- The Bible and Science: Foundations
The Bible and science. Many say they’re opposites. Yet that’s not true. An ordered, logical being created an ordered logical universe. In fact, the only reason science does work is God maintains order. Every time you drop a rock, it falls — God created gravity such that it always works, the same way.
What is Science?
A big misunderstanding comes from failing to define what science is. Science looks not for truth, but facts. If debates on truth are your thing, you’re more interested in philosophy than science.
Science may tell us your bloody fingerprint is on the knife (fact). However, it’s opinion it means you committed murder.
Science helps with the first, not so much with the second.
It’s why courtroom dueling experts appear. They may agree on facts, but their conclusions differ.
Many definitions of science exist, but let’s use the following:
Science gains knowledge through experimental data and deductive logic.
No statement for or against God exists — science should be agnostic. Read that carefully, it does not mean to act as if God doesn’t exist.
Sadly, today science has been compromised and only looks for non-Godly explanations. It’s atheistic, and that yields incorrect conclusions.
Some things are simply unknowable — we simply can’t discover what
t=0 in the universe, because we run into the Planck time
problem (don’t worry, we’ll cover that in a future article when we
answer the question “how fast is the rapture?”).
Logic is a set of rules and methods which, when used properly, yields a valid conclusion. It means if “A” is true, and using valid deductive logic arrives at “B,” you know “B” is also true.
Sometimes, arriving at “B” — even though we know it’s true — yields a shocking and unaccepted result. For example, in the early 1900s Quantum Physics was just beginning. The results were so shocking, decades passed before acceptance.
It is often stated that of all the theories proposed in this century, the silliest is quantum theory. In fact, some say that the only thing that quantum theory has going for it is that it is unquestionably correct. Michio Kaku, in Hyperspace (1995) p. 263
It matters not what you think about Quantum Physics (and many of its results are rather bizarre, see Schrödinger’s Cat), only it continues to agree with experimental data.
However, we must return to methods. Trust them. When used correctly, they yield correct conclusions.
Sadly, many people (even Phds) make basic mistakes in math, science and logic. Why? Because they so desperately want to prove whatever their pet idea is, they fail to follow sound deductive principles.
Perhaps the most common are argument from authority and argument from majority — usually pitched as “most of (authority group doctors, etc) believe”; in advertising it’s “4 out of 5 doctors…”.
Of course, even blindly following a genius like Feynman can cause problems, as he himself admits, as he speaks about his famous Feynman Lectures on Physics.
It is remarkable that among the 1165 errata corrected under my auspices, only several do I regard as true errors in physics. An example is Volume II, page 5-9, which now says “…no static distribution of charges inside a closed grounded conductor can produce any electric fields outside” (the word grounded was omitted in previous editions).
This error was pointed out to Feynman by a number of readers, including Beulah Elizabeth Cox, a student at The College of William and Mary, who had relied on Feynman’s erroneous passage in an exam. To Ms. Cox, Feynman wrote in 1975, “Your instructor was right not to give you any points, for your answer was wrong, as he demonstrated using Gauss’s law. You should, in science, believe logic and arguments, carefully drawn, and not authorities.”
“You also read the book correctly and understood it. I made a mistake, so the book is wrong. I probably was thinking of a grounded conducting sphere, or else of the fact that moving the charges around in different places inside does not affect things on the outside. I am not sure how I did it, but I goofed. And you goofed, too, for believing me.”
I know many people view the study of logic a boring, dry affair. Yet it remains critical if we are to come to correct conclusions.
What method shall we use to avoid errors? Glad you asked.
The Scientific Method
The scientific method provides the path from not knowing facts to understanding how the cosmos works.
- Make a guess
- Perform experiments to either agree or disagree with the guess
- Modify the guess based on experimental results
- Lather, rinse, repeat
It’s that simple, and yet littered with mines waiting to destroy those failing to remain diligent. The problem arises when scientists either fail to use the process, or become victims of confirmation bias (confirmation bias means seeing any data as proof of your theory).
It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong. (Richard Feynman)
Feynman would appear on anyones best scientist list — Nobel prize winner, Manhattan project, Challenger disaster commission, and author of the famous “Feynman lectures on Physics.”
In those books and elsewhere, he illustrates proper use of the scientific method, and how it can be misused to yield incorrect conclusions.
Used properly, the scientific method forms the basis for science, and it’s not too strong to say it’s the definition of science.
No experimental data, no science.
