Answers in Genesis has posted a great teaching video explaining the nature of observational science, to prepare us a little bit for the debate on Feb 04 between Bill Nye the Science Guy (for the side of evolution) and Ken Ham (for the side of creation).
Philosophy is the discipline of study which seeks to answer the question, “What is true?” Science is a subset of philosophy, which seeks to answer the question, “What is true of the natural world in the present?” It does this by repeated observation. That is the scientific method. Science can only answer with authority questions regarding the natural world in the present, which can be tested repeatedly, and the results observed.
There are other disciplines of philosophy, which answer other questions. Theology seeks to answer the question, “What is true of the spiritual world?” History is a subset of philosophy, which seeks to answer the question, “What is true of the past?” Mathematics is a subset of philosophy, seeking to establish what is true of numbers and their operations (an admittedly simplified definition). Logic is a sort of language of philosophy, which identifies valid reasoning to arrive at valid or true conclusions. Logic is (or ought to be) used across all disciplines of philosophy in order to confirm true conclusions.
Evolutionists have tried to frame the creation/ evolution debate as one between science (truth) and religion (faith). In fact, the debate is between two different religions, or faith systems. Since the processes of origins cannot be observed and repeated in the present, science does not have the authority to answer the question, “How did the universe and life originate?”
The religion of evolution begins with faith in its foundational axiom, that the natural or physical world arose from natural or physical processes. This is a belief statement which cannot be proved observationally using the scientific method.
The religion of creationism, if you will, begins with faith in its foundational axiom, that the natural or physical world arose by special creation of a supernatural Creator. This is a belief statement which also cannot be proved observationally using the scientific method.
Does this mean that truth cannot be known concerning origins? No. The other disciplines of philosophy provide other avenues of inquiry which help us arrive at valid or true conclusions concerning the historical event of origins. If the upcoming debate makes one point clear to those watching (and to Bill Nye), I hope it is this one.