We could all benefit from more humility and honesty when discussing the subjects of science and faith — on both sides of the debate.
Scientists, for example, should be honest enough to acknowledge that they cannot test and prove a philosophy that the physical world is a self-contained system of impersonal natural laws without any outside involvement from a God or a Creator. Many scientists realize this but face significant social consequences if they acknowledge it.
Students should not be taught that this philosophy of the physical world is based on scientific research. When teachers suggest that the science of evolution leads to the this kind of philosophy of naturalism, they give students the misleading impression that science is proving matters beyond the discipline of science.
Church leaders also must exercise more caution when speaking on matters of science. I’ve heard plenty of religious leaders suggest that evolution is an enemy of God that contradicts the account of creation. This is a careless statement because it fails to distinguish the actual science of evolution from the philosophy or worldview of evolution being used to explain ultimate origins.
Church leaders must be careful not to make the Genesis account say more than it does. The Bible does not require belief in a certain age for the earth and the Church should not make such an issue a test of orthodoxy.
We need Church leaders and Science teachers to exemplify mutual respect and serve their students well by distinguishing the fields of faith and science.
Science is an amazing discipline that has resulted in both blessing and tragedy for humanity. Before the influences that came with postmodernity, science held the seat of authority in academia and much of culture. Postmodernity, however, increased the tensions between the science and the humanities departments in the academy regarding intellectual authority.
Efforts to unseat science, unfortunately, were not so much about the nature of truth itself as about advancing a cultural demand for relativism. This is a subject deserving more attention.
We need more transparency about what science can and cannot prove. This will then require more honesty about ways that Theophobia has bound the academy to a philosophy of naturalism. I am troubled by the use of the tag “science” for what is really a philosophy or even a form of religion.
When scientists claim that the physical world is a self-contained system of impersonal natural laws without any outside involvement from a God or a Creator, they should have enough intellectual integrity to admit that such an opinion is beyond the reach of science and belongs to the discipline of philosophy or even religion. They shouldn’t even offer it as a “theory” because, in terms of science, the word theory implies a tested and proven postulation.
If scientists are willing to acknowledge a shift of categories from science to philosophy when addressing questions of ultimate origins, we can have an honest debate about the data used to suggest the plausibility of their philosophy.
This, of course, would require more honesty and humility about the validity of discovering truth in disciplines outside of science. Valid epistemology is not bound by one discipline.
Truth about “how it all began” cannot be resolved in scientific labs. Faith offers a different kind of evidence on the subject. This evidence should be weighed by all honest seekers of truth.
A helpful line from Scripture states that, “every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything” (Hebrews 3:4). A construction site, much like an amazing scene from nature, raises worthy questions about the demands of logic regarding a designer of all things.
The science of evolution is not meant to offer a “story” that parallels the biblical account of creation. It’s not that scientists cannot postulate on the subject based on assumptions or patterns. The science of intelligent design does this by postulating origins based on patterns of design.
Confusion of faith and science leads to disrespect for what each one contributes.
A good question
Is the belief that the material universe is all there is, was, or ever will be more rational than believing in an intelligent being as the creator of the world?