Analysis of the Opinion of Judge William R. Overton

Essay by Anonymous UserCollege, UndergraduateA+, September 1996

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Judge William R. Overton sets out five criteria in examining the validity of 'creation science' as a scientific theory in the case McLean vs. Arkansas. Two of these characteristics are testability against the empirical world and the tentativeness of a theory's conclusion. Overton explains why he thinks these criteria are important and why creation science fails to satisfy them.

Overton feels that testability against the empirical world is a fundamental tenet of modern science. According to Overton testability or falsifiability is what makes a theory scientific. Overton believes that creation science fails to meet this criteria. Creationists belief states that we do not know how God created, what processes he used, for God used processes which are not now operating anywhere in the natural universe. They believe we cannot discover by scientific investigation anything about the creative processes used by God. Thus the theory is not even open to the concept of testability because they claim that processes which brought about the universe are no longer in existence.

Overton goes on to say that this aspect of creationist belief is straight out of the bible and the story of Genesis. The bible is not science but religion.

To be able to test a theory is essential to all science. How else does one determine a hypothesis from reality, or fact from fiction? Science is only limited by technology and the tools of the era available to it. To say that a theory is not testable via scientific means is a rash statement. Einstein's theory of relativity made many predictions which could not be tested at the time the theory was presented. For example measuring time dilation and the distortion of space-time was only possible with the onset of extremely accurate atomic clocks. The bending of starlight could not be...