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Fundamentals of

Scientific Inquiry
MISS311: Apologetics
October 5, 2015

Learning Objectives
By the close of this class, plan to:
1. Be able to articulate the principle of
causality and how it relates to the
practice of science.
2. Understand the process of generating
knowledge and synthesizing ideas by
means of scientific inquiry.
3. Explain how a persons philosophy &
worldview inform their scientific praxis.

Key Questions
Questions from Geisler & Bocchino, Chapter 4

Is science a matter of faith?


What is the principle of causality?
Is the causality principle reliable?
Does quantum physics disprove causality?
Does causality apply to God?
Is God a self-caused Being?
Can science determine past causes?
Can origin science affirm the existence of God?
Does appealing to a Creator nullify the scientific method?

Geisler, N. L., & Bocchino, P. (2008). Questions about science. In Unshakable foundations.
Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers

Key Questions
Questions from Geisler & Bocchino, Chapter 4

Is science a matter of faith?


What is the principle of causality?
Is the causality principle reliable?
Does quantum physics disprove causality?
Does causality apply to God?
Is God a self-caused Being?
Can science determine past causes?
Can origin science affirm the existence of God?
Does appealing to a Creator nullify the scientific method?

Geisler, N. L., & Bocchino, P. (2002). Questions about science. In Unshakable foundations.
Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers

What this class is not...


This class is our chance to talk about big ideas
such as causality and scientific reasoning,
not a creation vs. evolution lecture.
This class is not a comprehensive review of
current ideas in science - such as quantum
physics. In this sense, it is more like a broad
overview.

When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the
stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And
the son of man that You visit him?
Psalms 8:3-4 NKJV

Causality

Precept 1
All disciplines begin with a
first principle that is assumed to be true.
First principles are self-evident truths, which
are assumed to be true. (Geisler & Bocchino, 2008)
First principles are the foundation of
knowledge. Without them
nothing could be known. (England, 1999)
Geisler, N. L., & Bocchino, P. (2008). Questions about science. In Unshakable foundations. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House
Publishers
England, T., & West Coast Baptist College. (1999). First principles. Retrieved from http://england.wcbc.
edu/sites/default/files/tengland/First%20Principles%20Geisler.pdf

Causality

Warm-up:
Consider the issue of embryonic
stem cell research:
Embryonic stem cells may hold promise for
curing diseases otherwise difficult or
impossible to treat.
Cells

Glass Needle

Embryonic stem cells are derived from


fertilized human eggs (embryos). The cells are
considered to be so valuable because they have
not yet specialized into a certain type of tissue,
thus can be developed into various types of
tissue depending upon the need.
Please talk to your neighbor and write your
brief thoughts on:

Embryo

A.

Ethical considerations of breeding these


human cells to harvest for medicinal
treatments.

B.

If / How a research scientists assumptions


regarding when life begins can affect
their practice.

Eckman, J. (2013, July 6). Stem Cell Research: New Alternatives - Issues In
Perspective. Retrieved from https://graceuniversity.edu/iip/2013/07/13-07-06-1/

Causality

http://www.freebibleimages.org/photos/jesus-birth/

Causality

A Maker?
"For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered
me in my mother's womb.
"I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully
made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul
knoweth right well.
"My substance was not hid from thee, when I was
made in secret, [and] curiously wrought in the lowest
parts of the earth.
"Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being
unperfect; and in thy book all [my members] were
written, [which] in continuance were fashioned,
when [as yet there was] none of them.
"How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God!
how great is the sum of them!
"I should count them, they are more in number than
the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee. "
Psalm 139:13-18
http://www.freebibleimages.org/photos/jesus-birth/

"But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst
make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts.
I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God
from my mother's belly." Psalm 22:9-10

Image: http://www.udel.edu/biology/Wags/histopage/colorpage/cfr/cfras.GIF

Causality

Principle of Causality
The first principle of science is a
philosophical assumption upon which the
discipline of science rests, and is known as the
principle of causality.

Every event has an adequate


cause.
Source: Geisler, N. L., & Bocchino, P. (2002). Questions about science. In Unshakable
foundations. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers

Causality

Principle of Causality
The first principle of science is a
philosophical assumption upon which the
discipline of science rests, and is known as the
principle of causality.

Every finite thing that had a


beginning must have had a cause
Source: Geisler, N. L., & Bocchino, P. (2002). Questions about science. In Unshakable
foundations. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers

Causality

Principle of Causality
For by him were all things created, that are
in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and
invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or
dominions, or principalities, or powers: all
things were created by him, and for him:
And he is before all things, and by him all
things consist.
And he is the head of the body, the church:
who is the beginning, the firstborn from the
dead; that in all [things] he might have the
preeminence.
http://chemwiki.ucdavis.edu/@api/deki/files/16105/20.1.jpg?
revision=1

Colossians 1:16-18 KJV

Causality

Particles: Cause or Caused?

