Scientific Skeptic

Posted: October 21, 2013 in Uncategorized

The third skeptic we are going to discuss is the scientific skeptic. Out of all of the four kinds of skeptics that we have been looking at, the scientific skeptic is closest to a Christian worldview. There are two things that drive both worldviews: fact and faith. Clearly as Christians we have faith, however as I have said before, we are not supposed to have blind faith; fact must accompany our faith. We don’t have time to examine the evidence for the Christian worldview right now; we will save that for another day. Today we are going to focus on the scientific skeptic and the faith that they incorporate into their worldview. You may be thinking, wait scientists base truth on fact alone with no faith involved. They even criticize Christians for having faith, saying that we believe things on blind faith, whereas they believe things on pure scientific fact. At first glance, it may seem that way, however, if you look deeper you will find that this is not the case. In reality, the scientific skeptic incorporates a lot of faith into their worldview.

Let’s start by looking at the method that is the foundation of everything that a scientific skeptic believes, the scientific method. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines the scientific method as “Principles and procedures for the systematic pursuit of knowledge involving the recognition and formulation of a problem, the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.” The key part of the scientific method is that the hypothesis must be testable and falsifiable through an experiment that is repeatable. In simpler terms, it must be possible to prove the hypothesis false from observable data gathered from repeated experiments.

Even though this is their foundation, they don’t always stand on it. There are many things that scientist take as fact that have not been observed and tested. Let’s look at two:

1)      The beginning of the universe

2)      Macroevolution – the changing from one species or kind to another

Scientists have never been able to observe or test any of these so called “facts.” Scientists claim that nothing naturally became something in a big bang; this has never been observed or tested. Scientists criticize Christians for believing in miracles because they are events that go against natural physical law and cannot be repeated or observed. Sounds like the big bang fits the definition of a miracle! It’s a physical impossibility for nothing to just become something and it has certainly never been observed.  Macro-evolution has also never been observed or tested. Macro-evolution is where one species or kind evolves into another. By definition, macro-evolution is a process that happens over millions of years and, therefore, cannot be observed. Even looking at the fossil record, we see that there are huge gaps and no transitional fossils found.

In Ray Comfort’s new documentary “Evolution vs. God”, He interviewed four scientists. One included Associate Professor Gail E. Kennedy, PhD (Department of Anthropology, UCLA) who stated that the problem with people who don’t believe in evolution is that they “don’t have enough imagination.” She’s right we don’t have enough imagination to believe in macro-evolution. Now let me be clear macro-evolution cannot and has not been observed, however, micro-evolution has been observed and tested. The difference is that micro-evolution is variations and changes made within a species or kind. Macro-evolution takes it farther than the evidence shows claiming that over millions of years these variations bring about a change in kind or species, which must be believed by faith.

Clearly these three “facts” do not hold up to the scientific method and are believed by faith. Scientists that believe these “facts” believe them by faith, for he cannot see it with his eyes or prove it with scientific experiments. Scientific skeptics are hypocritical when they criticize Christians for having faith when they clearly have faith and arguably have more faith than a Christian does. The scientific skeptic worldview is inconsistent and collapses under their feet, leaving them standing upon faith. They have faith in the “experts” that they know what they are talking about. They have faith that an answer other than God is out there, even when they don’t have a reasonable answer for these questions.

The root idea of the scientific skeptic is that the natural world is all that there is. As Christians, we believe in science that has been tested and observed. When it comes to these though questions about how the universe started, questions that we have seen that science hasn’t been able to answer, we point to something outside of the natural world, God. Instead of placing our faith in science and the experts, we place our faith in Jesus. When talking with a scientific skeptic, it’s important to point out the questions they either cannot answer or the lack of evidence for their answers to such questions. Then point to God and the evidence we have for His existence. Moving on from there, we look at the evidence for  Jesus Christ being the one and only God.

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Comments
  1. Harvey says:

    “ One of the most important tenets of the theory forged during the Evolutionary Synthesis of the 1930s and 1940s was that “macroevolutionary” differences among organisms – those that distinguish higher taxa – arise from the accumulation of the same kinds of genetic differences that are found within species. Opponents of this point of view believed that “macroevolution” is qualitatively different from “microevolution” within species, and is based on a totally different kind of genetic and developmental patterning… Genetic studies of species differences have decisively disproved [this] claim. Differences between species in morphology, behavior, and the processes that underlie reproductive isolation all have the same genetic properties as variation within species: they occupy consistent chromosomal positions, they may be polygenic or based on few genes, they may display additive, dominant, or epistatic effects, and they can in some instances be traced to specifiable differences in proteins or DNA nucleotide sequences. The degree of reproductive isolation between populations, whether prezygotic or postzygotic, varies from little or none to complete. Thus, reproductive isolation, like the divergence of any other character, evolves in most cases by the gradual substitution of alleles in populations. ”

    — Douglas Futuyma, “Evolutionary Biology” (1998), pp.477-8[4]
    [from wikipedia]

    Working towards a career in medical science, evolution is pretty important in building a scientific foundation for things like DNA, cells, etc. After reading the wikipedia page on macroevolution and some of the accompanying source articles, it would seem that macroevolution is not scientific skepticism but has actual scientific evidence. Also, evolution has been proven to exist through thousands upon thousands of experiments, and so saying that it is not true based on either syntax or religious belief is probably not a good way to go.

    On the subject of the Big Bang and the creation of the universe, I have the same belief that it is scientifically improbable.

    What this all leads to is saying that as Christians we cannot ignore science and we cannot “worry” about science too much. One interesting thing I learned from Bill Maher’s documentary on Christianity was during his conversation with the former head of the Vatican Observatory, who noted that the time period between Christ’s life and the start of “modern science” is a very large gap, and so science was not even a topic that could have been included in the Bible, or commented on by anyone in it. What I mean to say is, science is not in the business of disproving religion and religion shouldn’t be in business of disproving science. Both can live in perfect harmony. Who is to say that evolution isn’t God’s doing? From a human perspective, it would be a great way to move creation of all things along and to also offer a way for humans to understand His creation. Science is simply humans attempting to understand God’s creation, and everything we find isn’t in opposition to religion. They are two totally different things, and so religious theory cannot and should not be used to inform scientific thought and vice versa. Science can be thought of as a tool that was intended by God to be used to learn and advance our knowledge of the world, because why would God want to keep us in the dark on things can improve our quality of life?

    Also, just because scientists have not found answers to all their hypothesis and theories does not mean the answer only lies in God or that it is is indeterminable. From the beginning of modern scientific thought and theory, there were questions with no answers. The goal of science is to develop new experiments and theories that better explain how the world works, and the answers may take tens, hundreds, or even thousands of more years to come. Basically, just because we don’t have the answer now doesn’t mean we won’t find it in the future. And till then, we as Christians will continue to have faith, scientists will continue to have faith, and we will continue to learn more and more about God’s word and world together.

    P.S. as rational human beings, we shouldn’t even listen to those [1]scientists and [2]]religious who: [1]completely disregard the potential of a higher power (because they have committed the worst of scientific sins, that of not considering all possibilities and refusing to doubt that they may be wrong) and [2]who believe that science cannot possibly be true and that anything it says that may appear to contradict something in the Bible is false.

    Once again, thank you for entertaining one of my comments. I find your posts very informative and though provoking, and I just want to add to these important theological conversations!

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