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Interpretation

Today, BBC News has described a man in Canada discovering fish fossils while digging a basement. He called a paleontologist. The BBC reports that the "specimens were in sandstone from the Paskapoo Formation, a Paleocene age sedimentary rock which underlies parts of southern Alberta. The BBC article continues:

About 60 million years old, these rocks preserve evidence of life from the time following the mass extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous period, which wiped out three-quarters of all species on earth, including the dinosaurs.

The article writes of Canadian newspapers having made much of the belief of the man who made the discoveries being a creationist. It describes the Calgary Sun as having asked the man if his find had affected his view that the earth was created 6,000 years ago. "No, it hasn't changed my mind," he is reported as having told the paper. "We all have the same evidence, and it's just a matter of how you interpret it," he told the paper.

Indeed, it is a matter of how you interpret it, but some interpretations are closer to reality than others. Science tries to determine which among rival alternative interpretations is more credible, which interpretation hangs together better as a gathered body of knowledge. Science doesn't deny our subjectivity and it also doesn't leave our subjectivity completely disconnected from the world outside our head including that which we are studying. Science doesn't hold that all ideas are equal. It recognizes variety and does not assume equivalence.


Copyright © 2017 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.