~0.3 nanometers

~1.7 femtometers

sub-femtometer...

Thomas, J., & Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (2000,


September 22). Where we are: The Standard Model. Retrieved
April 2014, from http://quarknet.fnal.gov/run2/standard2.html

NASA / SDO http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/image/1304/743348main_SDOTimelapse_Sun_900.jpg

Causality

Big Questions
Does the energy in the Universe
need a cause?
Consider sunlight / starlight:
Drives energy systems on earth (weather,
biological systems, oceans, winds)
Radiant energy resulting from nuclear
fusion of H into He; E=mc2
What is the source for the original matter?
Original energy? Is it important?
Source: Geisler, N. L., & Bocchino, P. (2002). Questions about science. In Unshakable
foundations. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers
Also see: http://cse.ssl.berkeley.edu/bmendez/ay10/2000/hw/soln4.html

Causality

Big Questions
Does the energy in the Universe
need a cause?
Verify the credibility of the question.
Recall that causality is philosophical in
nature, affirming that a necessary condition
must exist for every effect.

Source: Geisler, N. L., & Bocchino, P. (2002). Questions about science. In Unshakable
foundations. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers

Causality

Big Questions
Does all knowledge come through
our senses?
David Hume (1711-1776) - Skeptic
Trust in human senses
Cause = one thing followed by (not caused
by) another
Cannot be certain of cause/effect
correlation
Source: Geisler, N. L., & Bocchino, P. (2002). Questions about science. In Unshakable
foundations. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers

Causality

Big Questions
Does all knowledge come through
our senses?
Hume assumes causality, ironically
Hume believed that his words would cause
others to be skeptics, thus arguing for
causality...

Source: Geisler, N. L., & Bocchino, P. (2002). Questions about science. In Unshakable
foundations. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers

Causality

Big Questions
Does all knowledge come through
our senses?
But the question is reasonable Lets ask:
In what ways are our senses good for
scientific inquiry? In what ways are they
flawed? How can a human determine if what
they sense is flawed?

Causality

Superceding the Senses


John 4:32
Isaiah 64:4
I Corinthians 2:9
II Corinthians 5:7
Ps. 146:8
Is 42:7

Causality

There is One Primary Cause


I [am] the LORD, and [there is] no other;
[There is] no God besides Me. I will gird you,
though you have not known Me,
That they may know from the rising of the
sun to its setting That [there is] none besides
Me. I [am] the LORD, and [there is] no other;
I form the light and create darkness, I make
peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all
these [things].'
Isaiah 45:5-7 NKJV

Causality

The Primary Cause is God


In the beginning was the Word, and the
Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without
him was not any thing made that was made.
In him was life; and the life was the light of
men. And the light shineth in darkness; and
the darkness comprehended it not.'
John 1:1-5 KJV
M106 Across the Spectrum, http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap140705.html
Image Credit: X-ray - NASA / CXC / Caltech / P.Ogle et al.,
Optical - NASA/STScI, IR - NASA/JPL-Caltech, Radio - NSF/NRAO/VLA

Meeting God in Trouble

And when he was entered into a ship, his


disciples followed him.
And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the
sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the
waves: but he was asleep.
And his disciples came to [him], and awoke him,
saying, Lord, save us: we perish.
Matthew 8:23-25 KJV
http://www.freebibleimages.org/photos/lumo-jesus-storm/

Meeting God in Trouble

And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O


ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the
winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
But the men marvelled, saying, What manner
of man is this, that even the winds and the sea
obey him!
Matthew 8:25-27 KJV
http://www.freebibleimages.org/photos/lumo-jesus-storm/

Iniqury

Scientific Inquiry
1. Problems abound
2. Man is designed with inherent curiosity - which
is easily combined with relevant needs
3. Inquiry:
a. begins with questioning what is known
b. continues with questioning what can be
known
c. establishes linkages from known to new
knowledge
d. compares against established standards
e. initiates cycles of testing and data collection
f. generates data which must be interpreted
g. creates new questions

Iniqury

Scientific Inquiry
1. Problem: Genetic cause for a certain cancer
seems likely, but the gene is unknown.
2. Process:
a. What is known:
i. Human Genome (sequenced by year 2000)
ii. Genes can be responsible for cancer
b. What is not known:
i. If this cancer is actually genetic
ii. Where in the genome is the gene?
iii. What subjects would be best to test?
1. Subjects with cancer in family?
2. Twins?
c. Generating new knowledge: Teams of people
tackling challenge, perhaps over decades...