Faith in the Science Department

Young people attending universities should be aware of the faith-based tendency to accept science as a discipline capable of explaining almost everything.

I say “faith-based” because these young people will be tempted to believe that their professors are right when they stretch science to suggest that it offers an evidenced-based path to a strictly material understanding of the universe.

We must help them understand the blatant deception of those who tell us that science has conclusively proven that nothing beyond nature could have any conceivable relevance to what happens in nature.

This viewpoint wrongly suggests that the physical, material universe is all there is, was, or ever will be and that the only real world is the world of the five senses.

The deceptive part is that students are being taught that this view has the full backing of science.

The line goes on to suggest (often with s condescending tone) that if you choose to believe in God or the soul or immaterial beings; if you desire to believe in transcendent values; intrinsic meaning, mystery, and a teleological spiritual vision; if you profess belief in the supernatural, the spiritual, the eternal and the unseen, you’re certainly free to believe in these things, but you’re on your own. 

We are told that you won’t have science to back you on such beliefs because science has freed us of these notions much like adults no longer believe in Santa Clause.

Yet the really big problem here is that there is not one shred of verifiable scientific evidence to support such a conclusion. Why? Because it’s simply outside the function of science to resolve such matters.

Only faith could allow you to believe the theory that nothing beyond nature could have any conceivable relevance to what happens in nature. I don’t say this to imply that faith is always without evidence. But faith works off a different kind of evidence than offered in the discipline of science.

We must be aware of the difference between science and philosophy or faith so that we don’t give people the misleading impression that the science of evolution offers more than it is capable of rendering.

We have to help people understand that as beneficial as scientific research has been, there are many things that are just outside of the reach of science.

The science of evolution (for example) cannot explain ultimate origins of the universe. It can postulate on the matter based on assumptions or patterns just as the science of intelligent design can postulates based on assumptions or patterns.

Universal human longings for love and meaning are two more examples of realities beyond the reach of purely scientific conclusion. These realities are also where we find significant discontinuity between humans and animals. The science of biological evolution cannot explain this discontinuity without shifting from science to philosophy.

Furthermore, our awareness of how things “ought to be” and our longing for “something better” also testify to our nature as unique beings of dignity and design. Yet we have a dark side to our story that degrades us below the beasts in our history of cruelty and evil.

Some suggest that evil is a metaphysical necessity for finite creatures. Yet why do we so strongly oppose it and long for a world without it? Why do we cry “foul” or “unfair”? Why do we have longings for restoration of Paradise Lost? Why do we even think in terms of good and evil?

Suggesting that this all flows logically from biological evolution as scientifically verifiable  is either intentional manipulation or a faith-based recommendation that confuses science and philosophy.

Steve Cornell

See also: Theophobia: Fear of religion in the Academy

This entry was posted in Academy, Apologetics, Atheism, Atheists, Belief, Campus ministry, Christian worldview, Christianity, Ethics, Evil in the world, Evolution, Faith, Intelligent Design, Martin Luther King Jr, Philosophy, Problem of evil, Richard Dawkins, Science, University students, Worldview. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Faith in the Science Department

  1. Amen! How conveniently some intellectuals forget or cast off Job 26:7, Isaiah 40:22, Rev. 7: 1-3, Psalm 139 among others, spoken years before we Knew the Truth.. “As for me and my house, I will trust the Lord,” Joshua 24:15 Thank you for this post, blessings,

  2. Anonymous says:

    Even outside any Biblical truth, science itself supplies evidence that there is more that what we can perceive with our senses, and more than can be measured in time and our three spacial dimensions. (See Edwin A. Abbott’s 1884 novella “Flatland” on the mathematical plausibility of 4+ spatial dimensions.)

    Honest scientists should be able to admit that science is just another belief system, albeit a practical and useful one. (See Scott Adam’s 2001 novella “God’s Debris”).

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