Creationism/Science teaching materials

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This is a discussion page for a topic that was started at the Colloquium page. What should Wikiversity do if an editor wants to add learning materials to Wikiversity that aim to teach creationism as science?

Origins of the discussion[edit]

The original source of this discussion topic was the Foundation-l email discussion list's Wikiversity thread of mid-August, 2006. The discussion continued at the Colloquium page (thread start - end).

The original section heading was "Food for thought":

Copied from the Colloquium page[edit]

From the Foundation's mailing list:
"in the US many people who homeschool do this because they do not like the lack of religion in public schools. How will WV handle the development of science teaching materials for homeschoolers which are based in 'creationism'?"
Birgitte SB

Wikiversity is going to need both "category:science" and "category:pseudoscience"....and maybe a major learning project designed to make clear the difference. --JWSchmidt 00:14, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Would anyone actually label their educational material as "pseudoscience"? ;-) It's a good question though - we'll need categories (and hopefully also metadata) to help us in this. Maybe some sort of template for the top of a material page indicating what agegroup the material is aimed at and what sort of pedagogical/theoretical framework it fits into would be useful? Cormaggio 06:39, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Doubtful. 8) But can honest religious people demand that their beliefs be called "science"? People who advocate creationism should quite happy to explain that the bible tells how the universe and man were created. I see no reason they would disagree that this is a belief system, not a theory proven by modern empirical evidence. Thus there should be no problem putting the material under appropriate theology or religious links. This material can and should be put under an appropriate area or category and linked to/ from the appropriate areas in science regarding disputed material such as evolutionary theory. If it is labeled as alternate scientific theory then it should be reasonable to identify upon what basis it is falsifiable. If it is simply belief, faith, and therefore unproven honest people will not insist on calling it science. Likewise it can include information attempting to demonstrate that evolutionary theory is or is not falsifiable in various contexts. I think it should be pretty obvious when dishonest people insist on labeling their opponents with perjorative terms. For example practitioners of Wicca are pretty sensitive about being labeled and lynched by "Christians" with good historical reason. If somebody insists on placing information about the Wiccan religion under the category of Christian Witches then we might suspect a problem exists. Intelligent Design on the other hand should stimulate very interesting discussion! A key I think is not allowing specific POV to label others destructively while attempting to present all reasonable or mainstream views for the participants to evaluate for themselves. Mirwin 10:57, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Sociology is a Social Science. Philosophy is also a social science if I am not mistaken. Theology could also be classified as a social science. Does creationism not fall under Theology? If there was a falsifiable valid study about creationism would this make it a science? --Remi 18:55, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
Geeky intrusion - Wiccaversity! (Sorry, I couldn't help it..) Cormaggio 15:43, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
There are different ways to teach creationism in an NPOV way. It can be a subject of history, especially US history: how did the creationist movement start, who are its leaders, etc.? It can be an interdisciplinary examination from biology and political science, describing the strategies creationists have used to attack science, their propaganda materials, etc. It can be a look at creationism as a mythology, in which case the subject can be divorced from scientific criticism and presented only in terms of its beliefs and values. All these are NPOV, i.e., they would be based on what the most knowledgeable people have to say about these topics.
Of course the idea of "teaching" creationism in the sense of colporting creationist propaganda is anathema.--Eloquence 11:08, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
I think we need to be a little more open than that. I don't think there's anything outright wrong with having learning materials that teach creationism or other theological concepts. One exciting possibility this project has is to bring together all kinds of disciplines and point of view. Why limit that to what science has approved? -- sebmol ? 11:20, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
It's not about approval, it's about experts in a particular field. Where creationists make claims about biology, they are in the domain of biology, and experts from that field will unequivocally refute them. When they limit themselves to stating their beliefs about creation as mythology, biologists are irrelevant. NPOV requires us to give the most space to the most knowledgeable people in a particular field. I don't think there are any peer reviewed biological papers written by creationists, except maybe in their own fringe publications.--Eloquence 11:35, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Seems to me there should be no problem with them forking it to another wiki, keeping the hard science basics, but recontextualizing to fit into a different metaphysics. --SB Johnny 20:01, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
NPOV is not a confirmed policy at Wikiversity yet although it may be binding by the terms of the approved proposal for six months. There is no effective material volume limit at an electronic learning institution beyond that of our infrastructure. If the Wikimedia Foundation refuses to host intellectually honest non-NPOV material then that will limit our initial learning processes quite a bit and likely limit initial participation but it will have to be lived with until other arrangements are feasible for supporting infrastructure and technical expertise. There are at least two kinds of peer review likely to be quite prevalent at Wikiversity. Peers at equivalent levels exchanging/studying material new to them. People with less learning in a given subject interacting with a subject expert. In the latter case "NPOV only" attitudes are likely to at least occasionally hamper people attempting to analyze the assumptions and detailed reasoning chains implicit in their own current POV. While this may be appropriate for highest speed manufacturing of an NPOV encyclopedia I have serious questions regarding its uncritical application to self- motivated peer exchange groups. Mirwin 04:35, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
Although I agree there is no electronic limit to the material. If we really want to provide usable teaching materials, there will limits on the materials themselves. Lessons must be doable in a reasonble amount of time and courses also have usability limits. This will certainly hamper the WP approach of giving voice to all competing opinions in order to achieve NPOV.--BirgitteSB 22:27, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
I disagree entirely. There are no single standard fits all. With alternate presentations always just a link or search away why define straitjackets? If somebody wants to come in and provide a single massive two-week lesson plan and others feel it is unwieldly and unusable as is, then they can take the FDL'ed material, link back to the point of origin, and rip it up and represent in whatever chunks they wish to present to their intended audience. Now we have two groups serviced. The original group of two oddballs that show up to interact with the first one. And the millions who can benefit from the second. Certainly we should have some voluntary guidelines or non-binding recommendations on how to effectively present the material. Consider a division of labor between technicians, tech writers, engineeers, and customer instructors. We wish to get information from all of these sources and present it to all of these sources. In some topics an engineer does not want effective lesson plans. He/she has spent between four and ten years learning the material in reasonable size chunks. When studying advanced techniques some of them would prefer a huge (and I mean huge) specification document and a thick drawing set (say two inches of E-size drawings). If someone chooses to FDL a set of the above in print ready FDL form so it can be used somehow in an intensive 3-day seminar on how to do a real heat analysis of a real building we do not want someone pointing to a firm limit that was set out of concern for the mythical average student. Wikiversity to some extent should be about freedom from constraints often encountered with good reason in physical world but which are being redefined by managed information on demand on the internet. If there are practical considerations like disk space and servers then obviously we have to live with it & we can expand the infrastructure appropriately. There are articles on Wikipedia in math way too technical and compressed for non mathmaticians. I have a fairly good practical education in math and since I have difficulty reading these pages I know they are not appropriate for the general public. The solution is not to delete or restrict these pages but rather add appropriate introductory lead in material liberaly laced with links to entire textbooks at Wikibooks and courses here at Wikiversity such that the average reader who chooses to can spend ten years studying math and then go back and read these advanced pages and fix typos if they choose to discuss them for a few months with the others hanging around the page. Mirwin 23:35, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

