While not a major topic in logic or philosophy classes, failure to understand (and use) the scientific method causes problems in logic, critical thinking, and even theology, ultimately denying foundational characteristics of God.
Scientific Method Defined
A rather obvious idea — examine data and reality and determine if it matches what you predict or expect, then update your ideas to match results.
A method of research in which a problem is identified, relevant data are gathered, a hypothesis is formulated from these data, and the hypothesis is empirically tested.
While steps may be added, the scientific method boils down to a few simple principals:
- Make a guess (idea)
- Test it (collect data, experiment, etc.)
- Modify idea based on results (reality)
- Lather, rinse, repeat
Not difficult, and it’s hard to imagine disputing the common sense of it. After all, only members of the tin-foil-hat brigade fail to update ideas based on reality.
Sadly, that’s exactly what some do, holding on to bizarre delusional ideas in spite of reality (i.e. flat-earthers, etc.). As John Loeffler says, eventually reality becomes reality, and delusional ideas are the precise opposite of the scientific method.
However, step one often throws people off. Science does not require step one to be correct. Any wild guess begins the process, it’s matching with experiment that counts, and if not, modifying the original idea until it does.
Christians can become anti-science due to one person: Darwin. Darwin wasn’t Satan, he noticed something he couldn’t explain, created a theory (guess, hypothesis) to explain it, and stated predictions which would support his idea if true (i.e. innumerable fossilized transitional forms should be found).
Later data doesn’t support his theory, and evolution (biology) remains a field not following the scientific method.
It matters not how brilliant an idea appears to be, if it doesn’t match with reality (data, experiment), it’s wrong.
The principle of science, the definition, almost, is the following: The test of all knowledge is experiment. Experiment is the sole judge of scientific “truth” (Richard Feynman “The Feynman Lectures on Physics”, Volume I page 1-1)
Why Does It Work?
The scientific method works for one reason — the God of the universe created it and created order and consistent rules for the universe to follow. When you drop an apple, nobody ponders the direction it will travel, it drops to the ground. Always.
Why? God is a god of order. Reason. Logic.
The scientific method, properly used, provides a method to discover how God designed the universe and the principals governing its existence.
For those believing religion is (or should be) anti-science, God Himself provides examples of the scientific method. Man didn’t invent the scientific method, he only discovered what God created.
Daniel spoke with the attendant who had been appointed by the chief of staff to look after Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. “Please test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water,” Daniel said. “At the end of the ten days, see how we look compared to the other young men who are eating the king’s food. Then make your decision in light of what you see.” The attendant agreed to Daniel’s suggestion and tested them for ten days. At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king. (Daniel 1:11–15 NLT)
As a kosher Jew, Daniel didn’t want to eat non-kosher food, even if the best the King could offer. Instead he proposed an idea — let’s follow the scientific method and test what happens if we eat only kosher food, not the King’s menu.
- Make a guess — we’ll be in better shape if we stay kosher and eat only vegetables.
- Experiment — feed us for 10 days and see what happens.
- Modify based on results — after 10 days, they were in better shape; the attendant thereafter fed them only vegetables. (Daniel 1:16)
A perfect example of the scientific method, used by one of the pillars of the Bible.
Never forget, Paul reminds us in Romans 15:4 what was written before was for our learning, so people ignoring the scientific method not only contradict God, but ignore Paul’s teaching as well.
God Himself Uses The Method
In Malachi, the Lord lays out problems His people had. They respond “we didn’t do that, how did we do that?” And the Lord provides the proof.
One area involved the tithe, or giving 10%. For our purposes, don’t become distracted whether this applies today or not, or if poor people should tithe, or anything else (we’re focused on science, not the religious aspect).
Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test! (Malachi 3:10 NLT)
What does the Lord do? Propose a test — try Me and see (do an experiment and examine the results). When the creator of the universe validates an idea, it’s something we should listen to; those rejecting the scientific method reject God’s nature, and thus, God Himself.
One branch of science denies the scientific method. Evolution (recall Piltdown man?). A question to the reader — do you (or your pastor) want to align with the foolishness of evolution?
Evolution has no experimental evidence for its foundations:
- First there was nothing (matter comes from nothing).
- And then it exploded (explosions produce order).
- From the goo to the zoo (abiogenesis — life comes from non-life).
- To you (new species evolve from mutations).
If you don’t have all four, evolution doesn’t work. Period. Yet where are peer-review scientific experiments for those four items? Lacking that, evolution is un-scientific by definition.
In contrast, the Bible and God demonstrate the scientific method. God gave you a brain, and provided the example on how to use it.
The scientific method works. People in the Bible used it. God Himself validates it.
That should be enough.
Don’t be Anti-Science
The dawn of the pandemic era (2020–2021) saw many pastors willfully reject God as they rejected science. They probably didn’t stand in the pulpit on Sunday and proclaim they’re rebelling against God, but by denying science they reject God, whether they admit it or not.
As the pandemic raged, pastors and others made foolish statements like:
- It’s only a few cases, it won’t affect us in this city.
- It’s no worse than flu.
- We don’t need to filter the air, create distance, sanitize, or take any precautions.
All those are wrong, as the scientific method proved. The data exists for all of them, and sadly many “Christians” willfully rebelled against God and His designed order to deny reality, science, and common sense at the dawn of the pandemic age.
Don’t be anti-science — anti-science is anti-God.
The scientific method, properly used, might be God’s greatest natural gift to us. Follow God’s example, when you have an idea, create an experiment (or look at actual data) and then modify your idea based on results (reality).
The last part remains the key. Don’t be stubborn and cling to ideas data and reality prove incorrect. Yes, it’s difficult to be humble and admit you’re wrong, but everyone makes mistakes; it’s silly (and stupid) firmly clutching ideas reality proves completely incorrect.
Do Your Homework
As Chuck Missler says, don’t believe anything I (or anyone else) told you — you’re called to be a skeptic (Acts 17:11). Do your own work and use logic, thinking skills, and methods God provided you. If you blindly accept ideas without checking them out for yourself you’ve failed the course.
Follow the scientific method, it’s one of the best tools God provided us with.