Science is often the stick used to smash the stained glass window of religion. It is claimed that the God Hypothesis is no longer necessary because science has no need of it. Also because it is thought that science is the only reliable door to knowledge, if science has no use for God, neither should you.
In “Induction, Deduction, and the Scientific Method: An Eclectic Overview of the Practice of Science” by Irving Rothschild, the Emeritus Professor of Reproductive Biology at Case Western Reserve University makes no bones about his belief that science and God are completely incompatible. He writes:
“In all respects science is logically incompatible with the belief in a nonmaterial intelligent entity that controls the universe and is called God, yet many scientists, especially among the chemists and physicists but even among some biologists have such a religious belief. I can think of only three resolutions of this paradox. The scientist’s God either is not an intelligent entity or has no control over the universe. The second is to accept the concept of science as defined here with a part of one’s mind and that of God with another, with an impermeable barrier between the two parts. The third is either not to be a scientist or not to believe in God.”
Is he right?
It seems we can only answer that if we have an idea of what “science” is and how it is done. At a minimum we ought to have at least thought about the following questions:
- What is knowledge?
- How can we know anything at all?
- Is observation reliable, and under what conditions?
- Is nature uniform?
- Will the future be like the past?
- Is the method we are employing capable of giving us knowledge? (scientia)
Philosophers of science have had a lot to say about these questions and how they bear on the practice of science. Thinkers like Francis Bacon, Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Karl Popper, Michael Polanyi, Thomas Kuhn, Paul Feyerabend and a good number of others have applied their minds to the problems presented by these questions. The ideas they came up with will surprise you.
The time is well nigh past when the Christian dedicated to glorifying God can get by without having thought this through a bit. So to help us sort through it all, Lindsay Brooks has asked Dr. Leslie Wickman, director of the Center for Research in Science at Azusa Pacific University to join him in the studio. Also, Seth Stark, an Elder at Communion Presbyterian Church and Master’s candidate at Biola University’s Science and Religion Dept. helps us blow away the smoke on these questions and make them understandable.
The stakes have never been higher for Science or for Christians understanding it well.