My father is an old-earth creationist. I am an aspiring stem cell biologist. He doesn't believe in evolution by natural selection (or global warming for that matter), and you can imagine the frustration I have.
He argues that he respects my knowledge of biology, but there are "PhDs out there that study old-earth creationism" and use science to "prove the literal truth of the bible".
I've debated with him about the supposed "incomplete" fossil record, genesis 1 vs. 2, bacterial resistance, irreducible complexity, the works. I've also used Occam's razor about positing a diety and the fact that creationism only tries to "scientifically" attack evolution but doesn't seem to use scientific methods to arrive at another alternative theory. This may actually have advanced science... the amount of questioning out there has lead to some reevaluation of certain concepts like sexual selection that may not occur as Darwin proposed.
Finally, I've argued that the National Academy of Sciences is composed almost completely of supporters of the fact of evolution.
What do you think about having alternative theories around (regardless where they come from)? Should these "scientists" be able to explore creationist theories? Arguing about scientific consensus doesn't work, anyone would realize this remembering Galileo (like Greta, I'm still angry about that). I'd like to be open-minded. What do you think?
You mean should a scientist be entitled to a personal choice of whether or not to refuse to accept the facts of science? Sure. But then everyone else is free to marginalize them as kooks. And that's just what happens...
I don't think any scientist would say that science provides absolute truths.
Science is the best truth that we have, the best version of it.
Scientists should obviously be allowed to look at things differently, and if they can satisfactorily prove their claims or show enough that it merits further study, then I think we have enriched our understanding of science. If not, then we move on to other things.
I agree... hopefully not funded by the government, however. What can I say, creationists just make me cringe. I told him to show me a peer-reviewed paper in Nature instead of articles and videos by theologians-turned-creationist scientists.
Well depends on what they are researching. Research topics that don't align with conventional wisdom aren't restricted to things based on religious beliefs.
If there is a scientific, rational leg to stand on, then there shouldn't be a problem with government funding. In fact I think it should be encouraged. Throughout history a lot big scientific breakthroughs have come from going against conventional wisdom. Pretty much all of astronomy(it's roots), Relativity, Evolution....
String theory was a pretty niche topic among physicists but after an initial struggle the field grew exponentially.
In computers, Charles Babbage worked on his Difference Engine & Analytical Engine without precedent. The creators of Unix at Bell Labs worked on it in a very clandestine manner. Bell didn't want any OS research after the failure of Multics, but that didn't stop Ritchie, Thompson & co. and now, pretty much the entire computing industry has been influenced by their work.
scientists can research anything they want, however any findings must be subject to peer review. The problem with most of these creationist scientists is that a lot of the time their PhD's are dubious, they often intentionally misinterpret the scientific method and twist facts to their own ends.
On my blog I wrote a short article regarding a case of this happening: http://anathiestbrit.blogspot.com/2011/12/theyre-at-it-again.html
If you check "The Discovery Institute's" site out you'll probably see many more examples.
I'm not qualified to explain and too lazy to search for answer as to what the criteria would be. It seems to me that there has to be a distinction between "allowed" and "funded." A scientist is anyone who investigates something using the scientific method. So if you want to research belly button lint then you should be allowed to do that and you can call yourself a scientist BUT I do not want my tax dollars funding creation-based theories. This can be tricky, how do we enforce the separation of church and state and at the same time have our tax dollars allocated objectively? How creation science has been kept out of the classroom may give a clue as to how it can be done. But it's a tough one.
Sure they should be able to pursue their "research," as long as they're ready to lose their scientific credibility, and likely their funding as well. I would be amazed to actually see scientific validation of some of the stuff in the bible, but I'm going to want to look at the methodology, data points, etc. If they're not doing science, they shouldn't say that they are.
I agree with Richard Porter. The thing that keeps scientists honest is peer review.
If someone says "I have new evidence for why the bible is true" I am going to try to examine that evidence with an open mind instead of being dismissive. That way when I most likely reject it, I will have rejected it on its lack of merit rather than my personal prejudice. We always should keep "what if I am wrong" in the back of our minds to keep us intellectually honest.
Scientists have to be able to admit when they are wrong. Creationists never will. There is literally no evidence at all you can present to Creationists that will dissuade them. Therefore they aren't scientists by definition. I would be dubious of any field of research they dabbled in, even if unrelated, because they have demonstrated that their logic and use of the scientific method is deeply flawed.
Sure- just as they should be able to pursue proving the earth is flat and that evil spirits cause disease - and as long as my tax money doesn't support such nonsense.
Ultimately, creationism is not science.
I believe that scientist should have the freedom to pursue "research" (if they call it that) that is based on creationism, but I personally think that they should not do so. What-ever "research" they do is not based in reality and thus not real science. In-fact, it is disgusting that some-one who calls them-selves a scientist to even think of doing this. And there are PhD’s that believe in Creationism, but most of them are not Biologists, Astronomists, or Geologists and not qualified to make those assessments. And do not forget about "guarded objectivity"! It is good to be open-minded, but have an intelligent filter on that does not allow non-sense in!
What are you proposing? Locking them up? Some government agency that approves or disapproves theories?
BTW, if he's a literalist, you should be able to drive him crazy with all of the contradictions and nonsense in the Bible.