Open Science
is Better Science

(methodological naturalism, intelligent design,
critical thinking, historical science, and more)

by Craig Rusbult, Ph.D.

This page compares
open science with closed science,
and explains why open science is better science.

• What you see above was the beginning of a comprehensive
early version of this page, which now has been split into seven
smaller pages. *   And many of the main ideas are summarized
(in a convenient "Cliffs Notes" condensation) in Sections 7C-7D
of my FAQ about Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design.
{ related ideas are also in other sections, especially 1B & 5A-7B }

note:  There is more than one way for science to be open or closed, and
the term "open science" is commonly used to describe an approach that
encourages a cooperative exchange of data and ideas among scientists.

* The 7 smaller pages (with details about ideas in 7C-7D, and more) are
Closed Science (with Methodological Naturalism) and Open Science 
An Introduction to Theories of Intelligent Design and Open Science 
Critical Thinking (and freedom) in Closed Science and Open Science 
Interactions between Science and Worldviews in Origins Science 
Can historical science (proposing evolution or design) be scientific? 
Ideas from these pages can be used to think about The Origin of Life 

In the main body of this page, all non-italicized links above (and below) will open in a separate new window, so this page will remain open in this window.

And the old page, which comprehensively explains why open science is better science, is still available.  It begins with the following introduction, which ends with an explanation of where ideas from the old page (in Sections 7A-7G, which are not the same as the section-numbers in my FAQ) are in the five new pages that are linked-to above:

    Open and Closed: What is the difference?
    The most common type of non-open science is "closed" by methodological naturalism (MN), a proposal to restrict the freedom of scientists by requiring that they include only natural causes in their theories.  The difference between science that is open and closed is the difference in responding to a question:  Has the history of the universe included both natural and non-natural causes?  In an open science (liberated from MN) this question can be evaluated based on scientific evidence; a scientist begins with MN, but is flexible and is willing to be persuaded by evidence and logic.  In a closed science (restricted by MN), evidence and logic are not the determining factors because the inevitable conclusion — no matter what is being studied, or what is the evidence — must be that "it happened by natural process."

    Open or Closed: Which is more useful?
    In science — in a logical search for truth about nature — is methodological naturalism a useful approach?  Although we can't be certain, probably MN will be useful if its assumptions are true, if there is a match between "what MN assumes about the world" and "how the world really is."  For example, if the history of the universe really has included only natural process, then...<snip>...  But if non-natural events really did occur during history,...<snip>...  Imagine that we're beginning our search for truth with an appropriately humble attitude by refusing to assume that we already know — with certainty, beyond any doubt — what kind of world we live in.  If we don't know whether history has been all-natural, our best scientific strategy for finding truth is an open science, with scientists humbly asking a question instead of arrogantly assuming an answer.
    In open science,... a scientist begins with an MN-assumption, but does not insist that — no matter what the evidence indicates — it is necessary to end with an MN-conclusion.  The assumption of MN is treated as an assumption, as a theory to be tested (there is testable-MN) instead of a conclusion to be accepted (with rigid-MN).  There is flexible open-minded inquiry, with freedom of thought for the individual and community, and scientists are free to follow the evidence-and-logic wherever it leads.

    The two paragraphs above are quoted from other pages, which also ask questions:
    If a "design theory" is false, could there still be design?  ...  What are the four types of design? and the seven logical possibilities?
    Can a design theory be evaluated?  Yes.  ...  Can a design theory be proved?  No.  ...  Can a "controversial" design theory be plausible?  Yes.
    Are design theories always controversial?  No.  ...  Why is there controversy?  Why are there any doubts about whether a design theory can be scientific?
    What are the stages in an inquiry about design?  ...  Is a design theory a creation theory?

    Originally, all of these questions — and more — were examined in Sections 7A-7G of this page.  But instead of keeping all sections in this one page, during a major reorganization of my pages about Origins Questions (in January 2005) they were split into smaller pages, and I suggest that you read the new pages [or my newer FAQ] instead of this longer, older page.  Here is a description of new pages that use Sections 7A-7G:
    • 7A-7B-7C (revised and condensed with some ideas omitted but others added, including a few from 7D-7G) is used to show how The Origin of Life poses an interesting challenge for naturalistic science, and to explain the logical benefits of an open science.  { comment: Later, in April 2005, I "split off" three pages about Methodological Naturalism and Four Types of Intelligent Design and Intelligent Design in Science. }
    • 7D, along with other ideas plus illustrations from Michael Behe's adventures in non-publishing, is in Critical Thinking in Closed Science.  As an added bonus, the right side of the page is about Critical Thinking in Open Science.
    • 7G and 7C are closely related (since they ask analogous questions about theories of evolution and design, respectively) so they are combined — along with a new transition explaining the similarities between the two sections — in a page asking "Can historical science be authentically scientific?"
    • 7E and 7F are condensed and combined — with 7F in the introduction and left column, and 7E in the right column — along with other ideas, in Interactions between Science and Worldviews in Origins Science.
    • 7E (one part, about Hidden Arguments and Open Discussions) is a small but important part of a two-page set that begins with a condensed overview of Origins Education in Public Schools.

And still later, in October 2006, these ideas were further condensed into parts of my FAQs about Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design.

This website for Whole-Person Education has TWO KINDS OF LINKS:
an ITALICIZED LINK keeps you inside a page, moving you to another part of it, and
 a NON-ITALICIZED LINK opens another page.  Both keep everything inside this window, 
so your browser's BACK-button will always take you back to where you were.

Here are other related pages:

Newer pages are described above
and my oldest page
Open Science is Better Science (long original version)
contains the original detailed versions of Sections 7A-7G,
before they were streamlined-and-revised to make the
medium-sized versions in the newer pages.  Also,...

about science (closed and open) by other authors

about Origins Questions by Craig Rusbult

This page is

Copyright © 2002 by Craig Rusbult
all rights reserved