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Science of Uncertainty

by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell on September 8, 2014
“Science Is Not About Certainty” a noted theoretical physicist writes. For many people that might be a startling claim.

Dr. Carlo Rovelli—one of the originators of “loop quantum gravity theory”—recently published an article discussing the nature of science. The piece, called “Science Is Not About Certainty,” makes some points that biblical creationists have been pointing out for a long time.

Physicist Rovelli is an evolutionist and does not in the piece explore his personal religious beliefs (though he does disparage religious claims regarding certainty and truth), but he makes some refreshingly honest points about science. For one thing, Rovelli makes clear that the essence of science is gathering data and interpreting that data in ways that are often insufficient, limited, and changeable:

“We have observations, we have data, data require organizing into theories. So then we have theories. These theories are suggested or produced from the data somehow, then checked in terms of the data. Then time passes, we have more data, theories evolve, we throw away a theory, and we find another theory that’s better, a better understanding of the data, and so on and so forth.”

The data scientists observe must be interpreted, and Rovelli makes clear that a scientist’s philosophy will affect the interpretation. “Since theories change, the empirical content is the solid part of what science is,” he says. After bombastic statements by so many evolutionists—such as Bill Nye in the Nye-Ham Debate or representatives of the National Center for Science Education, who declare that students should never be taught that “theories” like molecules-to-man evolution and the big bang are at all controversial—the admission that scientific interpretations of data are fallible, changeable, and influenced by philosophical understanding is refreshing.

“The deepest misunderstanding about science,” Dr. Rovelli writes, “is the idea that science is about certainty. Science is not about certainty. Science is about finding the most reliable way of thinking at the present level of knowledge. Science is extremely reliable; it’s not certain.” He then makes a statement that runs contrary to the declarations of many evolutionary drumbeaters and media pundits:

“The very expression “scientifically proven” is a contradiction in terms. There’s nothing that is scientifically proven. The core of science is the deep awareness that we have wrong ideas, we have prejudices. We have ingrained prejudices.”

Dr. Rovelli indicates that a scientist’s preconceived notions—prejudices about the nature of reality—typically not only influence but even limit his interpretation of data, even causing him to overlook important scientific truths, including undiscovered major scientific principles.

 

Read the entire article here.

  1. September 22, 2014 at 6:02 am

    Reblogged this on My Delight and My Counsellors.

  2. September 23, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    Curious if you do see a place for Presuppositional apologetics’ brother?

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