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Methods of science or materialistic ideology?

From John Koons, associate professor of biology at Jackson State Community College, Jackson, Tennessee, who gave permission for his full name to be used. As can be seen, yet again an anti-creationist (a teacher in the US education system at that) is content to make hand waving and patronizing assertions about scientific methodology, which when used by such people is a euphemism for materialistic ideology, and make inflammatory accusations. Dr Jonathan Sarfati, CMI–Australia [now USA], gives point-by-point responses interspersed as per normal email fashion. Ellipses (…) at the end of one of Prof. Koons’ paragraphs signal that a mid-sentence comment follows, not an omission.

As I read through Marvin Lubenow’s answers on your website, it occurred to me that Mr. Lubenow should sue the state of Michigan for giving him an advanced degree in zoology/ anthropology without teaching him how science works. He either slept through important discussions about the methodology of science, or he wasn’t taught them.

Perhaps it is you who has a naïve view about how science works—failing to differentiate the operational science that put men on the moon and cures diseases from the storytelling about the past that characterises evolution.

A third possibility exists, that he intentionally ignored those keystone lessons in the limits and methods of scientific verification.

That’s interesting, coming from someone who apparently thinks that guesswork about the past in an attempt to explain everything from materialistic presuppositions counts as ‘science’.

Surely that is not the case because the website uses him as a “scientific” authority.

Of course, because he’s well qualified and experienced in the area of paleoanthropology.

I suggest Mr. Lubenow and the rest of you get some basic understanding of the very real differences between the spiritual and the physical sides of the universe. Your improper blending of the two has the potential to do much damage to young minds that do not yet know the diference.

Well, please demonstrate the difference. Here’s somewhere you can try—the Resurrection of Christ. It happened in the real world of history, in that the tomb was found empty on the third day and He appeared to more than 500 eyewitnesses, and it’s also important spiritually as the cornerstone of the Christian faith (see Evidence for the Resurrection). It also impinges on ‘science’, since ‘science’ says that dead men don’t rise. See also my answer to the assertion Religion and science deal with totally different areas?

I realize that your goal is nothing short of that very possibility, but you continue to distort and misrepresent scientific claims to such a degree that I wonder how you are able to deal with the Christian taboo against bearing false witness.

There is also a scientific taboo against making bald assertions without the slightest evidence.

It all starts with an understanding of the basic rules of both systems of studying the universe.

We do, unlike those who falsely equate science with materialistic presuppositional bigotry. For more information, see Naturalism, Origin and Operation Science.

Surely you could ask Mr. Lubenow how he can take words written by ancient people (and translated numerous times into the KJV or whatever version he uses) …

The English versions are translated directly from the Hebrew and Greek in which the original manuscripts were written. The historical accuracy of the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts has been demonstrated over and over again. Fulfilled prophecy and many other evidences indicate the Bible’s divine origin. For more information, please see Q&A: Bible.

… as evidence that conforms to the evidentiary rules of scientific explanation.

You have made lots of assertions but failed to produce a single example of error. Hand waving is just that. There’s no logical necessity for theories of origins to obey the self-serving rules of materialists.

You could, but the answer would go counter to your philosophical message, and that, gentlemen, is what this is all about, isn’t it?

Of course—we often point out that the main difference between evolutionists and creationists is at the level of axioms rather than data. That is, because of our different starting points, we interpret the same data in different ways. We are always up-front that our axioms are the propositions of Scripture—see Faith and facts. The problem is, evolutionists commonly deny that they have their own philosophical axe to grind—see The belief system behind evolution.

I hope that my words have not offended anyone.

No, just amused us with the ostensible earnestness by which you masquerade anti-theistic assumptions as science.

I have real religious concerns about the false witness problem, are any of you willing to tackle the issue?.

Sure. If we are rearranged pond scum as you as an evolutionist apparently believe, then on what basis can you complain about false witness? Your sense of morality, under an evolutionary perspective, is merely a set of chemical reactions in the brain that evolved in alleged hominid ancestors for survival value. Since chemical reactions are always ‘right’, there is no basis for saying that the chemical reactions involved in lying are any more right than those involved in telling the truth. For that matter, why should we trust any evolutionist to tell the truth, considering the number of textbooks which still carry fraudulent pictures of the peppered moth and embryo similarities frauds to try to indoctrinate students into evolution?

It’s also amazing to see anti-creationist churchians complaining about alleged false witnesses, because they miss the following glaring inconsistency with their position. The most famous command against bearing false witness is in the Decalogue (the Ten Commandments) in Exodus 20. But the fourth commandment in the Decalogue instructed the Israelites to work for six days and rest on the seventh, and provided the reason: ‘For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.’ This is diametrically opposed to the uniformitarian ‘science’ anti-creationists trust, so to them this reasoning is just absurd. And any commandment with an absurd reason is absurd itself, and by extension, any set of commandments with an absurd justification is absurd. So if a churchian denies the explicit basis for one of the Decalogue’s commandments, on what grounds can he take a moral high ground on another Decalogue commandment? It also shows the fallacy of claiming that the Bible is infallible only in faith and morality but not history, because the Bible consistently links faith and morality with history, as with the fourth Commandment (and of course the Resurrection is both historical and a key article of the Christian faith).

If you are right in a spiritual sense, you will be forced to answer for it later. Good luck and may God grant you the sudden wisdom and integrity to see the folly of your ways.

What ‘god’ do you mean? Evidently not one who actually did anything or who revealed Himself through the Bible or even in His creation. The God in whom Christians put their faith is not some abstract idea cooked up as some sort of psychological crutch. No, this is the Almighty Creator of all that is, including Associate Professor John Koons. All will indeed be held accountable for their lives at the Judgment. Since I am trusting in what the Creator himself has done through Jesus Christ so that I can escape judgment, I do not fear this. At the same time, my conscience is clear about your accusations of lying, as I am sure Dr Lubenow’s is. As disciples of the One who is characterized as ‘the Truth’ (John 14:6) we regard integrity very highly (not that we are claiming infallibility). You have made highly inflammatory accusations but not demonstrated any lack of integrity on our part.

I do not require a reply, but I welcome one.
John Koons
Associate Professor of Biology
Jackson State Community College
Jackson, Tennessee

(Dr) Jonathan Sarfati
Research scientist, author and editorial consultant

Published: 2 February 2006