Dispelling Common Myths About The Scientific Method

Francis Bacon, the father of the scientific method, once said: “There are two books laid before us to study; to prevent us falling into error; first, the volume of the Scriptures which reveal the will of God; then the volume of the Creatures, which express His power.”

On the other hand, some fundamental atheists claim that those who believed there is no God were the ones who replaced Christianity or religion with the scientific experimental method while coming out of the middle ages.

In the Alchemy era has been attacked viciously for its hypothesis of turning base metals into gold or silver. In some recent articles, it corrects a basic myth. This is not to say, the hypothesis is a valid one which should be used today but rather for their time, they were pursuing real scientific questions with the limited information available to them.

In a nature blog

“The ongoing clash of creationism with evolution obscures the fact that Christianity has actually had a far more positive role to play in the history of science than commonly believed.  Indeed, many of the alleged examples of religion holding back scientific progress turn out to be bogus.  For instance, the Church has never taught that the Earth is flat and, in the Middle Ages, no one thought so anyway.  Popes haven’t tried to ban zero, human dissection or lightening rods, let alone excommunicate Halley’s Comet.  No one, I am pleased to say, was ever burnt at the stake for scientific ideas.  Yet, all these stories are still regularly trotted out as examples of clerical intransigence in the face of scientific progress.”

The nature blog is a bit confused with history especially using the word the “church”, while its true most advancements in science were not a threat to Catholicism, it doesn’t represent Christianity as a whole nor the Bible. The threat was true believers in particular and her daughters who broke away during the reformation. Catholicism during the middle ages was a very powerful political force during that time using governments to put people to death if they rejected the sacraments as a means to get to heaven.

Also,  Catholicism was able to put to death people who were just interpreting the Bible or translating then making various printings for common people in the English language for it was against government law to interpret the Bible. Only Catholicism could make decisions on which languages the Bible could be translated, and distribution and who could do the interpreting. In this case only the clergy. Some of her protestant daughters had a similar problems even though they broke from the Pope being their leader. The conduct of both Catholicism and some of her daughters displayed were not sanction by the Bible and therefore not part of Christianity. So the nature blog was wrong for using, the “church” as representing the whole of Christianity.

But the blog is right about the flat earth belief myth, Catholicism nor true believers who are protestants or not actually believed nor taught that the earth was flat. This generally comes from certain atheists who try to interpret the Bible that way. One sees it often times referred to in certain so-called science blogs or certain atheist blogs when criticizing skeptics of evolution.

After dispelling some of the myths, the writer goes on to give positive cases of the “church” or a particular religion supporting science.

“It was only during the nineteenth century that science began to have any practical applications.  Technology had ploughed its own furrow up until the 1830s when the German chemical industry started to employ their first PhDs.  Before then, the only reason to study science was curiosity or religious piety.  Christians believed that God created the universe and ordained the laws of nature.  To study the natural world was to admire the work of God.” 

“This could be a religious duty and inspire science when there were few other reasons to bother with it.  It was faith that led Copernicus to reject the ugly Ptolemaic universe; that drove Johannes Kepler to discover the constitution of the solar system; and that convinced James Clerk Maxwell he could reduce electromagnetism to a set of equations so elegant they take the breathe [sic] away.”

Hannam said that both “science and religion are the two most powerful intellectual forces on the planet,” and gives the Alchemy era its due, he then attacks creationism by blaming them for “persuading the public that Christianity and science are doomed to perpetual antagonism” as though he is mistakenly protecting the likes of the Dawkins crowd! He might as well blame the Christians in the Roman arena being attacked by wild animals and crucified for causing the “ongoing clash” with Nero.

Just like Catholicism mainly focused on those who didn’t believe or practice the sacraments and was able to put to death countless people who believed in God during the middle ages, the focus of their most hated group in the academia world today are the creationists.  Alchemists get more respect than people who take God’s word as a historical account of origins, even though the great scientists Hannam listed, including Copernicus, Kepler, Newton and Maxwell all believed it.  Why would many in the academia world today hate what creationists stand for? Because it’s the truth!

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14 thoughts on “Dispelling Common Myths About The Scientific Method

  1. “Why would many in the academia world today hate what creationists stand for?”

    Hate ??? I don’t hate creationism. You don’t hate something if you argue that it is wrong !

  2. Michael thinks you hate creationism because God hates evolution.

    But, as Anne Lamott observed a long time ago,

    You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image
    when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.

