Science on the Scales

“Those today who claim that science or historiography denies the possibility of miracles are repeating not scientific observations but philosophic premises stemming from Hume.” … “Examining the philosophic underpinnings of these modern assumptions is important, since those who reject the possibility or miracles often assume that they are working on the basis of scientific discovery, when in fact the issue is one of the philosophy of science rather than empirical data per se.” – Dr. Craig S. Keener, “Miracles”

Most people spend their Friday nights hanging out with friends or going out on the town. I spent this past Friday sitting on my couch watching a live stream debate between Dr. William Lane Craig (Talbot) and Dr. Alex Rosenberg (Duke). Their topic was: “Is Faith in God Reasonable?”

By the end of the night, Craig was unanimously crowned the victor, which came as a shock to me. This is mostly because Craig is a theist and Rosenberg an atheist. But regardless, a panel of professionals (4-2), the live audience at Purdue (1390-303), and the people watching online (734-59) voted Craig victorious in the debate, by a majority vote.

I think where Rosenberg was the weakest was in his idea of the power behind science, scientific naturalism, and the scientific method. One of Rosenberg’s main points was that science alone could disprove the existence of God. The problem with this though is that science cannot do this. His main point was self-refuting. Rosenberg was trying to prove philosophically that God didn’t exist but claiming it in the name of science. I see this problem with a lot of atheists in today’s society.

Talk to some people on the street. I am sure you’ll hear some say, “I only BELIEVE in science.” Saying you “believe” in anything is not only a presupposition, but it is also a statement grounded in philosophy rather than science. This is because it cannot be tested. Beliefs cannot be tested. It is sad that most people do not realize that science itself has philosophy at its foundation. Scientific Naturalism (or Modernism or Empiricism), especially, has at its core an atheistic understanding that God doesn’t exist, and since God doesn’t exist, miracles don’t exist either.

And though this understanding is circular and nonscientific, it is deemed as both. It is viewed this way not only by the lay person but also by many professionals worldwide. This is something that Dr. Craig Keener addresses in his book “Miracles.” It is shocking to know many progressive scientists throughout history were theists – men who knew that God could work within nature despite of norms, since it was He that made the “laws” of nature. Nature was subject to God, not God to nature. These men include such greats such as: Boyle, Galileo, Pascal, Newton, and Kepler.

So what can science prove? Science can’t deductively prove or disprove anything that cannot be tested empirically – it can just make observations, create norms, and come to conclusions inductively. To make any deductive conclusions or beliefs from these norms would no longer be what we call “empirical science” but would jump into the realm of “philosophy” or more specifically, the “philosophy of science.”

And that is fine. I love philosophy. Humankind couldn’t survive without “logic” or “ethics.” Nothing would make sense without philosophy. But to say it is “science” alone would be naïve and not fully true in the way we view and define science today.

So is faith in God reasonable?

We can use science as evidence, but to base our beliefs on this evidence alone would seem lacking. Science itself remains agnostic. Science has been found wanting, and the world needs to know that having “faith” in God can be “reasonable.”

If you are seeking and trying to decide whether God exists, I ask that you will wipe your presuppositions clean. I ask that you learn how to properly harmonize faith and reason. And I ask that you search every caveat possible until “sufficient reason” is found. I pray that those who know God will strive to know him more. I pray that you will realize that Evolutionary Theory cannot and does not disprove God, and neither does the Big Bang Theory. We can be scientific and still hold on to our convictions.

Christians and Atheists alike can be close-minded if their arguments are “unfalsifiable.” Christians need to realize that if God is Truth, then if we seek truth, we are ultimately seeking God Himself. Let us seek to know God together, hand in hand, and take those who disagree with us along for the ride. It’s a scary adventure, but ultimately that is our aim. By knowing God, we glorify Him. By Glorifying Him, we are honoring Him.

To Him be the glory, and honor, forever and ever. Amen.