Case Study: Evolution and Scientific Methods
Many years ago (back when I used to read the morning paper), someone wrote in with the oft-repeated claim evolution has “overwhelming evidence.” Being the good skeptic and scientist I am, I wrote a letter to the editor to actually see that proof.
John Donovan’s June 2 letter, “Evolution isn’t a philosophy,” illustrates a common and often repeated error. He states evolution’s “validity depends solely on evidence … overwhelming support.” But is it scientific?
The scientific method depends on repeatable, verifiable experiments. So I’ll wait for the overwhelming number (hundreds) of experiments showing a few scientific foundations of evolution. First, matter can come from nothing. Second, non-living material can become alive. Third, species can change. Fourth, explosions produce order. And for bonus credit, name 50 transitional forms.
But please pardon me if I don’t hold my breath waiting.
Take a few minutes to read the responses. They’re quite funny, and produced all sorts of nonsense — everything but science.
Most attacked me personally with variations of either I’m stupid (sorry, college degree), or it’s against my religion (I didn’t mention my religion, and in any case why bring that into science?).
So for claims of “overwhelming evidence,” nobody could provide it. In fairness, the average writer to the newspaper isn’t Einstein, and likely can only barf back what they’ve heard.
One responder even repeated the “overwhelming evidence” claim — without backing it up with anything.
Sorry folks, around here we use science, not personal attacks and claims without experimental support.
I’ve asked evolutionists for years to provide valid, peer-reviewed, published experimental data for the following basic ideas required for evolution.
- Matter can come from nothing.
- Non-living material can become alive.
- Explosions produce order.
- Species can change into another.
All must be true, or evolution fails. Where is the experimental data?
I’ve given up, and it’s why I don’t write on evolution anymore. Until they actually provide some science to be discussed, it’s simply vaporware.
Around here, we use science, so there’s not much to discuss about evolution. It’s philosophy.
I like philosophy, but it’s not science.
For those who haven’t dug into the absurdity of evolution, use the links on the right sidebar or search this site and you’ll discover many articles.
- The Probability of Evolution — the famous “deck of cards”
- Evolution — oops we goofed
- Oops, we goofed again
Note: For those whose dogma includes evolution and are incensed I might question their sacred philosophy by tugging on their security blanket, all I’m asking for is science — provide a list of peer-reviewed articles, their dates and publication information, the subject of the experiment, and the people involved. Internet links and data is all you have to provide, then we can discuss it.
After all, if “overwhelming evidence” exists, it should be trivial to produce.
Darwin Wasn’t Satan
He proposed a valid theory — one which has not been supported by experiment as we’ve seen.
However, he’s not the great Satan many Christians make him out to be.
He saw something he didn’t understand, made a guess, and then expected later data to prove his guess. That is exactly the way science should work.
He even noted a few objections to his theory.
To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd to the highest degree. (Charles Darwin “The Origin of Species” Bantam Books June 1999, page 155)
The problem with the eye illustrates fundamental issues with natural selection. Partially formed eyes don’t contribute anything, so would be selected out.
And yes, I’ve heard the explanations of how the eye evolved, but I don’t really want you to spew your coffee on your keyboard, so I’ll refrain — leave the comedy for Saturday’s stand-up act. We’re about science here.
… the number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed must truly be enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely-graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious objection which can be urged against my theory. (Charles Darwin “The Origin of Species” Bantam Books June 1999, page 230)
But, as by this theory innumerable transitional forms must have existed, why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth? (ibid, page 144)
Darwin made a guess, then expected later experimental data to prove his guess. As already noted, don’t ask to see that data, because it doesn’t exist — evolution adherents assume it to be true a priori without scientific experimental data.
No data, no science.
Darwin properly used the beginning stages of the scientific method. Sadly, later so-called scientists fail to use the most basic principles of science in their mad and wild support of illogical and unscientific dogma.
That explains why they fall for hoaxes like Piltown man. They so desperately desire to cling to their dogma they’ll accept anything which might support it — even an obvious hoax.
Many people have asked me to write about the Bible and science, which I’ll be doing a bit more of.
Notice, however, that you can’t simply study science and the Bible, you’ll also need logic, mathematics, and a desire to throw off old ideas and embrace wherever the experimental data leads.
Science has failed to do that on multiple occasions, and each time they’ve hindered real progress by decades or more.
Paul warned you to prove all things.
Good advice from a man who would know.