If the relevant evidence points towards a theory it does not follow that all the evidence points towards it. That’s because there might be evidence which science does not consider, such as theological claims, that are relevant.”
...on many issues the relevant scientific evidence is the only evidence, but on questions of origins that is not the case. The question of our origins is both a scientific and theological question so a correct examination of the issue will take into account both the theological and scientific evidence that is relevant to the question. To teach evolution is the true theory of origins one would have to show it is probable on all relevant evidence, and seeing science excludes relevant theological evidence from the discussion it cannot claim to have shown it’s true on all relevant evidence.
Ken was clearly displeased with this statement and labeled it the “other ways of knowing argument.” On his own site he asked me to respond to his criticisms; I will do so below.
1. Much of Ken’s response to this appears to be based on a failure to grasp what I actually said. In the above citation I did not say that evolution was not true nor did I say evolution was not probable on all the relevant evidence. Everything I have said is entirely compatible with theistic evolution, where a person comes to a position based both on the scientific evidence and the theological reflection. I did not say, as Ken repeatedly attributes to me, that “theology trumps science” or that theological reflection is more reliable than science. What I said was that a theory which is probable on all the evidence, that is all the theological and all the scientific evidence, taken together, should be believed over a theory which is only probable on the scientific evidence alone. I also maintain the opposite is true; a theory which is probable on all relevant evidence, drawn from both theology and science should be believed over a theory which is supported by theological considerations alone.
The issue then, is not that one discipline “trumps another,” it is that a theory is not worthy of consent unless it takes into account all the relevant information from both disciplines. I think that theological and scientific reflections are both reliable methods and our interpretation of both the theological and empirical data can be fallible.
These clarifications address an awful lot of Ken’s argument such as his statement, “To assert today that we should revert to a pre-scientific era, that theology or philosophy should trump scientific knowledge, is to claim that mythology/logic/reason is more reliable than evidence.” Given that I never said that theology should trump science, this statement is irrelevant.
Similarly, Ken’s claim that my position “is consistent with the Wedge strategy” is misleading. While it is true that my position is consistent with creationism, as I note above, it is also consistent with evolutionary theory. Contrary to what Ken thinks, the mere fact that two views are consistent provides no basis for linking the views together in a kind of guilt by association argument. Creationism is, after all, consistent with the view that Wellington is the capital of New Zealand; however, this does not mean that everyone who claims that Wellington is the capital believes that the world was created in six 24-hour days. Consider a less palatable example; Hitler’s belief in the superiority of the Aryan race is consistent with the claim that there is a city called Cairo this does not mean that anyone who remembers visiting Cairo is a Nazi.
2. Ken’s response also appears marred by a failure to adequately understand the meaning of some philosophical terms I use. In the above citation I use the word “true,” Ken says, in response to my use of it, that “the word [truth] means different things to theologians, scientists and people on the street.” In fact, in the above citation I am using the standard Aristotelian concept of truth which is common to both disciplines. Aristotle stated, “To say of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, is false, while to say of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not, is true.” By this definition the claim that the earth is round is true if the earth is, in fact, actually round, and it is false if the earth is, in fact, not round. Similarly in theology, the claim that God created the world ex nihilo is true if there is, in fact, a God and he did, in fact, create the physical universe out of nothing a finite period of time ago.
Ken seems similarly confused about the meaning of the word “logic” and goes to great lengths to assert that “logic must follow evidence.” However, this simply shows he does not understand logic; logic is the study of rules of inference, that is, logic tells one how to deduce conclusions from evidence. Once this is realised, the claim that logic should follow evidence makes no sense. One cannot deduce or infer anything from evidence without logic in the first place.
Similarly Ken’s suggestion that science is more reliable than logic is questionable. Science utilises logic to infer its conclusions from the empirical data; logic, therefore, is a presupposition of science that science needs if science is to conclude anything. Moreover, some axioms of logic clearly are more certain and reliable than many empirical claims, the claim, for example, that Both A and Not A cannot both be true, in the same sense, at the same time is more certain that speculations about how first life arose. Similarly with the rule modus tollens, something of which we can be relatively certain, which states: if A, then B, not B, therefore, not A.
3. Putting aside these misinterpretations and philosophical mistakes, Ken’s main objection is,
Implicit in the “different ways of knowing” argument, and hinted at by Matt in his comments, is the desire to change the science process to include theological “evidence” and claims that are not based on, or tested by, evidence. To give theology a “free pass.”