When we start labelling pages with "pseudoscience" or other pejorative terms we compromise our neutrality. When we silence the creationist or expect him to explain himself from the confines of the coffin to which we have relegated his ideas we give the lie to our own principles. It is not the function of NPOV to put chains on free speech; it is sufficient that it support an asymptotic approach to consensus. Thus faced with the thesis of "Arguments for creationism" we must allow for a (presumably articulate) guest lecturer to put forth his point of view as a proponent fairly and unmolested. Another guest lecturer in opposition should be able to present his case under the same circumstances. Both of these POVs should be protected. The "students" would then discuss the matter and strive to bring the matter closer to NPOV. Most importantly, part of their discussions should be focused on what do these two guests have in common. The role of the teacher in all this is not to disburse knowledge, but to facilitate its acquisition by the students, perhaps by repeatedly asking the questions that bring a subject to a new synthesis of NPOV. Eclecticology 20:17, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Wikiversity would never try to silence creationists, but Wikiversity can force creationists who participate at Wikiversity to follow a code of intellectual honesty. Wikiversity scholars need a way to move beyond the confines of Wikipedia's NPOV policy. I think that a policy on Scholarly ethics is a good way to guide Wikiversity participants when they step outside of the confines of NPOV. --JWSchmidt 20:32, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
Would you exclude an article that starts with, "I am a creationist, and this is what I believe: ... " Eclecticology 05:56, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

