Yes, you read that correctly. The title of today’s blog is NOT faith vs reason. It is science vs reason. It seems most of society currently believes that science is the answer to all humanity’s questions. Science is assumed to be logical, rational, and reasonable. Science is looked on as the dependable and unassailable bastion of all truth. Science can tell us whether the universe is the grand design of God, or an accident of cosmology. Science can supposedly tell us if we are a child of God or the children of apes.
Faith, on the other hand, (at least in the secular media and on college campuses) is represented as illogical, irrational, and unreasonable. Faith, according to the secular academics, is for stupid people, and science is for the thoughtful, rational, deductive, “smart” people. Right? (I think not. But perhaps we can discuss that another day.) Today we discuss Science vs Reason.
Science, like mathematics, logic, or philosophy are wonderful things, when applied properly to an appropriate subject or area. But by the same token, like any other discipline, science can give misleading or inaccurate information when misapplied. (See earlier blogs on Scientism.) If we applied pure science in medicine, there would be no place for empathy, compassion or intuition. Very ill patients might be evaluated and terminated. Emotions might be ignored. In fact, there would be absolutely nothing precluding experimentation on prisoners if science alone were our guide..
In a similar vein, pure mathematics cannot solve many types of scientific problems where trial and error are indispensable to provide proof of a theory. Historical studies are not well suited to solving problems in math or science. Yet the current fad among institutions of scientific research is to believe all questions in all areas of learning can either be solved by science, or to presume that other areas of study offer solutions inferior to the solutions offered by science. Such an application of so called “science” is not only irrational and unreasonable. It is dangerous. It is in effect sham philosophy pretending to be science. If mankind were a mere collection of chemicals, without free will and moral choices, perhaps science alone could be our god. But we are more. Much more.
Consider for example, philosophy. As stated by Julian Friedland,
For roughly 98 percent of the last 2,500 years of Western intellectual history, philosophy was considered the mother of all knowledge. It generated most of the fields of research still with us today. This is why we continue to call our highest degrees Ph.D.’s, namely, philosophy doctorates. At the same time, we live an age in which many seem no longer sure what philosophy is or is good for anymore.(1)
Philosophy as a means of understanding the world clearly has limitations. Philosophers are of no help in building complicated machines or directing complex chemical processes. In fact, philosophy has gotten a bad rap because so many philosophers and their arguments are totally disconnected from reality. Even at its best, philosophy relies on very specific word choices, and is often subject to interpretation and argumentation when viewed from different vantage points. So it seems perfectly understandable that humanity would seek a more solid ground for understanding the universe, and the natural and obvious choice would seem to be science.
But as written by Joseph Rowlands, “The problem is that many scientists sought to escape from the clutches of rationalizing philosophy by jumping into Empiricism, the philosophy that rejects theoretical knowledge and only accepts direct sensory evidence. As Rand said, philosophy is inescapable. You don’t have a choice about having one. If you try to reject philosophy, you’re just enslaving yourself to your implicit philosophy.” (2)
That is the absolute key to today’s discussion. We are not given the choice of philosophy or faith vs science. We are only given the choice of which philosophy we use to approach science. Science in and of itself is nothing but a tool. Like any tool, it can be used to accomplish a variety of tasks. How the tool is applied it critical to the results obtained. A hammer is equally capable of building a house, or tearing a house down. Science is perfectly capable of building a rational view of the universe, or of portraying a totally false and indefensible view of the universe.
Paul Bloom of the Atlantic, wrote, “Sociologists and philosophers deserve a lot of credit in reminding us that scientific practice is permeated by groupthink, bias, and financial, political, and personal motivations.” The physicist Richard Feynman once wrote that the essence of science was “bending over backwards to prove ourselves wrong.” But he was talking about the collective cultural activity of science, not scientists as individuals, most of whom prefer to be proven right, and who are highly biased to see the evidence in whatever light most favors their preferred theory.”(3)
I believe there is sufficient evidence to support the proposition that secular scientists have chosen to use the “hammer” of science in ways that are tearing down the house of humanity. In future blogs we will discuss ways to apply science more appropriately.
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels[a] shouted for joy?” Job 38:4-7 NIV