God and the Scientific Method

It seems that our world is becoming completely science based. That is, science appears to have fully outperformed the humanities in the battle for realizing the ultimate foundation of the universe. Most often than nought, we find ourselves relying on science and talking about science as if it is the sole source of knowledge. Science has proven trustworthy thus far, hasn’t it? What is it about science that draws us in and pacifies us so easily? The methodology of science is the key. For many, it helps in knowing and living in ways that religion doesn’t. The “scientific method” has yielded fruitful results its compilers never imagined. Its reach and limitations are unknown and exciting. But how far can the method take us? Is it limitless? Will it be our sole access to knowledge in the future? Can we rely on it to inform us about God?

We pose these questions and others to Leslie Wickman, Ph.D. Director and Professor in the Center for Research in Science at Azusa University. Join host Jeremy Livermore and panelists Steve Tsai, Harry Edwards, and Sam Welbaum for this very important and intriguing show!

(Wickman’s experience includes promoting and supporting faculty and student research, science education, and integrations of scientific research into the educational process. Investigation of satellite launch and orbital operations. Comparing robotic, biological, and biotechnology capabilities for military operations. She is a trained EVA/IVA test astronaut, pilot, and athlete. Her expertise also includes life and space siences, and the dialog between science and theology. Additional memberships, activities, and awards include: Lockheed Corporate Astronaut; NASA/Lockheed commendations: Hubble Space Telescope Program; Aerospace Medical Association; American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics.)


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1 Comment

  1. wuest3141@aol.com
    wuest3141 6 years ago

    This is a REALLY curious question, for someone who has spent decades studying reasoning algorithms, and interacting with very educated people in applied sciences. There are a number of topics that are not being picked out, by Christians. I need to mention just a few.
    – the first commandment is to love God, with our mind included ….
    – the ancient Jews considered the mind to be a core part of being made in the image of God
    – much of modern Christendom has abandoned or ignored the life of the mind, and along with it, rigorous concepts of Biblical study, and the ability to connect with much of modern science, and theology, and apologetics
    – science changes, century by century, so is a poor source of absolute knowledge
    – the axiom-proof system that underlies modern scientific methodology (Principia Mathematica, 1903, Russell and Whitehead) did some very interesting things:
    1. formulated all of modern number theory on the basis of deductive logic infinite set theory
    2. synthesized mathematics and logic
    3. created symbolic logic, which is the core of the modern axiom-proof system in the sciences
    4. the axiom-proof system can reason about any abstract concept
    5. this axiom-proof system is conditional: IF certain axioms are true (facts and relationships), then certain
    conclusions follow validly
    – a lot of PhDs in applied science are heavily postmodern and skeptical in their epistemology, denying the goodness of deductive logic and rules in the axiom-proof system, but upholding the “validity” of their own applied science.
    – many PhDs in applied sciences work with a severe subset of the power of the axiom-proof system, thinking that only proofs using physics-based variables have validity. Many have no idea what the axiom-proof system is composed of, or its inherent power.

    What I am saying is, there has never been a division between godly religion and the life of the mind. This is very much a modern artifact. There is no limitation in the core logical apparatus of modern science (the axiom-proof system) that limits it to reasoning about physics-based variable systems (this axiom-proof system can be applied to Psychology, Sociology, Theology, or preferences of barbecue sauce by serial killers). The limitation that “science seeks naturalistic explanations” has been rewritten to “science seeks atheistic explanations.” And unfortunately, many atheistic scientists are skeptical postmoderns who do not believe in the power of the sound logic system that produced all the theorems in their applied science! As one PhD in probability theory said to me, “There are no rules, there are no reasons, there is no logic, only probabilities.” Which means, he (unknowingly) denies the goodness of the axiom-proof system that proved all the theorems in the applied math of probability theory! This is the insanity of having an unregenerate mind, and pursuing the sciences.

    Be very careful, on the Christian side also. Science changes, but God does not. Have the wisdom to keep science and theology separate. Revelation produces theology, and modern science pursues knowledge of the natural world. The wisdom that comes from God is unchanged, while the conclusions of the latest science are based on assumed axioms and rules, and these models change every year. You do not see Jesus debating the Pharisees saying “my statistical model is optimal.” However, the axiom-proof system of modern science can be applied to biblical topics, if biblical axioms and rules are also used. (We have more than one systematic theology, because these theologians cannot agree on the basic axioms and rules. Hence the need for core creeds of he early church.)

    And in all of this, knowledge and wisdom belong to God. He reveals these to whom he will. Do not think that arriving at truth is a matter of getting your degree and putting your shoulder (and ego) to the grindstone. Many unbelieving PhDs in applied sciences do not understand the power and scope of the axiom-proof system, and are postmodern skeptics. Many Christians are anti-intellectual postmodern skeptics, who have denigrated the life of the mind and cut themselves off from biblical scholarship and modern science.

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