"I am a creationist, and this is what I believe: ... " <-- I have two questions about your question:
1) What more does the creationist say after, "I believe"? Many "scientific creationists" assume the existence of a "supernatural force". As soon as you go down that road you place yourself in the position of needing to explain what a "supernatural force" is and why you can assume that one exists.
2) What is the context of, "I believe"?. In the study of religion, the observation that many people believe in a "supernatural force" is not remarkable. In the study of science, the concept "supernatural force" must be approached with skepticism and Occam's razor, key elements of scientific investigation that very few "scientific creationists" bother to apply to their religious convictions.
If unexamined belief is the foundation of one's exploration of reality then you have left the domain of science. Creationists who do so, yet continue to claim to be "scientific creationists" have become pseudoscientists.
I would not exclude such an article from Wikiversity, but if an article is making pseudoscientific claims then it should be in Category:Pseudoscience. --JWSchmidt 11:58, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Two points[edit]

  • This can be solved by the proposed Disclosures policy; people just declare their streams to be Creationist, with Creationist units and lessons
  • As someone on Slashdot pointed out, just because it's science doesn't mean that it's true. For example, AFAIK, there's no scientific way to either prove or disprove the existance of God. Science therefore typically applies Occam's razor (part of the scientific method), and assumes that God doesn't exist, and bases some parts of scientific knowledge on this assumption. If one assumes, though, that God *does* exist (via non-scientific methods of proof, eg. philosophical methods), then the parts of science that are based on the assumption that there's no God, while still quite scientific, can seem like rather a waste of time. Both Creation scientists and Non-creation scientists believe that the purpose of eg. Natural science courses is to teach the truth about nature using the most reliable method where possible. So basically, the main disagreement is:
    • Atheistic scientists generally believe that the scientific method is the only, or most reliable method of truth, and don't use any other method when determining the existance of God
    • Creation scientists believe that the scientific method is not the best method to use when determining the existance of God, and use some other method. While many will admit that this is not science according to the scientific method, they all believe it to be true, and therefore what should be taught while studying eg. Biology. They look on Science as subordinate to their religious beliefs, and, if you assume that's true, then it's still science, not pseudoscience.

Anyway, much as I enjoy the discussion, I'll hopefully be able to stop here :). Hopefully Disclosures should make the entire discussion redundant :). TimNelson 12:10, 26 August 2006 (UTC)


"Science therefore typically applies Occam's razor (part of the scientific method), and assumes that God doesn't exist" <-- If you apply Occam's razor you are following an algorithm that leads you to use as few assumptions as possible. The idea of a supernatural God is an idea for which it is difficult to find objective evidence. If you build a world view by assuming that God exists, you have increased your number of assumptions beyond what science requires. Science does not "assume that God doesn't exist". Nobody has to create an assumption of non-existence to deal with every imagined thing for which there is no clear objective evidence. Science has another rule: "big claims require strong evidence". The existence of a supernatural God is about the biggest claim ever made and most scientists rightly demand a large amount of objective evidence to support claims of such magnitude.

"scientific way to either prove or disprove the existance of God" <-- Science is not about "proof" in the sense you seem to be suggesting. Science has a standard approach to claims about supernatural entities: show us the objective evidence. Then there is the "scientific Catch-22": if we do have objective evidence for a phenomenon/entity then it becomes part of the natural world and science can study it.

"If one assumes, though, that God *does* exist (via non-scientific methods of proof" <-- This makes no sense. If you have a proof then you do not have to assume.

"Atheistic scientists generally believe that the scientific method is the only, or most reliable method of truth" <-- I doubt it. I agree with what it says at Wikipedia: "Science does not and can not produce absolute and unquestionable truth. Rather, science tests some aspect of the world and provides a reasonable theory to explain it."

"Creation scientists believe that the scientific method is not the best method to use when determining the existence of God, and use some other method." <-- This is fine as long as they do not call what they are doing "science".

