Scripture and Science In Conflict by Prof. Philip Stott ó Introduction
Scripture and Science In Conflict by Prof. Philip
Stott ó Site Map
Despite a determined effort by secular humanist anti-Christian campaigners to spread the idea that Christianity and science are opposed to each other, on closer inspection the true situation is seen to be exactly the opposite.
The first point on which the Christian has an enormous contribution to make is the fact that he has the only world view which makes sense in science. It is only a belief in a Creator who:- a) works in a reasonable and consistent way, b) who made a creation which is good, real and separate from Himself, and c) created man with something of His own attributes, that leads to the idea that consistent laws would govern the creation and man could have any chance of being able to discover these laws.
It is no coincidence that science did, in fact, only emerge in Western Europe where the Christian world-view prevailed.
The second point is that the very nature of science demands the highest standards of honesty to make any progress, and it demands a commitment to the goal of seeking for the absolute truth about the creation. The Biblical world-view provides these essential requirements. The Creatorís specific injunction "Thou shalt not bear false witness" is not negotiable, it is not a suggestion to be followed when convenient, it is an absolute, unchanging commandment. The aim of the scientist - as articulated so well by Kepler - seeking to "think Godís thoughts after Him" - makes anything other than searching for the objective truth about the way Godís creation works illogical.
The importance of this is that so much work is need to uncover the smallest part of the truth about the creation that no one scientist can discover more that a tiny portion of what there is to be discovered. Even Newton, who perhaps made more - and more significant - discoveries than any scientist before or since noted that what he had done was comparable to someone on the seashore examining a few beautiful pebbles while the great ocean of truth lay undiscovered all around him.
To make any progress at all one has to build on the work of others. Such building is a waste of time if the work of all involved in science is not reported honestly. It was certainly true that in the time that science was working strictly within the Christian world view - almost exclusively by Christians - mistakes were made, observations and reports were distorted by personal prejudice etc. but nevertheless, since the aim was the discovery of the way Godís creation really worked, such human failings were open to correction, and did not prevent science from making rapid and spectacular headway.
Science under the prevailing secular humanist paradigm is an entirely different matter. The evolutionary world view essential to secular humanism has no commitment to honesty at all. Like the "selfish gene" of Richard Dawkins, the secular humanist, who sees himself as the product of a struggle for survival in nature red in tooth and claw, can logically seek little more than personal advancement. With the secular humanistís situation-based ethics - simply conventions to be adapted and changed as and when convenient - he is in a position to decide whether honesty is in his best interests under any particular circumstance.
Science has become not a search for the truth about Godís creation, but an occupation like any other. Scientists no longer even claim to be searching for objective truth, but only for useful theories. Success is measured by the number of research papers one publishes. Oneís continued existence in the scientific community is subject to the dictum "publish or perish". Not surprisingly a vast amount of material is being published. Not surprisingly a great deal of this published material has little value or truth content. A well known piece of doggerel expresses the situation more aptly than most secular humanist scientist are happy to admit:-
There was much that was new,
And much that was true
In a thesis that came from Perdue.
What was new was not true,
What was true was not new
In the thesis that came from Perdue.
Deliberate dishonesty has spread through science in the wake of the secular humanist take-over. Most members of the scientific establishment hotly deny it. But a congressional committee of enquiry exposed extremely widespread dishonesty, and a report on the findings of that committee, "Betrayers of the Truth" by William Broad and Nicholas Wade, makes eye-opening reading.
Consider a young scientist needing to publish a large series of papers to gain any chance of a position. He can do honest research work (which takes much time and hard work) and publish a few papers, or he can plagiarize the work of others or concoct experimental results which might have been obtained if he had actually done experiments. He can then produce far more papers far more quickly. The chance of being found out is minimal because if anyone doubts his work they would have to actually do the experiments to show that his claimed results are wrong. To do the experiments would need research funding, and the only chance of getting such funding would be by showing good grounds for suspecting fraud. Also, unless the work did show fraud there would be no new publication resulting from all the time and effort - if the results actually give agreement they have been published already. Thus the chances of being exposed are minimal provided our aspiring scientist makes sure that the work is not in any important field where others will actually want to build directly on his results.
Then again consider an older scientist seeking advancement. He wants the most senior position possible before his retirement - with the biggest possible pension. He needs to publish papers covering work more significant than that of the aspiring junior - he needs to produce reports that will actually be read, and read by respected scientists. It will be some time before others have obtained research funding to do work based on the important results in his papers. It will take more time to get far enough along with their research to find discrepancies. Even more time to then check his pretended experiments and find they do not give the results he claimed. By then he will be retired and immune to the consequences.
For the secular humanist, with his evolutionist, survival of the fittest, self-centred situation-based ethics mentality dishonesty is a logical way to go. Especially when just about everyone else is doing the same thing.
Science cannot survive in such a situation. The only world-view in which science can have a long-term future is the one which led to its birth - the one firmly based on the Scriptures.
The fact that the Christian world-view is an enormous advantage in science is illustrated by a situation I found at a research establishment in Switzerland a few years ago. A large and expensive apparatus had been installed, and a highly qualified multi-national team of physicists set about working with it. For several years nothing useful came from their efforts. Then a Christian physicist from America joined the establishment and within six months had fundamentally valuable results to show for his work. The other members of the team were amazed and requested an explanation of why they had worked for years and got nothing, whereas he had worded for a few months and got so much. His response went something like this:- The answers one gets from an apparatus depend on the questions put to it. You all have a world view based on a universe which started in the chaos of a primordial big bang and evolved from there just by chance. You put questions to the apparatus consistent with that world view. I believe the universe was deliberately created by God, who works in the way he describes in the Bible. I put forward questions consistent with that world-view.
The guidance of the Scriptures is an enormous advantage. If the biologists of the world, when presented with the idea of evolution, had simply checked the Scriptures they would have seen that the idea is refuted. They could have saved biology years of wasted effort and put vast sums of research funding to better use.
Romans 1:20 notes that the invisible things of the Creator are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and godhead. The scientist has the privilege of looking in great detail at the things which God made; of studying the creation in great depth. He has the privilege of being able to see the breathtaking magnificence of the workings of His awesome power.
The believer is uniquely equipped to make the most of that privilege.