Chapter 13 of Evolution, the Big Bang, and Other Fables, by A N Mack MD
Science vs Reason: Part I
Yes, you read that correctly. The chapter title is NOT faith vs reason. It is science vs reason. Does that sound counter-intuitive? Perhaps it is. But I assure you it is neither unreasonable, nor unscientific!
Much of society currently believes that science has 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 supposedly 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 portrayed 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 can be a wonderful thing 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. 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 and terminating nursing home patients 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. And of course, 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 a belief is not logical, nor sound, nor scientific!
Affording such a superior position to 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 the following quotation about 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 seem 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 is 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 group-think, bias, and financial, political, and personal motivations.” (3) 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 (perhaps unintentionally) to use the “hammer” of science in ways that are now not building up but tearing down the house of humanity. I believe that the inherent “philosophy of choice” among scientists for the last few decades has been scientism, and we are seeing the tremendous destructive power of that false belief everywhere.
Science vs Reason: Part II
Do you believe the Bible, or do you believe “science”? More importantly, is there any rational or logical reason you must choose between the two?
If one were to listen to the media hype, the Hollywood explanations, prime time TV, or many liberal college professors, one might assume there are just two choices in cosmology. A person can either can “believe science” or one can “have faith” in the Bible story. But is this even remotely true? Is it even sensible to place science and faith in different camps? Or is this entire scenario a false dichotomy?
In chapters four through eleven, we have already discussed the evolutionary side of this issue very thoroughly, and I believe we have more than adequately proven that belief in evolution is neither logical nor scientific. Belief in evolution is clearly a faith-based choice. If you read my blogs at evolutioncreation.net, “Astonishing Ice Age facts“, or “A Totally Modern View on Evolution” you will understand that belief in Evolution is not a scientific choice or preference, rather it is a philosophical one. There are vastly more scientific facts and principles supporting Creation, than those supporting the Big Bang or Evolution.
Perhaps belief in Evolution stems from a prideful desire to elevate man to the point of understanding all of the Universe and Creation. Perhaps, as we will discuss in chapter 19, “To Teach. To Educate. Or to Tell the Truth?” it is just generational indoctrination. Or maybe it originates in the illogical belief that avoiding belief in God as our Creator will somehow avoid the consequences of our sins, failures, and rebellion. Regardless, as I have stated from the beginning, “It takes a lot of FAITH to believe in evolution.”
The evidence (which is outlined in 80 or so blogs over the last year at Debunking-evolution.com) clearly shows that belief in Evolution is a faith based choice. But what of the other side? Is belief in Creation merely a “Scientific cop out”? Do proponents of Intelligent Design (ID) and so-called “creation scientists” abandon scientific processes and base their beliefs totally on religious principles? Not so, according to the following quote from Casey Luskin originally posted at OpposingViews.com. Speaking of ID (Intelligent Design), he writes;
“One can disagree with the conclusions of ID, but one cannot reasonably claim that it is an argument based upon religion, faith, or divine revelation. Nothing critics can say—whether appealing to politically motivated condemnations of ID issued by pro-Darwin scientific authorities or harping upon the religious beliefs of ID proponents—will change the fact that intelligent design is not a “faith-based” argument. Intelligent design has scientific merit because it is an empirically based argument that uses well-accepted scientific methods of historical sciences in order to detect in nature the types of complexity which we understand, from present-day observations, are derived from intelligent causes.”(4)
Luskin further explains, “The scientific method is commonly described as a four-step process involving observations, hypothesis, experiments, and conclusion. As noted, ID begins with the observation that intelligent agents produce complex and specified information (CSI). Design theorists hypothesize that if a natural object was designed, it will contain high levels of CSI. Scientists then perform experimental tests upon natural objects to determine if they contain complex and specified information. One easily testable form of CSI is irreducible complexity, which can be tested and discovered by experimentally reverse-engineering biological structures through genetic knockout experiments to determine if they require all of their parts to function. When experimental work uncovers irreducible complexity in biology, they conclude that such structures were designed.”(5)
Luskin “gets it”. Most secular atheists don’t. There is absolutely NO logical reason to separate science vs faith on issues of cosmology, or any issues related to where humanity or the universe originated. However, if one were to objectively discuss which cosmology has more scientific support, I believe firmly that Creation science would win the argument. Still, the point remains, there is no reason to “choose” one or the other. Science, unimpeded and freely practiced, is not in opposition to Scripture!
As I wrote in the blog “BIG GOD. small god. Why Cosmology Matters. “Atheists say creation is impossible because it would have required something miraculous, something fantastic, something unbelievable, something outside the bounds of science!
Creationists say that The Big Bang and Evolution are impossible because they would have required something miraculous, something fantastic, something unbelievable, something outside the bounds of science.” And BOTH are correct.
Stephen C. Meyer wrote concerning intelligent design (ID), “Proponents of neo-Darwinism contend that the information in life arose via purposeless, blind, and unguided processes. ID proponents contend that the information in life arose via purposeful, intelligently guided processes. Both claims are scientifically testable using scientific methods employed by standard historical sciences. ID thus is based upon the claim that there are “telltale features of living systems and the universe that are best explained by an intelligent cause.”(6)
You have a mind. You have an intellect. (Both of which are, by the way, strong arguments for ID. Both of which are strong arguments against evolution.) You get to choose whether you believe secular stories about a universe that magically appeared from nothing and life that created itself, or to believe in an Almighty Creator God. But you cannot use as your crutch any statement that you don’t believe in Creation because it is not scientific.
Not if you want to be intellectually honest.
(6) Stephen C. Meyer, Not by Chance: From Bacterial Propulsion Systems to Human DNA, Evidence of Intelligent Design Is Everywhere, Natl. Post A22 (Dec. 1, 2005).
“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