"this is not science according to the scientific method, they all believe it to be true, and therefore what should be taught while studying eg. Biology" <-- This is a perfect example of what the practice of pseudoscience amounts to; not doing science yet teaching it as science.

"They look on Science as subordinate to their religious beliefs, and, if you assume that's true, then it's still science, not pseudoscience." <-- What constitutes science is not determined by what creationists believe, it is determined by a social process in which objective observations that people can share are studied in a collaborative way. Beliefs that are not supported by objective evidence make little progress within the scientific community.
--JWSchmidt 17:25, 26 August 2006 (UTC)

Definition of Science
TimNelson 12:02, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Definition of Science

Ok, I didn't stop; maybe next time. I think the definition of science is the key to understanding the whole disagreement. I can see two possibilities:

  1. Creation scientists and Atheistic scientists disagree on the definition of science
  2. Creation scientists and Athetstic scientists disagree on the definition of the scientific method

Under possibility 1, the Creation scientists assert that the category eg "natural science" should contain the truth about the natural world, whereas Atheists believe that it should contain only the output of the scientific method.

Under possibility 2, the Creation scientists differ in their definition of the scientific method in that they presuppose that God is part of it.

Non-scientific methods of proof

IIRC, non-scientific methods of proof aren't as objective/rigorous as the scientific ones (whether one is attempting to prove or disprove).

I apologise for linking to something from 1873, but it does cover the subject. No, I don't expect you to read more of those links than you're interested in; they're just provided for examples (I'm not trying to prove God here, as this margin is insufficient :), but merely help you see how some people think).

  1. Links: Can the existance of God be proved
    1. Ontological argument (this page also contains, partway down, "The cosmological argument" and "The Teleological argument" -- they presumably didn't scan the book very well :) )
    2. Moral/Anthropological argument

Yeah, I got bored of the usual comment style :).


  • Brigitte, There are strict standards in the sciences. In mathematics, it is rigorousness. In physics, it is prediction-experimental verification-repeted verification. If the creationist can do that, great! I would be interested to hear about such a complete, rigorous, predictive, repeatable, self-consistent theory.Hillgentleman 00:33, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

end of material copied from the Colloquium[edit]

Further discussion[edit]

"Creation scientists and Atheistic scientists disagree" <-- I'm not sure that a distinction between "Creation scientists" and "Atheistic scientists" is the distinction that needs to be drawn. Many scientists see no conflict between their religious views and science as conventionally defined. Many religious non-scientists accept the fact of evolution. The Roman Catholic Church's position on evolution is generally in line with the goal of leaving, "the evaluation and endorsement of specific scientific theories to scientists" (Wikipedia). Maybe the correct distinction is between those who seek a literal interpretation of revelations and those who do not. "Many Christian churches reject creation science in favour of some version of Theistic evolution" (Wikipedia Creation science article). -JWSchmidt 17:52, 29 August 2006