  3. Michael quotes an unattributed[1] source:

    ” Christians believed that God created the universe and ordained the laws of nature. To study the natural world was to admire the work of God.”

    This is true. It is famously true of, for example, Isaac Newton and James Clerk Maxwell.[2]

    However, Michael turns this sentiment on its head. These and other scientists studied evidence from the physical world and found laws which they understood to reveal the glory of God.

    Yet Newton did not discover F = Gm1m2/d2 by interpreting the Bible. Maxwell saw a divine hand in Del x E = -dB/dt, but he never even considered trying to conform it to anything in the Bible. Neither they nor any other scientist has felt that their laws must follow any biblical texts. Only creationists adopt this attitude.

    This is why creationists are merely apologists for a belief, and are not scientists. They attempt to hijack science in support of their belief..

    Religious and non-religious scientists alike feel a sense of awe in discovering things that were unknown, or even unexpected, in nature. In that, they are united. They also unite in opposition to creationists’ distortions and lies about these discoveries.

    ===============

    [1] Creationists do that a lot, so that we can’t check the context for accuracy nor the source for qualifications.

    ]2] It is true of individuals, but not of The Church. Copernicus and Galileo, for example.

  4. On the other hand, some fundamental atheists claim that those who believed there is no God were the ones who replaced Christianity or religion with the scientific experimental method while coming out of the middle ages.

    No, Michael. That is absolutely wrong. It is a figment of your imagination. See, for example, Bowler & Morus, Making Modern Science: A Historical Study U. Chicago Press 2005), pp. 341-366.

    Michael is as ignorant of history as he is of science. Do even Glenn and Lance believe this bilge?

  5. Francis Bacon, the father of the scientific method, once said: “There are two books laid before us to study; to prevent us falling into error; first, the volume of the Scriptures which reveal the will of God; then the volume of the Creatures, which express His power.”

    Creationists, the idiot offspring of the scientific method, now say: “There are two books laid before us to study; to prevent us falling into reality; first, the volume of the Scriptures which reveal how the universe has to work; then the volume of the Creatures, which must be bent to fit my interpretation thereof.”

    .

    Michael”s reading comprehension has failed again. Bacon said that Scripture reveals what God wants us to do. Bacon did not say that the Bible says anything at all about physics or biology.

    Abelartd of Bath, the grandfather of the scientific method, said it even more plainly, long before Bacon: That reason trumps authority—such as the Bible—when investigating the natural world. (See Hackett, Jeremiah . “Adelard of Bath”. In Gracia, Jorge J. E.. A Companion to Philosophy in the Middle Ages (2007))

  6. @Olorin,

    Just like Catholicism mainly focused on those who didn’t believe or practice the sacraments and was able to put to death countless people who believed in God during the middle ages, the focus of their most hated group in the academia world today are the creationists.

    Michael, refusing to take sacraments had nothing to do with the persecutions of the catholic church against protestants. Martin Luther, for example, still practiced many of the sacraments.

    And another matter…the “middle ages” is a term that Historians do not like to use, since it is misleading. The period lasted from around 500 to 1100 AD…. It is hardly the “middle” or our common era.. Rather, it is in the first half. The term “Dark Ages” is also misleading.

    Then Creationists are not a hated group in academia. How could it be when it has no place there?

    Alchemists get more respect than people who take God’s word as a historical account of origins,

    Alchemy is a pseudoscience, but it naturally gets more respect than creationism because it was an attempt at a scientific method…of the sort, anyway. — Evolution does not contradict the Bible either since the Bible does not rule it out. Creationism, however, has no biblical basis.

    even though the great scientists Hannam listed, including Copernicus, Kepler, Newton and Maxwell all believed it.

    So what? — Just a moment ago, you lamented that Alchemy got more respect than Creationism, but ironically you list Newton who WAS an alchemist. — These people did not accept Creationism because of any real evidence they had. There was simply no viable reason at the time to think otherwise.. Besides, appealing to scientists from 500 to 600 shows that you cannot appeal to a viable authority that is from a more recent time. You insist on remaining centuries behind the time… It doesn’t help matters that Newton’s theory of gravity has been replaced.

    Why would many in the academia world today hate what creationists stand for? Because it’s the truth!

    And here we have one of the most stupidest statements ever made on this blog. Academia is not “against” the truth. Creationists stand against evidence, and that is why Creationism is looked down upon as useless.

