Sunday, October 17, 2010

ASTC on the Naturalistic Basis of Science

the Association of Science-Technology Centers [ASTC] states in "Evolution in Science Centers":

"the theory of evolution by natural selection is a unifying concept that explains the incredible diversity of living things, their genetic relationship, and evidence that living things change over time [ is] central to modern science [...]

'[from 2005] ASTC and its members -- science centers and museums around the world -- present information based on scientific evidence [...we're] committed to advancing the public understanding of science and contributing to the development of a scientifically literate society. Science is a human endeavor that uses observations and experimentation to develop explanations of the natural world. Scientific theories are grounded in and compatible with evidence [...and] is based on hundreds of years of scientific observation and experimentation and many thousands of peer-reviewed publications' [...] 

in response to public discussion about evolution [science] and creationism [nonscience] in museums, Jeffrey Kirsch, Director of the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, San Diego, California, wrote in the May 3, 2005 issue of the online newspaper Voice of San Diego:

'scientists parse the unanswerable into something they can answer through experiment, reasoning, or observational discovery. And, in general, the new answers lead to other questions that provide the basis for future studies and...future questions. Seen this way, science is a seemingly never-ending human quest to understand how living and non-living things work. It is quintessentially open-ended, and curiosity is the universal prerequisite for a working scientist [...] belief-based explanations have one aspect in common: they cannot be tested the way a scientific model can be. The scientific understanding of biological development on earth, usually referred to as evolution, is derived from the search for natural explanations for phenomena such as the fossil record, the geological record, and our planet's biosphere. And these explanations must be tested again and again until they become generally accepted or changed to fit the facts. So, when an institution uses the word science in its is understood by all to be concerned with natural and verifiable explanations for the way things work' [...]

[and ASTC recommends the following excellent resources]
Understanding Evolution [...] by the University of California Museum of Paleontology and the National Center for Science Education;

Evolution Resources, National Science Teachers Association;

Evolution and Creationism: A Guide for Museum Docents [...] by the Museum of the Earth at the Paleontological Research Institution, Ithaca, NY;

.Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion: Evolution, American Association for the Advancement of Science;

The Evolution Controversy in Our Schools - Letter to Academy members from President Bruce Alberts. National Academy of Sciences.  March 4, 2005;

Explore Evolution, a new exhibit at the University of Nebraska State Museum;

Evolution: Constant Change and Common Threads, Howard Hughes Medical Institute on-demand webcast of 2005 Holiday Lectures and student discussion session on reconciling religion and evolution;

Thomas Jefferson Fossil Collection, The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia."

Note: while ASTC advances science understanding, it seems to me that naturopathy -- at its core -- does the opposite.  And while science is preponderantly based upon naturalism and evidence, naturopathy seems to think that it's fine to throw in supernaturalism and not worry about evidence at all.  And while mainstream science heartily admits that articles of faith aren't, roughly speaking, processable through the methodologies of science, naturopathy seems to think that what science is, ultimately, is merely the process of putting ink to page to create [mythical] facts.

But what I love most is this:

"when an institution uses the word science in its is understood by all to be concerned with natural and verifiable explanations for the way things work."

That's not true with naturopathy.  Naturopathy labels the supernatural nonverifiable and downright science-ejected science at the institutional level.
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