What do we do if teachers want to teach topics with different POV? Do we allow forking?--Rayc 04:27, 31 August 2006 (UTC)
There can be many different learning resources for any particular topic. If a wikiversity page tries to escape from traditional Wikimedia NPOV policy and adopt one POV then Wikiversity:Disclosures comes into effect. --JWSchmidt 14:41, 11 September 2006 (UTC)
The first thing that came to my mind when I saw this discussion was w:Flying Spaghetti Monster. If someone approaches with a serious interest in composing something that drastically conflicts with a widely believed scientific theory, well, they should be able to work on it. However, I emphasize serious again. No moaning about the lack of representation of your beliefs if you don't want to write it yourself. Also, like any Wiki article, the facts must have sources to support them. Ok, for creationism the Bible and other dated religious doctrines are what contains the "facts" as they pertain to the theory, but in science there have been moments when brilliant minds were called feeble because they held such faith in things that could not be seen, like gravity, or heritable information in an organism, or a spherical Earth. Although I disagree with Creationism, it is a "theory" that has strong followers. As long as the topic of Creationism sticks to the "facts" outlined in the Bible and does not turn into a soapbox for the author(s) to preach from, I see no reason why it should not be included if someone has a strong desire to write it. Perhaps it could be initially placed in a separate section simply labeled "Alternative Hypotheses" or something similarly vague. As long as there is something that clearly states that the views in that section were not those held by the majority of the scientific community, I think they can be allowed. After all, I am sure there are some other (non-religious based) "Pseudoscience" ideas that may turn out to be true. After all, RNAi was pretty much considered "junk" floating around in a cell until very recently, and until the completion of the Human Genome Project it was assumed that since humans are "higher" organisms, then we must have millions of genes. Oops... My concern is that if a decision is made to restrict certain theories from being presented on Wikiversity, then other cutting-edge and legitimate works would also have to be filtered, and personally I would be highly skeptical of anyone who claimed to be qualified enough to determine which content is allowed and which is too abstract/obscure. One of the most valuable aspects of learning for me has always been the opportunity to explore any and all theories (within reason) I discover. The value, the true education, is my learned skill in being able to make my own decision and discern what makes sense from what is false. It is important to leave science theorizing to the scientists, but it is also important for people to not take the word of a scientist to be absolute truth as well. OR, I just had another idea, we could encourage either development of the Religion as Science to go with Science as Religion under Topic:Theology and Philosophy or the addition of "Christian Science Studies" under Topic:Religious Studies. A link with a tag could even be added at the end of the Evolution topic to point to the Creationist ideas. I apologize if I am merely reiterating what has already been said, but I get turned off by reading rants. I also do believe that if somehow creationism can be worked into Wikiversity in a manner that is respectful and acceptable to the majority of readers, then it would be a good foundation for dealing with other controversies that will come up. In the mean time, I am going to go feed my I.P.U..--Lynzerlot 14:07, 19 October 2006 (UTC)

Lynzerlot, you seem to be suggesting that anyone who wants to advance a "theory" can claim that their "theory" is science and teach students that it is science. In particular, you have advocated taking a non-scientific idea (biblical creationism) and allowing it to be taught as science. Can you really sanction such intellectually dishonesty in the name of being open to new ideas? Why not keep the teaching of religion in School:Theology? Within science education, biblical creationism can only be used as a case study for what does not constitute science. There are some people who want to create a new science for study of the role of "intelligent design" in the history of life on Earth; this is not biblical creationism. As long as such work makes use of the scientific method it would be welcome within the science schools of Wikiversity. --JWSchmidt 04:11, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

Which particular definition of science dose "intelligent design" (ID) come under? Dose it follow the inductive method and base its theories on the evidence of observation? I don't think so-- it selects specific observations that match its theory and ignores all the other observations that contradict the theory. How does ID account for the majority of observations that fit with evolution by descent and natural selection of variation? What possible evidence from observations would show that ID is false? Would the adherents of ID accept this evidence? The theory of Evolution is strongly grounded in observation and can explain a vast amount of observational data. If the observational evidence shows that evolutionary theory is inadequate then a new theory will be developed.
Can ID be seen as part of an evolving system of theory? Science is dynamic and changing as new observations are made then theories are modified and developed to account for this new evidence. Eventually the original theory will be no longer tenable and a new paradigm or theoretical framework will emerge. Can ID be seen as a paradigm that can be refined and modified and eventually abandoned? Mystictim 13:46, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

People such as Francis Crick have been able to explore ideas such as panspermia in a scientific way. It is possible to explore most topics in a scientific way and some people claim that they want to explore "intelligent design" according to scientific methods. Some people claim to make no assumptions about the nature of the "design agent", so it might be possible for such people to study "intelligent design" in a scientific way. --JWSchmidt 16:01, 29 January 2007 (UTC)

