Origin Science, Historical Science, and Operation Science

The Origin of Origin Science and Operation Science

Young Earth Creationists and ID proponents will often complain that theories such as The Big Bang and Evolution do not qualify as rigorous science because they pertain to non-repeatable events that happened in the distant past.   They consider such theories as belonging to a poor cousin of science they call Origin Science (or Historical Science).   And they draw a distinction between this category and what they call Operation Science.   In this article I would like to explain why this distinction is unnecessary and deceptive.   Singular events in the past can be studied through science with the same integrity and rigor as recurring events and phenemona. Continue reading

The Cult of the Literal Adam

  I have the distinct pleasure of conversing from time to time with a brilliant thinker, James Knight, who writes eloquently about theology, science, and the reconciliation of the two.    He recently wrote an article on a UK website that beautifully expresses how taking the stance of strict literalism destroys the profundity and meaning of the Book of Genesis (among others).

This is not an original notion of his, since the mainline denominations would all say the same thing (however, actual mileage may vary amongst individual congregation members, though.).  But he has managed to express this difficult concept eloquently.

It is interesting that it drew the attention of Ken Ham, who is famous for his distortions of scripture and of science, who makes his living pandering to fearful Christian fundamentalists.

Evolution Explained with Weasels, Flashcards, and Telescopes.

One of the barriers that seem to keep Intelligent Design proponents and Creationists from understanding the theory of evolution has to do with a complaint about how the process of random mutation and natural selection could produce anything new.

You can often hear the objection voiced in a few different ways, but it is used as justification that a process that does not involve help from an intelligent agent could not possibly create new information in the DNA of an organism.  I propose in this article a demonstration for how that is possible. Continue reading

Monkeys, Weasels and Shakespeare, Explained

In a previous article, I described how 101 trained monkeys could come up with a line from a Shakespeare play.   And in a subsequent article, I simulated the process with a small computer program.   In this article, I would like to explain why this process is important to the theory of evolution. Continue reading

On Monkeys and Shakespeare, Preliminary Results

In a previous post I described how 101 monkeys might be able to create a line of Shakespeare without being able to read or write the English language.   After describing the process, I asked the reader if they could guess how many times the monkeys would have to run the process in order to get the line of Shakespeare.

In this post I would like to reveal the monkeys’ results. Continue reading

On Monkeys and Shakespeare

How many monkeys with typewriters do you think it would take to produce the works of Shakespeare?  Oh yes, lets’ suppose they have an infinite amount of time.  Does that change your answer any?

There is a serious point to this question that has been asked and answered in various forms since Aristotle’s day (but without the typewriters and with a different literary goal).   The argument surfaced over the last 100 years or so when the idea that the diversity of life we see on earth has come about through evolutionary processes that include randomness.    In a nutshell, the question boils down to whether a few billion years is long enough for a natural process that includes randomness to produce anything organized at all, let alone life on earth with all its diversity.

In this article, I would like to suggest how 101 or so monkeys could produce at least one line of Shakespeare. Continue reading

How Do We Know Things Through Science? (Part 2)

In the Part 1 of this series, I wrote that the two most important philosophical innovations that led to the incredible success of science is that science will seek to create only naturalistic explanations about natural phenomena.   And science will determine the truth of a scientific explanation by appealing directly and only to nature itself.     In other words we will ask nature to explain nature and we will use nature as the final authority about the truth of that explanation.    So how do we go about asking nature about nature?   And how do we go about asking nature about truth?
Continue reading