Keeping An Eye on Science

To this article from the Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, I respond thus:

Thanks for writing and starting a conversation.  Christ is the author of all knowledge.  And “science” isn’t a monolith; there are various scientists and scientific institutions, each more or less competent and sincere.  Those twin truths should prevent Christians from being anti-science. And I should say up front, I’m sure there’s a ton of good science being done right now by honest seekers after what is there.

However, you brought up the great divide between biblical faith and the dominant scientific consensus: the answer to the question of how matter came to be.  That divergence has massive implications, and I think you’ve brushed it aside too quickly.  How one answers that fundamental question of origin goes far to setting his entire worldview: one answer leads to a naturalistic and then secularist understanding of the world, the other discerns in everything an intelligent design. All that is a matter of course. And I think in times past those differing worldviews didn’t much affect the way that science was done.    

But note: as times goes on, these two worldviews aren’t simply eyeing each other from opposite corners.  They’re always in the ring, opposing each other.  And within that fray, things are ever developing.  And this is what’s happening: As the mountain of evidence for intelligent design grows ever higher, there seems to have been an unhealthy development (speaking broadly) within the scientific community. Where we expect to find dispassionate seeking for truth, we instead discover a willingness to ignore, even bury facts that don’t comport with the deeply entrenched and powerfully positioned Darwinian view of origins. We always see more and more instances of blackballing scientists that question the current orthodoxy.  

Before the elemental question then, broadly speaking, institutionalized science is fleeing from evidence and retreating into the fortress of ideas.  Quite unscientifically, we should point out.

So, to repeat and expand: what do we find at the root inquiry of modern science, the elemental exploration of what is there?  Not simply mistakes, but rather political calculations.  We more and more find powerfully positioned ideologues with a record of burying evidence that doesn’t support their paradigm.  The habit of using political power to squelch contrarian voices.  Frankly, a lot of dishonesty.  

So here’s the transition to institutionalized science as a whole: Given the dishonesty around the question of origins, why do we suppose the power plays and dishonest handling of facts would stop there? If there’s corruption at the source, we’ll expect to see traces of it throughout.  And we do.  Activist science was present pre-covid.  And in these times, only seems to be picking up speedRelying on the incantation of “the science says” to issue directives by fiat is becoming de rigueur.  

I think your analysis is too optimistic regarding human nature.  For instance, you posited five possible reasons for scientific chicanery, but concluded these were absurd on their face. Of course scientists are honest! Faulty science must always be simply an honest mistake. But just as this claim to necessary virtue doesn’t hold in any other field (including the clergy!), neither does it in science.  And in claiming some scientists aren’t driven by the facts but by something political, we don’t have to assign a particular motive for that claim to be valid. Sometimes power goes after more power, just because.

The Christian reaction to scientific dishonesty or pontification shouldn’t be anything like nihilism.  Rather, something in parallel with the noble Bereans (Acts 17:11), “amateurs” who heard what the Apostle had to say and then did some digging themselves to confirm, or not.  

Concluding suggestion: Read Lewis’ essay “Is Progress Possible?”  Here’s an excerpt:  “The new oligarchy must more and more base its claim to plan us on its claim to knowledge. If we are to be mothered, mother must know best. This means they must increasingly rely on the advice of scientists, till in the end the politicians proper become merely the scientists’ puppets. Technocracy is the form to which a planned society must tend…

…I dread government in the name of science. That is how tyrannies come in. In every age the men who want us under their thumb, if they have any sense, will put forward the particular pretension which the hopes and fears of that age render most potent. They ‘cash in’. It has been magic, it has been Christianity. Now it will certainly be science.”

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