Chapter 3 of Evolution, the Big Bang, and Other Fables, by A N Mack MD
As we noted previously, scientism (under the guise of science) has been preached to unsuspecting generations of students, but it is NOT science. Nor would it qualify as a serious attempt at philosophy. Furthermore, physicist Ian Hutchinson has stated that scientism is not only bad as a philosophy. He believes it is bad for science.
“The health of science is in fact jeopardized by scientism, not promoted by it. At the very least, scientism provokes a defensive, immunological, aggressive response from other intellectual communities, in return for its own arrogance and intellectual bullyism. It taints science itself by association.” (1)
Arrogant secular writers like Richard Dawkins commonly elevate “science” while casting aspersions on those who believe in a higher power. They ridicule Creationist scientists as inferior to themselves because they supposedly “take the easy way out” by blaming everything they don’t understand on a Creator. Such an approach, according to the secularist, leads to bad science and lazy thinking. Dawkins said, “I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world“. Whereas I readily acknowledge this might occur at times, I would argue that the opposite is equally true, and very possibly even more prevalent! Refusing to acknowledge the possibility of a Creator is equally unscientific.
To disallow the possibility of a Creator/God without any consideration of the implications, and without applying the evidence equally to both possibilities (the God possibility and the No-god possibility) is also lazy and unscientific. Creation scientists may approach science differently at a “gut level” than secular scientists. However, the fact is that both camps have a scientifically unproven and unprovable presupposition. Both have a “faith” in something that precedes and overwhelms their intellectual processes.
The fact is, either there is a Creator God, or there is not. Philosophically and spiritually and intellectually, I find strong reasons to believe there is a God. As a Christian and a student of scripture, I have the comfort of believing in a holy, loving, sacrificial God who has revealed Himself to mankind through the Bible and who cared so deeply that he sent His only Son to make a place for us in Heaven.
Nevertheless, I accept that this is a faith-based statement. I cannot prove scientifically that Jesus died for my sins. Yet like billions of others, I believe it with all my heart. The problem comes when secular science accepts an equally unscientific premise, the belief that there is NO GOD, and does so not based on science but on faith. Such a scientist then has no right or reason or foundation from which they can cast aspersions on those who believe in God and interpret scientific data differently. Each position is a statement of faith.
When all the observable facts and statistics of the universe are viewed from a Bible-believing, faith-based viewpoint, the universe, the solar system, the earth and life itself are seen as strong, nearly concrete evidence for the existence of God.
When these same exact facts are seen from a viewpoint of a secular atheist, they apparently seem to indicate that there is no god, or at least no god worth believing in, according to Richard Dawkins, who famously stated in The God Delusion, “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”(3) So you see, Dawkins, like most atheists, actually has very strong feelings about God. If indeed an atheist does not believe in God, then why in the world would he or she have any particular feelings about the character of God?
In this statement, Dawkins does not so much seem to be disallowing God, as to be disapproving of God. He seems unable to comprehend the possibility that God is infinitely more powerful, and intelligent than he himself is, and so he uses words like megalomaniacal without even considering the implications. Seriously, can anyone who even comprehends the word “omniscient” attempt to use a descriptor such megalomania to describe the Almighty”? How can an All-Knowing God be a “know it all”? Dawkins is not placing God out of the picture, but placing his own (Dawkins) judgments above the judgments of God. Such is the case with many in the atheistic camp. Unfortunately his beliefs have been systemically inoculated into at least three generations of the world’s youth.
Sometimes a single domino falls and hundreds more fall in rapid succession. I hope and pray this may soon be the case with evolution. How could this occur? Well, in reality just one thing needs to happen. Real science must be allowed to freely take its course.
Secular scientists should be among the first to recognize the importance of seeking the truth. Science is a study based on ruling out false hypotheses and continually seeking a truer understanding of our physical universe. Science can ONLY be advanced by the honest and objective analysis of both our successes AND our failures. A repetitive refusal to acknowledge failed hypotheses is not just bad science. It is not scientific at all. But in the case of these three inextricably linked arguments (evolution, scientism, and atheism) the failure of any one piece exposes the logical, philosophical, and scientific fallacies of the others.
