Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Data vs. Evidence

Data is a factual point.

Evidence is data with an interpretation.


Data: The jar has two cookies in it.

Evidence: The jar has two cookies in it, after there were five in it. Dad interprets his instructions to wait until after dinner as having been disobeyed.

When I studied origins in college with Dr. Kurt Wise, I learned this difference. He had a big influence on how the Creation Museum presents one set of data with two different interpretations. “Man says…” vs. “God's Word says…”. Both are interpretations of the same data.

It's not as if there's “more evidence” for creation or evolution. Both sides see the same data through their own presuppositions and worldview and come to different conclusions.

This is why it's so ineffective to debunk individual arguments. Each is but a small piece of a much larger worldview. Until there is a complete paradigm for understanding everything in a different way, it's really hard to shift the paradigm because everything else from the existing paradigm is still in place.

I haven't been following this issue closely over the years since, but this is what the Creation Model and baraminology are all about: creating a complete way of viewing the data through the lens of God's Word.

Some scientists may say “that's not scientific” and “people shouldn't approach things with any pre-conceived bias.” Their problem, though, is they do the same thing. There are some scientists who approach everything as if there either is no God, or God is irrelevant to their studies. Whatever one may think of the merits or demerits of that idea, my point is there is clearly an assumption being made the outset. Science itself cannot exist without basic assumptions and postulates about the way things are.

I don't remember if it was a TED talk or Reason.com post, but I once saw someone claim that studying origins from a creation perspective was different than science because science seeks to open the conversation up by asking How, and creation ends the conversation by saying “God did it.” That's one interpretation of the data.

Another interpretation of the data of what creation scientists are doing is not by viewing God's Word as an ending point, but as a starting point. How did God create everything? What happened when God broke up the fountains of the deep? It's a way of having a direction to one's studies of everything around them.

I live in a city above sea level that has official charts detailing where all the marine clay in the area is. It's not a sea fossil on top of a mountain, but it still speaks to the point that no matter where we go on this earth, it's possible to reasonably look at it through the lens of having once been covered in water, just as God's Word describes.

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