interpretations in science are different from interpretations that are occurring in the daily world.

But is not a too easy answer to marginalize the role of ideology in the creation-evolution debate? That is something that I want to discuss in a future post.


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