The topic of what we are to think about Rand Paul declining to state his view of how old the earth is at a recent home school conference has been a hot one on this blog for the last few days. Paul has been criticized for being some kind of closet creationist trying not to alienate voters who believe in evolution or for believing in evolution but not wanting to alienate his creationist audience.
My comments here on this blog on the criticism of Paul for doing this were designed to simply contrast the civility of the creationist response with the incivility of the Darwinist response--an incivility that characterizes much of the Darwinist response to people who differ with them. In the process, I have been asked to state my own position on the age of the earth, to which I have responded that I really don't have one. This has provoked further ire on the part of the advanced ape contingent in the comments section of this blog.
Several of them have demanded that I state my position. I find this rather ironic.
I have said that I don't really have a position on the issue of the age of the earth for a simple reason: I don't know the age of the earth. But this answer has proven unsatisfactory to these champions of scientific certainty. They think that--even though I have no expertise in any field that would bear on the question or any great familiarity with the state of knowledge in this area that I should have a position anyway.
What are we to make of people who profess to be opposed to holding positions based on ignorance but who think a person who doesn't know something is still ethically obliged to hold a position on it?
We can't believe them on scientific grounds because we are not scientists. We have insufficient access to scientific evidence which is the only way we can ground our beliefs, and we don't have the familiarity with the research that would be the only basis for such a sound belief. But they demand it anyway.
I don't know the age of the earth, but I know that someone who thinks that someone who doesn't know the age of the earth should have a position on the age of the earth anyway is a dogmatist. What else could he be?
This is the curious thing about people who hold to Darwinism: they demand that people with no scientific expertise hold scientific opinions. But on what basis? Many people can't hold them on a basis of scientific knowledge, since they don't have sufficient scientific knowledge to hold them. There is only one basis upon which they can hold them, and it is the basis upon which Darwinists demand they hold them: on the basis of authority.
Why is this curious? Because it is precisely authority we are supposed to abandon in this brave new scientific world. Authority is what religious dogmatists practice. It is what scientists are supposed to avoid. Yet here we have people who at least pose as scientific people (many of whom, of course, are not themselves scientists) who demand that we accept their opinions as truth merely on the grounds that they are scientists--or, alternatively, because they are making scientific statements.
We are to believe them because they wear laboratory smocks in the same way religious people used to believe others because they wore priestly robes. But, of course, we're not supposed to notice this parallel.
And the other irony is that, if we did set forth a belief in some scientific question which differed from their own beliefs, we would be criticized for having no scientific basis for the belief or for being scientifically illiterate--or both. Scientific illiteracy is no problem if you hold to the beliefs they champion, but they are grounds for being charged with scientific illiteracy--and treated with verbal abuse--if you disagree with them.
It is common to see reports of evolutionary scientists upset that more Americans don't accept their theories. But why should they accept them? Because a majority of scientists say so? Well, if you believe in adherence to authority, and you accept current scientific opinion as authority, then that's a fine idea.
But there's one problem: whether trust in the scientific establishment is well-placed or not, it's not a scientific idea of how one should form his opinions. There's not a particle of scientific method in it. So why do scientists so often demand it?
Should scientists demand that others act unscientifically in the name of science?