Important Messages

Friday, February 4, 2011

Follow up with Michael - The Importance of Presuppositions

This post is in response to the comments posted by Michael on his blog which can be found here.

 I think you misunderstood the main point of my last post. The first point I would like to address is where you say that we do not look at the same facts. Let me ask you a question: Do people that believe in Creation have a different set of fossils that they look at than the Evolutionists, or do we all have the same fossils to look at and observe? Do Creationists have a different solar system to observe than Evolutionists or is it the same one? Do Creationists observe different animals than Evolutionists? The answer is NO. We all have the same evidence, the same FACTS.

The difference is how we interpret the evidence which brings us back to the importance of presuppositions. This is a very important point that I don't think you understood so I will try to explain more clearly. I will get to your other questions eventually about created "kinds" and "information" but if we don't understand the importance of presuppositions in the way we interpret evidence we won't get very far. So, please bare with me on this topic for a while longer. 

You stated: "I have no presuppositions, I only go where the evidence takes me." This clearly shows me you don't quite understand presuppositions. You are presupposing (taking for granted) things right now that allow us to communicate. For instance, you assume this website accurately transmits what I type once I click "submit." You assume that what you read is exactly what I typed and the blogspot website didn't mess it up at all. That’s just a simple example. It might be easier if you try to think of your presuppositions as those things you take for granted.

Let me show you a few of the things you take for granted: your own existence, the reliability of your memory, your continued personal identity, moral laws, laws of logic, induction and many others. Most people assume all of these things but they don't stop and think about why they assume these things. All of the above presuppositions make complete sense from a Christian worldview but are problematic in non-Christian worldviews. I'll touch on this a bit later. 

When you speak of Science, there are a large number of critical presuppositions that are assumed in order to do science. In addition to those above, one must implicitly assume (presuppose) that his or her senses are reliable. What good would it be to perform experiments if my eyes could not accurately relay the results of that experiment. And what good would it be to have functioning eyes if light itself traveled erratically and inconsistently. So, we presuppose that light travels in an orderly way. We also presuppose that the universe continually behaves in an orderly, logical way, otherwise, what good would any experiment be if the universe did not behave in a consistent, logical fashion? Hopefully, you are now realizing just a few of the presuppositions that are rationally necessary for science to be possible.

Science also presupposes induction. This is fundamental to science. Suppose I set up an experiment and get a certain result. I expect that if I set up an identical experiment under identical conditions in the future I will get an identical result. But why should that be? Most people don’t stop to think about this; they just take it for granted (ie. they presuppose it is true). Why should it be that the future reflects the past in this way? In an atheistic, evolutionary worldview, there is absolutely no reason why we should expect this to be true. Evolution is a completely arbitrary, chance, random process which would give us no reason to assume things would behave in a consistent manner. In the Christian worldview, induction makes perfect sense and is consistent with what we experience, which is another reason why I trust the Bible.

Here is why...God (who is beyond time) upholds the universe in a uniform way, and has told us that we can count on certain things in the future. Genesis 8:22 says "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” So, I’d expect to get an identical result to an identical future experiment, since God upholds the future universe in the same way He upheld the past universe. But apart from the Bible, why should we assume that the future reflects the past? Since we’re all made in God’s image, we instinctively rely on induction. But how can you, a non-Christian, assume that the future will reflect the past according to your worldview? You might say, as others have said, “Well it always has,” but this doesn’t in any way mean that it likely will continue to be that way in the future unless we already knew that the future reflects the past. In other words, when a person says, “Well, in the past the future has reflected the past, so I’d expect that in the future, the future will reflect the past,” he’s using a circular argument. What you've done is assumed induction t be true in order to prove induction. This is “begging the question” and isn’t rational. How would you answer this question yourself?

The ironic part is that only the Christian can provide a rational explanation for the presuppositions necessary for science. A logical, orderly universe, a rational mind, reliable senses, mathematical axioms, induction, and logical laws are just a few of the presuppositions required by science that are provided by the Christian worldview, but which have no foundation in an evolutionary worldview. Hopefully, you are now becoming more aware of how the evolutionary scientist and creation scientist both have presuppositions that influence the way they interpret the same evidence. 

In particular, most scientists have certain presuppositions about earth's history that affects how they interpret things such as fossil layers, geologic formations, ages of rocks, etc. So although we have the same evidence and facts, they draw completely different conclusions. The problem (for the secular scientist) is that science itself is based on Christian presuppositions. Science is possible because God upholds the universe in a logical, orderly way and because God made our minds able to think and reason logically and made our senses able to perceive the universe. 

So, what I have tried to do is again show you that when you use the Bible as your starting point to understand the world around us, you find that it is perfectly consistent with our experience and with reality. People often try to push aside the Bible intellectually, but practically, it is unavoidable, because the very things we all assume to be true as human beings only make sense in light of the Christian view of God and the Universe.

You stated in your last response: "What I would ask of Jason: prove to me that everything we created in six days. Please provide all your data. If, however, all you have is bible quotes, you are in trouble." If, after reading above, you truly understand the nature of presuppositions and the role they play in how we interpret data, you will realize that our data is actually the same. Creation scientists don't have different data they use to conclude that the earth is young. It is the same data secular scientists have. In a later post, I will however, share with you some scientific data that supports a young earth and universe. Before we get there though, it is important you understand the nature of presuppositions.

Please let me know if you have any questions after reading this. Peace.

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