how are some more certain of everything than i am of anything?….


Posted by richard on April 15th, 2012

i guess one of the things that bother me about those comments is that it radicalizes epistemology, it makes it a moral enterprise, you have to be the right kind of person, their kind of YEC Christian, simply to understand the physical world rightly. everyone else need not study physics or biology or whatever because satan will deceive you into believing false things about the world. so there is not body of facts you can reference with them, because your moral goodness trumps everything else(or lack of it)

reference the protester at k ham’s aig presentation.



Student : Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor. Are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you not a scientist but a preacher?

this is the crucial element in the argument, that observation is “proof”.

this has all kinds of problematic & systemic issues, the first is that we know all kinds of things that we can not observe but we can observe their effects, this is a problem for very small things. but as this quote shows, it’s not just the small things we presume about, but very slow things as well. things that take place over the span of many human lifetimes, those things we talk about in history or anthropology or cosmology are not seen by people, but we discuss their effects, their relics-the things they leave behind. but the fact that we can not observe much of history doesn’t mean it is nonsense and fable.

beyond these simple issues is the fact that we, by ourselves, alone, never observe most of the observable things that we know. but that the word of others who claim to observe it. essential we trust their testimony.


our culture picks from the universe of discourse specific ideas to give priority to. likewise our community of interpretation is a historical and cultural creature that picks from it’s potential repertoire the ideas it will give the most attention to. this is how the greater culture and specific history shape each of our particular churches. the Bible may impose some limits conversation but the direction is often outside of the communities control.

this is making the rounds here on fb.

it’s big issue is epistemology. how exactly do we know things.
it is simply not true that only the observable is knowable.
but below the surface is a more interesting question- why should we trust our perceptions and the mind that thinks about them?

i just ignore the stupid claim that somebody smart had a hand in it. but it does bring up an important issue that AiG is teaching as a sort of elementary school mantra-where you there?

this is the naive realist claim that only the observable is real or scientific. the fact that this picture is flying through my friend’s list is really good evidence that people are not adequately skeptical about the claims it contains.

it also contains AiG’s false distinctions between micro v micro evolution and observable v historical/origins science. them all revolve around this idea that only what we can observe is real….

this “observable” as model mediated is a crucial difference between naive and critical realism. the people passing this article around are not thinking in terms of system-model-theory but rather in terms of eyewitness, naive man-in-the-pew common sense.

this is the force of the “can you see the prof’s brain” line. it is also the point of this telling comment on KH’s fb page under the protestors picture:
“The funny thing about the girl’s sign is that in her evolutionary worldview, she cannot account for logic or rational thought, as they are immaterial, conceptual entities, but she is a materialist. Thus, she has [no]right to claim that her view is “logical”.”



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