It’s claiming a logic or justification for the theist belief without allowing the normal checking that should go with knowledge claims.”
 that scientific claims differ from theological claims in that the former are empirically testable and the latter are not;  lack of testability disqualifies theological claims from being taken into account in theorising about the world.
Second, many theological claims are testable in precisely the same way. Take the claim made by Archbishop Usher that the world was created 6000 years ago. This claim is testable; we can muster empirical evidence to assess the age of the earth. The same is true for other theological claims; take the claim, for example, that the cosmos had a beginning in time, an implication of the theological views of St Augustine or that the universe is governed by laws that can only be discovered by empirical means, an implication of the voluntarist theology of the late middle ages or the claim made by 14th-15th century theologians that, contrary to some interpretations of Aristotlian physics, God did make the universe such that the earth orbited the sun or Augustine’s claim that God created the world with seed principles, via which, the whole creation of the universe could unfound over time or Bonaventure’s theologically based contention that the cosmology of his day was mistaken in claiming that the universe was infinitely old.
Turning to  the suggestion that only testable claims can be utilised in answering a question about the world is also questionable. Ethical statements, such as, “it is wrong to cause pain just for entertainment” cannot be, by themselves, empirically tested yet in answering many questions about what we ought to do it is impossible to get an answer without appealing to them. Moreover, one cannot empirically test anything without presupposing some truths that themselves cannot be empirically established. Hume showed for example that it is impossible to non- circularly justify the reliability of inductive reasoning. William Alston has argued persuasively that one cannot empirically verify the reliability of one’s senses (the reason for this is quite obvious, to empirically demonstrate anything one needs to use one’s senses, and hence, one needs to presuppose the reliability of the source one is trying to prove the reliability of). It is hard to even conceive of a situation where basic axioms of logic, such as the law of non-contradiction, could be observably false. Yet science proceeds by presupposing the reliability of the senses, the reliability of inductive reasoning and the rules of logic.
Ken’s central argument then is mistaken. His other arguments fair no better, such as his attempt to try to link my position with Stalinism;
So what would the trumping of science by theology/philosophy be like? We have seen some disastrous examples. Such as Stalin’s promotion of Lysenko, trumping of science by Stalinist interpretations of Marxism-Leninism. This put Soviet genetic science back many years and led to the death and persecution of many scientists. In many ways the current theological/creationist/wedge attack on science is of a similar ilk to Stalinism.
Unfortunately, this logic can be turned on its head as the same logic would entail that refusal to teach Christian theology as the truth in state schools is akin to persecuting Christian theologians, censoring their research, persecuting them and executing them; hence, any atheist who objects to their children being taught religion at a state school is advocating some kind of quasi-Stalinist policy.
Somewhat ironically, however, Ken makes some claims that if taken seriously suggest he is not adverse to religious persecution. Ken states that,
He [Matt] argues that teaching evolution is actually teaching “fundamentalist children that their religious beliefs are false.” Well, of course that is a problem for fundamentalism, not science. We cannot ignore reality because some silly people are offended by it.
Now as I stated in my original post and as I have repeated several times in correspondence with Ken, this argument is problematic. Both Ken and I agree that Islam is false, that Mohammad is not a prophet. If Ken’s claims were correct then, justice would require that the government run re-education programs for Muslim students telling them that Mohammad is not a prophet. After all, as Ken grants, “this is reality” and the religious sensibilities of other people cannot justify not teaching reality.
Ken’s second argument is that to fail to tell children that evolution is true is “child abuse.” As I pointed out, however, if this were true then the many Muslim, Christian and Jewish parents who home school their kids with creationist texts or send their kids to private schools where creationism is taught should be arrested, charged with child abuse and punished at law on par with child abusers; further, their children should be placed in state care and sent to state re-education centres. The logical implication of both Ken’s arguments is religious persecution.
Now I pointed both these points out to Ken when he raised them in previous discussions. Ken’s response was to apparently ignore the response and just repeat the argument. This, however, is not a rational response at all; simply repeating the same mantra over and over does not make it true.
 Larry Laudan “Science at the Bar -- Causes for Concern” Science, Technology and Human Values 7: 16-19.
 For example see, Alvin Plantinga “Religion and Science” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Evolution should not be taught in State Schools: A Defence of Plantinga Part I
Evolution should not be taught in State Schools: A Defence of Plantinga Part II