    Academia is not about “the truth.” It is about evidence. Creationists claim to have “the truth,” an attitude that enables them to close their eyes to the evidence…. After all, someone who claims to have “the truth” cannot admit when he is wrong.

  7. Alchemy is a pseudoscience, but it naturally gets more respect than creationism because it was an attempt at a scientific method…of the sort, anyway.

    Alchemy is being rehabilitated these days. See Reardon, “The Alchemical Revolution,” Science 332:914-915 (20 May 2011). Investigators have duplicated some of the alchemical results, including turning silver into “gold”—or at least an alloy that looks and feels very much like gold. One long-discounted alchemical result was a rock that phosphoresced when heated in a fire. No one had been able to duplicate this, until one of the modern investigators used not only the same mineral, but from the same source as the original; this rock contained impurities that did reproduce the earlier result.

    I think alchemy got a bad rap because it was almost entirely experimental, without any guiding theories or laws. What worked, worked; no one knew why.[1] Lord Kelvin once remarked that there are only two kinds of science: physics and butterfly collecting. Chemistry was butterfly collecting until the periodic table revealed an overarching principle, and atomic theory explained the periodic table. Likewise, biology was butterfly collecting, until Darwin organized it with his theory of evolution.

    ==============

    [1] This reminds me of a story about the APL programming language: Your assembly-language programs don’t work, and you don’t know why. Your C++ programs don’t work, but you do know why. Your APL programs work, and you don’t know why.

  8. Michael quotes a blog that claims “Christianity” was a positive influence on science in the history of science.

    The work of science requires literacy. In the Middle Ages, who was literate? Priests. Some merchants, and even a few noblemen. But almost entirely those who had received religious training. Is it therefore any wonder that science and philosophy were done by people within this group? Christianity as such was only indirectly involved

    Later, in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, there were only three university majors: Law, theology, and medicine. Courses in the sciences were offered to everyone, but one could not major in science, much less in a particular science. If Michael knew any history, he would know that those who wished to go into science usually chose to major in theology.[1] Darwin, for example. Newton. So, again, although most scientists of that period had a “Christian” education, that was only happenstance.

    So, in order to establish the blogger’s thesis that Christianity per se was a positive influence on science, Michael must tell us what it is about that particular set of beliefs that encouraged science. Are you up, Michael? Or are you exhausted by ill-deserved smugness?

    =============

    [1} One might think medicine more appropriate. However, medicine at that time was considered at most a technology, and was not classed as a science.

  9. @Olorin

    Alchemy is being rehabilitated these days. See Reardon, “The Alchemical Revolution,” Science 332:914-915 (20 May 2011). Investigators have duplicated some of the alchemical results, including turning silver into “gold”—or at least an alloy that looks and feels very much like gold. One long-discounted alchemical result was a rock that phosphoresced when heated in a fire. No one had been able to duplicate this, until one of the modern investigators used not only the same mineral, but from the same source as the original; this rock contained impurities that did reproduce the earlier result.

    That is interesting. Thanks.
    What I had more on my mind when I read the word “alchemy” was the “Philosopher’s Stone,” and the “elixir of life.” And that sort of thing.

  10. Michael, you still put up with all this inane, ill-informed, misleading, self-aggrandising, vitriolic drivel from your commenters? Man, you deserve a platinum-plated gold medal!!

  11. @Dom,

    Michael, you still put up with all this inane, ill-informed, misleading, self-aggrandising, vitriolic drivel from your commenters? Man, you deserve a platinum-plated gold medal!!

    You have not specified any part of our comments that is “ill-informed” or “misleading.” Meanwhile, we here have always pointed out all the lies and misinformation Michael has posted. — Give an example of our posting misinformation if you want to be taken seriously.

  12. Hey Dom!

    Good to see you again! Thanks for the comment! Indeed, but they will never wear me down, I’m just getting started! :)

  13. And again Michael fawns over those who agrees with him while ignoring those who doe not. The sure sign of a man who wants a monologue rather than a dialog.

    But really, what can we expect from a man who only seeks to convince only himself?

  14. Dom

    Michael, you still put up with all this inane, ill-informed, misleading, self-aggrandising, vitriolic drivel from your commenters?

    Well, you and mcoville HAVE been absent for a while, so Michael has not had to put up with your misleading, self-aggrandizing vitriolic drivel.

    .

    PS: Would you like to borrow my thesaurus?

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