You haven't answered any of my questions about classing "Intelligent Design" as a science. You're going to have to be more specific. Which particular criteria of science does "Intelligent Design" (ID) meet? It might appear that ID meets Leibniz's criteria for a scientific hypotheses "God has chosen that which is the most perfect, that is to say, in which at the same time the hypotheses are as simple as possible, and the phenomena are as rich as possible." The problem is that an intelligent designer is going to have to be more complex than the things it is designing. So ID fails Leibniz's criteria for a scientific theory at the first hurdle the hypothoses (an intelligent designer) is more complicated than the phenomena (biological systems) it describes. As far as I can see ID doesn't follow the traditional inductive method of basing theory on observations either. From my understand of the way ID is framed it makes it impossible to falsify so fails Karl Poppers definition of science. I'm unaware of any community that exhibits the characteristics that Thomas Kuhn lays out for the formation of a scientific paradigm. If we are reduced to Bayesian inference for ID then I'm sure it fails this test if only I could figure out the correct prior probabilities. So what are we left with. Ah! yes Paul Feyerabend and as black majik, science and religion all have equivalent status then their isn't a problem. Intelligent design doesn't need to be a science because it has value in its own right. Mystictim 00:54, 30 January 2007 (UTC)
It is clear that you have fixed in your mind a non-scientific entity called "Intelligent Design" and for some reason you seem to be challenging me to show that it is scientific. My comment (above) was that it might be possible to have a scientific study of the idea that some "intelligent design" was involved in the history of life on Earth. I was suggesting a scientific study of the idea of "intelligent design" as a way by which "intelligent design" could be introduced into the science-related pages of Wikiversity. --JWSchmidt 00:50, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
Please help me remove that stubborn stain of non-scientific Intelligent Design from my mind by explaining scientific Intelligent Design to me. Mystictim 18:24, 1 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure that there is such a thing. The best I can come up with is some variation on the idea that life first evolved on some other planet and was transplanted to Earth or intelligent agents from some other planet came to Earth and modified the course of evolution on Earth.As far as I can tell, the way to find evidence for such "intelligent design" would be to have some sort of SETI program. --JWSchmidt 23:13, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

Putting aside all the laughs that your problem with that "Creationism" thing causes here in Europe, I think I can treat the topic with a bit of seriousness to try and help.

I'll start by saying I'm a Christian student of Physics which doesn't care if God exists or doesn't (yes, you can be Christian by reason and not necesarily by faith). As many people in this side of the world, I received a Catholic education at school and, as is usual here, was thaught not to take thousands-years-old Jewish myths contained in the Old Testament literally. And now my point:

Should we have a place for that Creationism here? Absolutly yes. I think it would be wonderful to have their arguments presented in a serious way and be respected. Can a Catholic Creationist "theory" of Biology be presented as an "alternate theory" for Biology? BY NO WAY!!! WHY? Because despite what seems to be the belief there in America, Christianism ISN'T Religion. Christianism is a Religion, as is Islam, as is Budhism, etc, etc, etc. If you build, say, Biology with the assumption that the Christian God exists, and that He exists and is the way you believe, I can do the same with Allah, and with every human belief which exists or could exist. This cannot be called Science nor Biology. Perhaps "Creationist Christian explanation of Biology". If the approach is to assume only Intelligent Design, but nothing about this Designer, I can again do the same but assuming multiple Designers, each with individual interests, like a Greek Pantheon, or assuming a Good Designer in struggle with an Evil Designer, like many of our ancestors believed. I can also build Physics with the assumption that the speed of light varies slowly with the pass of time. Or Biology with the assumption that birds do not evolved from dinosaurs but from monkeys. Possibilities are endless.

They possibly having a different definition for "science" is irrelevant: I can call cows pigs, and they'll still be cows, not pigs. Science is what it is, not what each individual wants it to be. If they have another definition, they can invent another word to fit that definition.

In conclusion, Creationists' beliefs have nothing of special or unique except that they are the beliefs they happen to have (and the only ones about whose existence they seem to be aware). Hence they cannot be presented as "the alternative", or as "an alternative" without properly framing them as "American Christian" or something. Should they be present in University? I agree with Pope Benedict when he addressed the presence of Theology in University: yes, it should. University is the realm where Reason penetrates and dissects everything by the mean of discussion. And Reason should be allowed to enter Theology, and reason should be allowed to enter Creationism, for the good of all. Neither side is afraid of letting it happen, so be it. I use to discuss Theology with a very educated and reasonable friend of mine who happens to be Catholic. So I do not deny the possibility that among Creationists there also exist educated and reasonable people. As absurd as it can seem here in Europe... --Jorge 23:35, 31 January 2007 (UTC)

Science and belief[edit]

