Page 98 - MODES of EXPLANATION

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other and how these things coalesce, which is quite an interesting discussion in terms of the
status of knowledge.
Zack Kopplin:
Yes, and the other fascinating point is I mentioned that creationist textbooks
have different structures for science, and they talk about the science the scientists don’t know
about, and they create new things every year. They have a new historical legal method of
evolution, and I’ve been trying to figure out what this is. What do they mean by “historical
science”? I’ve learned over the years that they make a distinction between science you see
with your own eyes and science you can understand through reason. So if we see different
fossils that change over time we can infer that they’ve changed, but the creationists don’t take
that as valid and call that historical. I’m now curious what the legal part of it is, because I
don’t know.
Man 4:
I teach in Wisconsin, which is up north, so there aren’t so many overt wackos. And
what I do is to identify that I have doubt in science. That is to say, all assumptions are false.
You can get away with some but not others, and so science is not about truth. It’s about what
lies can you get away with. So at that point they’re sympathetic, right? But then I say, “My
objection to creation science is not that it’s bad science.” I mean, it is bad science, it’s the
worst science you can get, but my problem with it is that in order to investigate the infinite
wisdom of the creator, you have to have an intellectual mindset that involves something that
encompasses the intellectual greatness and infinity of it. They worked that one out in the
sixth century, it’s called mocking God. So I tell these people they’re heretics, and at that
point the more intelligent of them are scared stiff. They don’t want to be heretics.
Zack Kopplin
: I think we’re aiming more at the religious belief in creationism, so taking out
the ones who are just making hefty six-figure salaries from advocating creationism, because
there are some of those. There are people who fundamentally have a framework constructed
on it, and their book is metaphysical versus naturalistic in their minds. If you take it that
everything in this metaphysic has to be literal and the Earth is 6,000 years old and you
construct everything on it, they’re perfectly logical on that. If you threaten that, you threaten
the entire book.
Man 5:
I wanted to pull out the differences that you see in working with politicians or with
people in Louisiana when the arguments come from a scientific mode versus a religious
mode, because I feel like a lot of academics when they think of science versus religion pick
the most extreme version of Christian religion to argue against, and miss that there’s a whole
breadth of (a) non-Christian religions and (b) Christian denominations that in fact support
science, as you find many of the ministers do in Louisiana that you’re working with. So there
are actually a lot of different ways for science and religion to interact. How do the politicians
or the people in the state respond differently if you argue with them or try to explain science
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