All through my schooling, I was always taught that science was unbiased and objective. It was the search for knowledge where ever it leads you. But is that true?
First off, I wanted to know what the word ‘science’ means. In one dictionary, it gave the following definitions of science:
1. a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws: the mathematical sciences.
2. systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.
3. systematized knowledge in general.
4. knowledge, as of facts or principles; knowledge gained by systematic study.
5. a particular branch of knowledge.
The same dictionary gave the following definition for ‘objective’:
5. not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; based on facts; unbiased: an objective opinion.
And for unbiased:
1. not biased or prejudiced; fair; impartial.
According to these definitions, true science is the search for knowledge and the accumulation of facts and nothing more. Science provides the facts, not the interpretation of the facts. Science itself is unbiased and objective. Is there any such thing as a true unbiased and objective field of science?
Yes there is such a thing as unbiased and objective field of science. Fields such as electronics and engineering for the most part are objective. They deal with the known physical laws of electricity and materials. This type of science builds cell phones, skyscrapers and rocket ships.
When it comes to many of the physical sciences such as biology, geology, archaeology, anthropology and astronomy to name a few, I would say that all of them are biased and subjective. The reason is that they directly or indirectly are based on a presuppositional view of origins. The scientist’s personal belief of origins will ultimately affect how they interpret the facts and truths gained from conducting science.
Am I able to support this statement? Absolutely!
I and most biblical creationists will openly admit that we interpret the scientific data and facts through our biblical bias. We make no apologies for it. However, I know a number of creation scientists who, like myself, will examine the evolutionary interpretations of scientific facts to determine if they have any merit. Most evolutionary scientists aren’t willing to even consider if a creationist interpretation warrants review or has any merit.
From my own personal experience, I ran into many examples of the biasness and subjectivity exhibited by science teachers and scientists who claim to be unbiased and objective. In college I had a number of professors whose belief in evolution and millions of years would not allow them to even consider any other alternatives. When they taught evolution as science, I often questioned the validity and empirical proof to support their teachings. A professor of botany tried to teach how plants developed defenses against animals. I asked him how the plants made the decision to develop those mechanisms that they did not preciously possess and from where did they get the genetic information from to form them. He refused to answer my question and ignored me. When I pushed the question, he told me to shut up and accept that it happened, even if he couldn’t explain how.
In my geology class, I started questioning the assumptions that all these layers we were studying had been laid down slowly over millions of years. He tried to tell me it was a proven process. I asked him who was there millions of years ago to make the first observations. To say the least, he was not amused. On another occasion, I brought in a report of a local flood in the Philippines that deposited up to 12 feet of mud and silt in the area. When the rescuers were digging through it looking for bodies, a geologist on the scene commented that he was surprised at finding many thin layers in the sediment left behind. He said something to the effect that had he not known first hand that the sediment was the result of one incident, he would have said the layering indicated hundreds of years of deposition. My geology professor said that was interesting but had nothing to do with the rock layers all over the earth because they were known to have formed over millions of years. I asked if it would have been possible for the rock layers to have been the result of a massive global flood and told me not to be silly and that Noah’s Flood was nothing more than a fairy tale. Even when I presented him with empirical evidence worth considering, he would not even entertain it as a possible explanation because of his personal belief in millions of years.
Similar things happened in several of my other classes. Most of my professors would tell me to shut up or I would automatically fail their class. There was one professor in particular that had heard about me from one of his professor friends before I ever took his class. On the first day of class as he was calling the roll, he called my name and asked me to hold up my hand. He then told me that if I ever raised my hand again in his class or opened my mouth, he would throw me out and fail me immediately.
About ten years ago, I read a report of a female archaeologist who was well known in her study of South American archaeology until she proposed a view that went against the accepted paradigm. Her scientific peers not only rejected her conclusions, they literally forced her out of the field of archaeology because she dared to present an alternative view to what they accepted, regardless of her evidence. And this is not an isolated case.
While in the creation ministry, I have spoken to college professors who used pseudonyms to protect their academic careers. They were adamant young-earth creationists, but their positions in secular universities would be compromised if their views were publicly known. A number of them wrote good scientific papers under their pen names. The millions of years of evolutionary bias was so strong in their secular universities, that had their personal views of origins been known, they would have lost their jobs.
Likewise, I know of several graduate students that had to be extremely carefully of what they said and did, even outside of school because of their creationist beliefs. One student pursuing a graduate degree in geology from a secular university told me that the hatred and disdain for creationist was so prevalent by the geology faculty that, in his own words, ‘literally dripped with venom and hated’, whenever they talked about creationism or creationists. He knew for a fact that they would have expelled him had they know of his personal views, regardless of his academic achievements.
I also know of a scientist that was being published in the top secular scientific literature until they learned that he was a Bible believing young-earth creationist. Once they found out, they never accepted any more of the papers that he submitted.
I attended a scientific symposium in Chicago some years back and the opening speaker, Dr. Jerre Lipps, a professor of paleontology, opened his presentation by stating that if there was anyone in the audience that believed in numerology, phrenology, crystalology, astrology, ufoology, or creationism, that they had no business being there at the symposium. His obvious personal beliefs biased his statement.
