In the turn about is fair play dept, it is the usual perception of people in scienc that the theists think they have the answers already, and all evidence to the contrary must yeild to what they know to be true already.
Is that an unfair perception?Ã‚Â Please explain if it is.
I think, in general, it's fair - but no more so than with the evolutionary establishment. Someone some time ago on another thread noted the sometimes conflicting hypotheses that one finds in creation science circles, implying that this was a problem. I noted that not only does this happen in evolutionary as well as creationary circles, there's not real problem with it. I went on to note the many conflicting hypotheses within TOE (p.e. vs. gradualism, tree-of-life vs. web/ring-of-life, cursorial vs. arboreal origin of birds, natural selection is sufficient/is not sufficient, etc.). The point is that both camps tolerate, in fact encourage, this 'free-for-all' paradigm (the more possibilities you have the more likely one is correct).
What is not
tolerated in either camp is a questioning of the paradigm/worldview within which these theories are formulated. You alluded to the notion that facts are arranged within a theory and that ALL theories are falsifiable. True enough, but the aforementioned paradigm/wordlview is a level above that of the theories. In similar fashion, theories find their context within the paradigm/worldview. The paradigm/worldview is the settled, unquestionable, top level explanatory framework for both camps; for evolutionists, it is materialistic naturalism, for creationists, it is biblical theism. Theories that are not commensurate, in principle, with the framework are not even considered.
For example, look at the work of Mary Schwietzer. Do you think that her work on dino soft tissue would have been published if she had offered - even as just a tentative possibility
- the explanation that the bones were on the order of hundreds/thousands of years old as opposed to millions/billions? Not a chance - though the data itself is certainly consistent with such an explanation.
This is where I think that, by and large, creationists outshine their evolutionary counter-parts. We openly acknowledge the fundamental role our worldview and foundational assumptions have in our scientific work. More often than not, evolutionists are not upfront about these factors in their own work. This can be seen most clearly in how they constantly cast the creation vs. evolution debate as 'science vs. religion'. This is dishonest nonsense. Both sides use the same facts to build their theories; but again the range of theories are limited by the overarching worldview/paradigm. And worldviews/paradigms are, by definition, philosophical/theological in nature
. This is why theology was once considered 'the queen of the sciences'. In reality, it still is queen of the sciences, it just depends on whose
theology (or, in a more general sense, philosophy) sits on the throne.
To hear evolutionists talk, their philosophy (naturalistic materialism) plays no part whatever in their science. At best, this is naive; at worst, it's dishonest. This is what I was referring to when I mentioned the ''the purely objective and empircal scientific enterprise' caricature; 'purely objective and empirical' in the sense of 'free from philosophy/theology'. I maintain that, in this sense, evolutionists do
portray science in this way. They do so by illegitimately incorporating their materialistic philosophy into the very definition of science, but that's another issue for another thread.