‘Supernatural creation stories may, in fact, be true’

There are a lot of interesting comments on Other ways of evaluating truth claims; be sure to check them out. Josh Rosenau replied a couple of times, and many interesting things came up. In particular, Richard Wein gave us a passage from a statement by the University of New Mexico history department published at the NCSE site:

Science is one way of knowing the world ; it is not the only way of knowing, and it is certainly not the only way of knowing everything. Indeed, in the grand scheme of human thought and action, the domain of science is modest — the realm of natural phenomena. Science, as it has developed historically, will not and can never tell us anything about the nature of beauty, or the attributes of justice, or the qualities of goodness. There are many ideas and many truths (like the belief that all people are created equal, or that they have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness) upon which science must remain mute. Supernatural creation stories may, in fact, be true; but science, as only one way of knowing, will never tell us this. Science is simply not equipped to speak on supernatural issues, and it would be a mistake to try to force it to do so.

That’s from a section with a lot of statements, so the NCSE may not endorse every word of every statement…But then as an organization for the promotion of science education maybe it really shouldn’t publish hooey like that at all? Maybe it really shouldn’t publish statements by academics that say ‘Supernatural creation stories may, in fact, be true; but science, as only one way of knowing, will never tell us this’? Because that is ridiculous?

No, supernatural creation stories may not in fact be true. You might as well say that it may be true that I was born of the mating between an alligator and a mushroom four thousand years ago. That may not be true! And science, ‘only one way of knowing’ or not, will indeed tell us this. There are factual claims that can be falsified by science, and supernatural creation stories are that kind of factual claim. All the more so if they are breezily put in the plural! ‘Supernatural creation stories may, in fact, be true’; what, all of them? So the world may have been created by Raven, and also may have been created by JHWH? Sure, sure, everybody’s welcome, all shall have prizes; all the stories are (maybe) true, no stories shall be left out; if they contradict each other they contradict each other; yee-ha. Such is life in the U of New Mexico history department, apparently. But what is that kind of gibberish doing at the NCSE?

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