"Science is what it is, not what each individual wants it to be" <- Here I understand you reached the pivotal point of the present discussion: many scientists *believe* science have nothing to do with beliefs. But of course any scientist choose what and how is his working model based on what he WANTS by means of what he believes in. And (unfortunately to some) this is a philosophical matter. The first imaginable scientist who decided science to be appropriate only if based on physical data (at the expense of whatever psychic possiblity) simply decided it NOT scientifically, but philosophically. It was HIS BELIEF to believe only in matter and not in spirit. In case he had assumed that because spiritual data was not detectable to his knowledge, he should not refuse the spiritual reality just for that (what is impossible to detect is not impossible to exist), and instead he should at least expect there might exist some (presently inconceivable) way to detect it. But one will never find a way to detect *possibly* existing psychic energy or so, while not even trying to search for it. And not to search for it while NOT having any material proof in favor or against it, is TO BELIEVE in matter exclusively, what is weird (to do without FAIR reason) to someone born in a religious culture. So, creationism is in fact not considered to be appropriate science to certain scientists (the real pseudoscientists) ONLY because historically they did and do not WANT it. About your point: the same way there are *different* scientific schools to approach one same matter or phenomenon, we could have different scientific "creationist" schools according to their different religious backgrounds. Skytel 19:25, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
Two different views of the origin of modern science: 1) people did not believe in "spirit" so they invented a form of science that ignores "spirit". 2) people systematically tested hypotheses that either did or did not rely on concepts like "spirit" and they found that concepts such as "spirit" added nothing useful to their scientific efforts. If you look at the history of science there are many major figures who were interested in "spirit". Some people list Isaac Newton as the "greatest figure in the history of science", but he was religious and did work in protoscientific areas that some would label as "occult studies". There are living scientists such as Francis Collins who are religious. Science is defined by methods that work, not the beliefs of scientists. "we could have different scientific creationist schools" <-- I think this is true, but we would need to carefully examine each one because some creationists tend to adopt approaches that are not generally recognized as scientific. Adopting a set of methods and calling yourself a scientist does not always mean you are being scientific. --JWSchmidt 21:09, 11 February 2007 (UTC)
Psychic research always got acceptable results, although very incipient in a just possibly developing science. And *of course* using working models just like mainstream science. When a psychic scientist could say "psychic energy" he will never have any proof that such "energy" really exists, as also no "physical energy" like heat will ever be proven to exist. That is because science (or reason) is not able to find out WHAT things are, but just HOW things are. Or not what things ARE, but just how things BEHAVE. The phenomenon (thing) which gets our naming and which single behavior gets our study, IS (at best) what our working model TELL it is (with absolutely no proof). When such a phenomenic behavior is consistent to what it was TOLD to be, then the (pseudo)scientist screams that what he told is true! No way: this is fallacious. Just the consistence is true, because some different telling (model) could also be consistent. If a physicist studies heat transference (a behavior) and just that turns him able to assert that some "energy" (an entity) was transmited from one point to the other, then also a psychist could observe psychic transference and thus assert there was "psychic energy" transmission. But as different sciences use different METHODS (all formed within the limits one *believes* to be workable) because of their different objects, also psychic science could use some even far different method, that given to be working well, it also should be accepted as real science. So you see our whole scientific production is still very very incipient. We have not even developed a definitive prime numbers formula, or don't know even how many elements are there in nature, or even have not cured all diseases! These are very basic examples of exigencies for an intelligence that is proud to be scientific for a hundred years. Thus, as we are just scratching the surface of what is physically still unknown to us, how to challenge for psychic proofs? How to doubt it? Just for being physically undetectable? What a joke! :)) Skytel 05:38, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
"will never have any proof", "with absolutely no proof" <-- Proof is just an argument that other people accept. History shows us that it is not wise to pick a mysterious topic and say that we will never be able to understand it. For most of human existence the stars were beyond our intellectual reach, then methods were found to understand them. Physical concepts such as "heat" are very useful within science and that utility is all the "proof" scientists need to treat "heat" as something that exists. Scientific ideas are always tentative, both with respect to what we think we understand and what we currently feel is probably impossible to know. "Just for being physically undetectable" <-- It is easy for people to imagine nonphysical phenomena, but the burden of proof is on you if you claim a nonphysical phenomenon that you imagine exists beyond the confines of your own thoughts. If you claim to have knowledge of something that is not physically detectable then you have to find a way to share that knowledge with other people before they will take you seriously. Claims about nonphysical phenomena have to compete with a very robust biological theory of brain function that says all thought and knowledge is the result of physical processes in material brains. --JWSchmidt 15:29, 12 February 2007 (UTC)
"Proof is just an argument that other people accept" <-- What means proof is based in what two people already agree and that's what raises contention when materialists tries to attribute spirit to matter. "For most of human existence the stars were beyond our intellectual reach, then methods were found to understand them" <-- What hapened when humans began to accept stars are *not* little lamps. Maybe its time for the scientific community begin to accept spirit is *not* brain function. "...that utility is all the "proof" scientists need to treat "heat" as something that exists" <-- How convenient. Maybe "spirit" could have the same right. "...the burden of proof is on you if you claim a nonphysical phenomenon that you imagine exists beyond the confines of your own thoughts" <- WHY should one assume thoughts to be not a nonphysical phenomenon? "...you have to find a way to share that knowledge with other people..." <-- Impossible to one who believes whats nonphysical MUST be physical. "Claims about nonphysical phenomena have to compete with a very robust biological theory of brain function that says all thought and knowledge is the result of physical processes in material brains." <-- That's the joke. :) Claims about physical phenomena have to compete with millenary worldwide religious doctrines that says all matter is the result of spiritual creation. Skytel 05:06, 13 February 2007 (UTC)
"proof is based in what two people already agree" <-- Within science, new arguments are put forward, they are doubted, challenged and questioned, if they hold up under critical examination then others start to accept them. "Maybe spirit could have the same right" <-- a first step towards that goal would be for someone to put forward useful scientific argument in which "spirit" is given a tangible definition and in which it plays a functional role. A key part of a scientific argument is that you provide a way for others to independently test your claims. "nonphysical phenomenon" <-- you have to demonstrate how it is possible that anyone can have knowledge of a "nonphysical phenomenon". How do you gather data that reflect the properties of a "nonphysical phenomenon"? "Claims about physical phenomena have to compete with ..... religious doctrines" <-- Why? Science is not built on doctrines, it is built on verifiable evidence. "believes whats nonphysical MUST be physical" <-- If you can provide evidence for nonphysical phenomena then other people will try to repeat your findings. Until such independent verification is attained, there is not a good argument that would make anyone else believe in the existence of the "nonphysical". --JWSchmidt 05:04, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

