Let's Not Create A New Pseudoscience

It is obvious from the four statements in the November 17 issue of The Scientist (pp. 11-12) that definitions for science and religion are critical for defusing the evolution/creation wars. As an evolutionist who is religious, I would like to evaluate the problem a little further. By definition, science limits itself to those phenomena that can be explained by the invariant laws of nature. Creation science is indeed an oxymoron because it brings unprovable assumptions as explanations into the pr

By | March 23, 1987

It is obvious from the four statements in the November 17 issue of The Scientist (pp. 11-12) that definitions for science and religion are critical for defusing the evolution/creation wars. As an evolutionist who is religious, I would like to evaluate the problem a little further. By definition, science limits itself to those phenomena that can be explained by the invariant laws of nature. Creation science is indeed an oxymoron because it brings unprovable assumptions as explanations into the process of scientific reasoning. It denies science's methodological assumptions. The result is pseudoscience.

However, the concept that no reality exists outside of or behind the invariant laws of nature is not part of science, nor is it a restatement of its method. If that materialistic assumption is said to be the scientific view of reality, we have created another oxymoron, "scientific religion." Science has violated its own method by making statements that do not concern empirical reality.

Unfortunately, this viewpoint has been very effectively promulgated in recent years. Carl Sagan intones "The cosmos is all there is or ever will be." Ed Wilson predicts "The final decisive edge enjoyed by scientific naturalism will come from its capacity to explain traditional religion, its chief competitor, as a wholly material phenomenon."

Perhaps fears might be calmed and the controversy quieted if the National Academy of Sciences or the American Association for the Advancement of Science were to make an official public statement to the effect that the use of so-called scientific statements (such as those quoted above) which imply the (non)existence and (in)actions of supernatural realities and/or entities is simply another form of pseudoscience, a break with scientific methodology. We can hardly expect theologians respect the boundary if we do not.

—David L. Wilcox
Creation Commission
American Scientific Affiliation
P.O. Box J, Ipswich, MA 01938

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