I’ve also talked to high school teachers who have NOT taught creationism but tried to teach their students that true science requires the questioning of theories including evolution and it cost them their jobs. One teacher I spoke to on the phone one day told me that all he did was ask his students if it was possible for a living cell to suddenly evolve out of a prebiotic soup? He was reprimanded and moved from teaching a science class to coaching sports.
Another example I know of personally involves a well known paleontology professor at Texas Tech University that ran into biasness from his own peers. Dr. Sankar Chatterjee found the fossil remains of 2 crow sized modern looking birds in the rock strata in Texas. However, his fellow peers dismiss his claims and evidence because the rock strata is Triassic rock that is suppose to be 225 million years old. According to the evolutionary paradigm, the oldest and most primitive birds with what they call proto feathers (the early precursor to real feathers) is only about 150-175 millions years old. Dr. Chatterjee’s fossil birds are 50-75 million years older and are fully modern in appearance, so his colleagues reject the conclusions of his find. I had the opportunity to ask Dr. John Ostrum, one of the world’s premier paleo-ornithologist, about Dr. Chatterjee’s find. Dr. Ostrum told me that since the Chatterjee fossils were partially compressed and crushed, that Chatterjee’s conclusion that they are modern looking birds is highly questionable. I then had the opportunity to speak to Dr. Chatterjee about this and he told me that there is no mistake in his find. He showed me a photo of the fossils and I have to admit they looked very much like the skeletons of a modern bird. When I shared with him Dr. Ostrum’s explanation about the fossils being crushed, Dr. Chatterjee shared that many fossils are compressed and crushed during the fossilization process, but that has never caused for the rejection of any other specimen. He said that the rock is definitely Triassic as is the enter region in Texas where it was found. Dr. Chatterjee told me that they didn’t want to accept his find because it ruined all of the ideas of bird evolution.
There are many more examples of how personal biases within the scientific community will not allow them to consider anything that questions their foundational beliefs. A number of the Comments we have received at Creation Revolution also demonstrate how some people’s biases affect how they react to our articles. But do any of them actually admit their bias?
Boyce Rensberger, science writer for several major U.S. newspapers and director of Knight Science Journalism Fellowships at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, wrote:
At this point, it is necessary to reveal a little inside information about how scientists work, something the textbooks don’t usually tell you. The fact is that scientists are not really as objective and dispassionate in their work as they would like you to think. Most scientists first get their ideas about how the world works not through rigorously logical processes but through hunches and wild guesses. As individuals they often come to believe something to be true long before they assemble the hard evidence that will convince somebody else that it is. Motivated by faith in his own ideas and a desire for acceptance by his peers, a scientist will labor for years knowing in his heart that his theory is correct but devising experiment after experiment whose results he hopes will support his position. From: How the World Works, William Morrow, NY, 1986, pp. 17–18.
Eugenie Scott, director of the National Center for Science Education, wrote:
Creationists…claim that the rejection of the supernatural in modern science is a function of “naturalism” (materialism), a philosophy that defines reality only in terms of material causes. Because evolutionary scientists supposedly are caught up in a metaphysical viewpoint that rejects the possibility of a creator, creationists contend that evolutionists are unable to countenance evidence for supernatural intervention in the history of life. Actually, modern science has omitted the supernatural for methodological, not philosophical, reasons….[W]e simply get better explanations by ignoring the possibility of supernatural intervention or causation. Much confusion exists between materialism as a philosophy, and the methodological materialism that informs all of modern science. It is logically possible to decouple philosophical and methodological materialism, and individual scientists who are believers do it all the time. Gregor Mendel was certainly not a metaphysical naturalist, but he developed his understanding of the rules of heredity using methodological materialism….I stress methodological materialism as a tool to understand the natural world better…. From: Creationism, Ideology, and Science, in Gross, Levitt, and Lewis, 1996, p. 514-515.
In her opening statement at the AAAS Conference: “The Teaching of Evolution in U.S. Schools: Where Politics, Religion, and Science Converge” Sept. 26, 2000, Eugenie Scott explained how, the first time she got involved in a controversy was in Kentucky:
You can’t win this by scientific arguments…
Harvard geneticist, Richard Lewontin, said:
Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door. From: “Billions & Billions of Demons”, The New York Review of Books, Jan. 9, 1997, Pg. 31.
The statement by Lewontin is not surprising when you consider that his doctoral advisor was famed geneticist and evolutionary biology, Theodosius Dobzhansky. Dobzhansky is well known for his statement:
Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.
It is these biases that have lead to the all too familiar evolutionary phrase of ‘science verses religion’. In reality, it should be ‘our religion versus your religion’. The argument is anything but scientific. We all have the same facts. As demonstrated above, it’s not the facts, but the underlying biases we all have that affects how we interpret those facts. At least a few evolutionists like Dobzhansky, Lewontin, Scott and Rensberger will admit their biases, but most will not. They remain blinded or willingly in self denial as to how much their bias affects the rest of what they do. Most Bible believing young-earth creationists will openly admit their bias and make no apologies for it and will open to examining the evolutionary interpretations presented. We just wish the evolutionary community would be fair enough to do the same.