How do you think science should be used to determine human origins?
Your answer to that question should be informed by your chosen philosophy of life–open or closed–as we looked at in Step 1. Your chosen worldview will inform the answer to that question, and it will serve to either expand or limit your understanding of human origins.
If your worldview–consistent with a closed philosophy–demands that the proper role of science is to find only natural explanations for the universe and everything in it, then your inquiry into human origins will be narrowed to consider only such explanations. In fact, your science will be limited to considering only one explanation: evolutionary processes.
However, if your worldview–consistent with an open philosophy–permits the practice of science to include seeking any explanations for the universe and everything in it, then your inquiry into human origins will know no limits. In this case, your science will not be limited to evolution only; you will be free to infer all logical explanations for human origins.
If truth is our goal, we must practice science in a way that is consistent with an open philosophy of the world. This approach is most likely to produce a truthful explanation for human origins.
By allowing our practice of science to include all inferences from natural evidence we refuse to willingly limit possible explanations merely because of unscientific philosophical assumptions.
Otherwise, what is the point of our inquiry? Why embark upon the inquiry if we are going to start off with an unscientific assumption about truth that skews–and dictates–the range of possible answers?
Think about it this way: If it is possible that God really did create human beings, then we should practice science in a way that allows us to reasonably reach that conclusion. Our inquiry should be performed such that we are free to infer supernatural creation if the material evidence on earth warrants such an inference.
Did you notice the term “infer”? The question of human origins is simply a question of evidence: what causes can we reasonably or logically infer from observations of the material evidence at hand? But if you adopt a narrow, limited approach to science the range of causes you are allowed to infer becomes drastically small. In fact, you are allowed to infer only one cause: evolution.
Why willingly limit the possible inferences from the evidence?
Step 2 of our Seven Steps is necessary because for a generation or more students have been taught that science, by definition, must limit the possible inferences from the evidence. Students have been taught that science demands they infer only natural causes for human origins. If science must consider only natural causes for human origins, then we are stuck with evolution. There is no other choice.
But we believe that practicing science open to logically inferring any and all causes for human origins results in a greater possibility at arriving at truth. So why should our inquiry be limited by a definition?
It turns out that the definition of science imposed on students that requires only natural explanations is an arbitrary definition driven by a commitment to a closed philosophy of the world. The closed philosophy requires one to assume that only natural causes occur in nature. But we need not be so constrained. In Step 1 of the Seven Steps we were urged to choose an open philosophy of the world. That is, a view of the cosmos open to supernatural causes in the creation of the world. In the inquiry into human origins, therefore, we urged you to make a choice to be a free thinker, open to engage in free inquiry on the subject.
To encourage you to choose to practice science in an open, unlimited, manner let’s consider how this choice matters practically. One of the best ways to do so is to take a real-world example of material evidence we find in nature: the coded software messages in our DNA hardware.
Let’s imagine two scientists, each of whom are seeking to infer evidentiary causes for coded messages in nature.
Our first scientist works at the SETI Institute, originally set up by NASA, and is seeking to detect signs of intelligence in space. The SETI scientists do this by listening for coded messages in the form of radio signals detected in outer space. The SETI scientists knows that if they detect a coded message that it must have some form of intelligence as its source. And the intelligence is extraterrestrial, i.e., not on earth. This first scientist is allowed to infer intelligent causes to coded messages from an unknown source beyond earth because, presumably, the unknown source is natural, not supernatural.
Our second scientist works in a biology lab and is not only seeking, but has found extensive, complex coded messages in nature. The coded messages this scientist can see include complete, complex, building instructions in the form software residing in the hardware of our DNA. The software includes operating instructions for small factory towns inside the cell of every living organism. But in today’s science community this second scientist is not allowed to infer intelligent causes to the coded messages even though that is the most logical inference to be drawn from the evidence. Our second science is forced–by the imposed definition of science–to seek only natural explanations.
Why is the biologist prohibited from inferring an intelligence beyond earth, unlike the SETI scientist?
We all know why. But we all need not be constrained by an artificial, arbitrary, and ironically, unscientific definitional limitation imposed on the practice of science.
Choose to practice science in a manner most open to discovering truth. That is, choose to practice science in a way that you are free to infer any and all causes for the material evidence on earth. If you do so, in later Steps you will find that you are able to (1) reject natural selection as the best inference from the evidence, and (2) embrace supernatural creation as the best inference from the evidence.
Choose an unconstrained method of science that allows you to be a free thinker!