In a recent podcast, Greg Koukl (#STRask) spoke of the a priori philosophical commitment that underpins modern science – the philosophy of materialism.
Science is so often portrayed as a discipline that objectively seeks after true knowledge. However, things are not as they seem for indeed, the whole ‘apparatus of investigation‘ is rigged to ‘produce material explanations’ (sometimes even ‘unsubstantiated just-so stories’). These italicised phrases are not Greg’s words, but come from a 1997 book review by eminent evolutionary biologist and Harvard professor, Richard C. Lewontin.
Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.
The supposed chasm between science and faith, particularly Biblical faith, is false. The real chasm lies between the underlying philosophy of modern science – materialism – and faith. You cannot believe in materialism AND Genesis 1v1.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
However, you can begin with Genesis 1v1, and still pursue science and the scientific method in an objective manner, to find the truth about ourselves and the universe around us.
In fact, I would go a stage further and say that from a foundation of Biblical faith, you can be more objective as a scientist in the search for truth, for you actually have a concept of truth in your philosophical worldview, and moral framework that expects you to act in a fair and truthful manner.
Materialism on the other hand has neither. There is actually no such thing as objective truth and no such thing as a morally virtuous standard by which you are expected to conduct yourself. Therefore, why should scientists not rig the system? Why should they not tell ‘just-so stories‘? There is nothing to stop them other than their conscience and this itself is a christian construct. In other words, people steal from God to create the virutous moral framework by which to live, while continuing to deny ‘a Divine Foot in the door’
Remember, ideas are important, and ideas have consequences.
Remember that Jesus said:
I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, but by me. [John 14:6]