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The Role of Assumptions Part Two: The Nature of the Debate

Thinking and discovering (i.e. philosophy and science) both rest on a foundational platform of axioms which are unprovable assumptions necessary to even begin. There are two kinds of assumptions: one that is a present confidence in some knowledge gained in the past, and the other is one on which the very existence of knowledge depends. It is the last type which serves as the foundation of worldviews and are called axioms.

Axioms are by their very nature unprovable. Axioms form the lens through which we observe the world and what we see through that lens either confirms it or proves it false but never proves it true. If by means of axiom “A” I discover premise “P” and P contradicts A, then I know that A is false. However, if P aligned with A one cannot claim that A is therefore true. To do so would be the same as claiming that A is true because P is true which was derived from A. Or alternatively:

IF A is true THEN P is true
P=True
THEREFORE A=True

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This particular logic structure is a kind of fallacy called “Affirming the Consequent.” An example of this fallacy would be to claim that I must have eaten an entire pizza for the reason that I am full and my fulness would be explained eating an entire pizza. Or alternatively:

IF I ate a whole pizza THEN I would be full
I am full
THEREFORE I ate a whole pizza

The faillure with this logical structure is that it ignores the fact that other reasons than eating a whole pizza can explain fulness, like eating an entire pan of lasagna. Or, alternatively, that P can be true for reasons other than A, like B or C.

That being said, some axioms are returned upon negatively by the discovery which was itself based on that axiom while other axioms are “confirmed” though unproven.

Worldviews themselves can be evaluated according to this same principle. A worldview is very much like an axiom except that a worldview is a body of axioms that attempts to give coherence and wider purpose to each individual axiom. However, worldviews are a commitment of the heart, that is, they are held emotionally before intellectually. This is why it is so hard to change worldviews, or religions for that matter, because the devotion is primarily from the heart. Worldviews attempt to provide the answers to the foundational questions of who we are, where we came from, where we are going, and how we get there. Each of these answers fundamentally shapes the way in which we view the world, hence, we call it a world-view.

We believe that we are the result of a loving creator, who in great majesty, created everything around us as a dazzling display of His orderly, creative handiwork. This worldview serves as a foundation on which we can base the axioms necessary to scientific discovery.

The idea that the universe is materialistically differentiable (all are not one, i.e. differences in the universe are meaningful and worth pursuing), that the universe is ordered (there are patterns in the differences, i.e. there are physical laws to discover), that the universe is consistent (I can observe the present and gain knowledge of the future) are some examples of axioms that are necessary for science to function (science is an empirical search for knowledge) ​​that can be readily extrapolated from the Judeo-Christian worldview of an unchanging Creator God of order. The materialistic differentiability is derived from the distribution of God’s creative act over the creation week and not all at once by the fact that since not all was created at the same time, not all can be one and the same. The order and consistency of the universe is derived by the fact that God as unchanging is not capricious and therefore He would uphold and establish the created order of the universe. Scientific laws are then the “rules” to which God subordinates the universe on a physical level as an expression of His immutability (perhaps I can in a later article outline how miracles are not a subversion of scientific law and therefore do not violate God’s immutability). On these axioms based in the Judeo-Christian worldview, modern science had its founding and the scientific discoveries that we hence discover are consistent with this initial framework, hence, the existence of organizations like Answers in Genesis, Creation Ministries International, Institute for Creation Research, and the like.​

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However, for the Atheist, the foundamental principle is that of randomness. The materialistic differentiability of the universe and the order and consistency of the universe are explained by holding to some unknown scheme by which infinitely many universes are created and the convenient assertion that our universe happens to be one in which science is possible. Superficially, the universe can be seen to be consistent to these axioms. The nature of the Creation versus Evolution debate is therefore not concerned with what we see as much as how it is seen. This should make sense since the goal of both sides is not merely to muster the most facts on one’s own side but to ultimately explain ALL the data. After all, we and they both see the same universe and appeal to some of the same facts to make our points (evolutionists argue that fossils show “old ages” while creationists argue that fossils instead demonstrate “young ages”). The primary difference between us and them lies in our interpretations of the facts and not in the facts themselves, the various interpretations themselves as outgrowths of the various starting axioms.

Therefore, the nature of this debate, deeper than merely being concerned with how the world is seen, is concerned with why we see the world the way we do. This means that rather than just attacking evolutionism the usual way by presenting contrary evidence, we can strike the core by challenging the very axioms that evolutionism, Atheism, Hinduism, etc, are built on. With this in mind “[Cast] down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and [bring] into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2nd Corinthians 10:5).

Always and in All Things, Let God be Glorified

Written by Dante Duran

I love math, science and Christian Apologetics but even more the Eternal Infallible Word of the Living God. I am working towards my Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from John Brown University. In my spare time, I debate evolutionists, Atheistic and Theistic, on Khan Academy by the pseudonym "Calculaeus."

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