Continuing Discussion[edit]

Additional discussion can continue on this page. Some content from this page has been moved to:

Above, JWSchmidt, who, I hope, will be unblocked, wrote:

If unexamined belief is the foundation of one's exploration of reality then you have left the domain of science. Creationists who do so, yet continue to claim to be "scientific creationists" have become pseudoscientists.
I would not exclude such an article from Wikiversity, but if an article is making pseudoscientific claims then it should be in Category:Pseudoscience. --JWSchmidt 11:58, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

The problem I see was that JWS was proposing a collective judgment of someone. From my perspective, we, helplessly, explore reality with a basis in unexamined beliefs. Some of us attempt to set those beliefs aside, but the problem here is that my conclusion that you have left the domain of science is rooted in my beliefs and my interpretation of my observations. As to science and many other things. So, that category, over seven years on, how are we doing? How many pages in the category? Only one: Pseudoscience, which was started by ... JWS. Is it "pseudoscience"?

The Category has one subcategory, Category:Paranormal. Is what is paranormal, ipso facto, "pseudoscience"? (Only if there is a pretense to science when what is proposed as theory is not testable, but claims to be "scientific truth.")

Science is not a body of theory and knowledge, but it is a process that generates information that can be used to create predictive theory.

"Paranormal" is an empty category, so what is being called "pseudoscience"? I just looked at the addition of "paranormal" to the pseudoscience category. Very recent, a few days ago.

Basically, we can waste a lot of time debating whether something is pseudoscience or not. What we can do is examine and question claims to "science." But JWS seemed to think we could force people to think clearly. Most people, under coercion, think very poorly, because we are naturally programmed to resist domination.

We can be neutral and stand for scientific integrity without coercing any good-faith participant. This is Wikiversity, not Wikipedia. --Abd (discusscontribs) 01:48, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

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