As science advances, even in spite of the extreme pro-evolutionary bias of our institutions of higher learning, the scientific underpinnings of evolution have been progressively undermined to the point that belief in evolution is now held completely on the basis of faith, not science.
Or as Buddha said, ““Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.” And this is exactly what is occurring in society today as we discuss evolutionism, scientism, and atheism.
To summarize, Evolutionism describes the belief in the evolution of organisms. Its exact meaning has changed over time as the study of evolution has progressed. In the 19th-century, it was used to describe the belief that organisms deliberately improved themselves through progressive inherited change (orthogenesis). (4) This has been proven by archaeology NOT to have occurred.
Nevertheless, although subsequent chapters in this book will show that evolution has lost most if not all of its scientific (geology, archaeology, genomics, and historical) credibility, it remains as the current foundation for teaching for biology in our schools.! In addition, there is an intricately woven web of assumptions and presuppositions developed over the last century in which science (or scientism) has sought NOT the truth, but merely sought to support evolution. Rather than searching for truth, atheistic biologists and cosmologists sought support for their own atheistic assumptions. This is one of the inherent weaknesses of scientism.
Scientism is an ideology that promotes science as the purportedly objective means by which society should determine normative and epistemological values.“(5) Don’t let that definition deter you. It is actually quite simple. “The key principle is that Scientism is an ideology and a philosophy. Scientism is not science!
Scientism is completely illogical and ultimately self-defeating. As stated by Edward Feser, “Scientism is the view that all real knowledge is scientific knowledge—that there is no rational, objective form of inquiry that is not a branch of science…Despite its adherents’ pose of rationality, scientism has a serious problem: it is either self-refuting or trivial. Take the first horn of this dilemma. The claim that scientism is true is not itself a scientific claim, not something that can be established using scientific methods. Indeed, that science is even a rational form of inquiry (let alone the only rational form of inquiry) is not something that can be established scientifically.”(6)
Or as JP Moreland has written about the self-refuting nature of Scientism, “The only knowledge we can have about reality are those that have been properly tested in the hard sciences” is not itself a statement about reality that has been properly tested in the hard sciences, so it cannot be a knowledge claim about reality. It is actually a claim of philosophy to the effect that all claims outside the hard sciences, including those of philosophy, cannot be known to be true. Thus, it is an inherently self-refuting claim.”(7)
Atheism has a similar problem. Of course, Atheism is totally dependent on evolution and scientism in order to explain its very existence. If not for an accidental universe imbued with accidental, self-sustaining, evolving life, the atheist has no reason for his or her own existence. But that is not all. As written by Matt Slick in his discussion of materialistic atheism, “Materialism is the theory that matter is the only thing that exists in the universe, and that all phenomena can be explained in terms of it and its properties. This would mean that everything must operate within the bounds of physical laws, including the human brain. But this presents a problem for the materialistic atheist. A materialist atheist has no intellectual justification whatsoever to trust his own thinking because his physical brain cannot exceed the limits of physics and chemistry. Therefore, there’s no reason for him to conclude that his rationality is correct since his brain is acting “mechanically.” (8)
So we see that neither atheism, scientism, nor evolutionism is scientifically or philosophically sound. They can claim no rational superiority over belief in creation!
The good news in all this is that recently tens of thousands of scientists are beginning to clearly understand and espouse the failures of evolutionism and scientism. As they write and speak clearly of the scientific reasons that neither life, nor the universe have created themselves, millions of people may reject atheism and once again feel free to explore the more rational and spiritually fulfilling alternative of belief in an Almighty God who created the universe, and humanity, for His divine purposes.
(1) “The Perils of Semantic Ascent: Quine and Post-positivism in the Philosophy of Science” in A Nice Derangement of Epistemes
(3) Dawkins, R. The God Delusion, 2015.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
John 8:45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!