This afternoon I’ve been reflecting on the debate last night between Bill Nye and Ken Ham over evolution and creationism (see here), and reading the various critiques and criticisms in the blogosphere. A few can be found here, here and here. In this short post, I won’t add to this critique. Rather, I want to put down a few thoughts on science and religion.
Scientists work on things we don’t completely understand. This is a given about doing science. If we knew everything about something, a scientist would have no reason to figure it out. The debate last night centered on something I’ve thought about for a very long time in interacting with people who question evolution and science in general. Much of the basis of Ham’s argument to Nye was essentially, “Admit you don’t know.”
However, criticizing science for what we don’t yet understand shows a complete misunderstanding about what science is. That is the entire point of science – working on things we don’t know. In fact, if you want to engage a scientist at the most fundamental level, don’t ask them, “what have you found?” but rather ask them “what is your question?” And what flows from that is “what is your prediction?”