Science vs. Religion: Or Can Both Make Sense?

Written by Wes Walker on October 23, 2013

You’ve heard the old story, haven’t you?  The one that tells us “Religion has Beliefs and Science has Facts”?

Let me ask you a question:

Is that idea objectively true? Or is it something we’ve accepted from others who’ve claimed it’s true?  That’s an important distinction!

Let’s for a moment weigh that claim with the same scrutiny we normally apply to religious statements.  Will it stand up?  Or is it just a story told to make us accept someone else’s belief?

It’s not really up to me to answer that question.  It’s up to you.  But I’m happy to ask it.

Blogger “Wintery Knight” (WK) recently discussed on this topic, from which I will quote excerpts.  In using excerpts, I was forced to omit certain important details of his line of argument.  (To see his complete article for yourself, click here.)

He begins by referencing the hostility astrophysicists once had to the Big Bang Theory.  Even the theory’s name was intended as mockery.  What was their objection?  Did it fail to fit the facts?  Was there a conflicting data point?

Actually, it was because the scientists had a Philosophical (as opposed to Empirical) commitment to the idea of an Eternal Universe.

In fact, even in light of evidence in support of the Big Bang theory, there were scientists who were loathe to abandon the (now-discredited) “Steady State” universe model.

Next, WK makes 5 points by which the Materialist position can be measured against reality and scientific discovery.

Those points are:

1) Origin of the Universe  (2) Cosmic Fine-Tuning  (3) Origin of Life (biological information)  (4)  Cambrian Explosion in the fossil record and (5) the “habitability/observability correlation”

WK tests the claims of naturalism (in his own words) against those five points:

In the beginning was the naturalism:

  1. In pre-scientific times, atheists maintained that the universe was eternal
  2. In pre-scientific times, atheists maintained that a life-permitting universe was as likely as a life-prohibiting universe
  3. In pre-scientific times, atheists maintained that the cell was a simple blob of jello that could spontaneously emerge in some warm pond
  4. In pre-scientific times, atheists maintained that the sudden origin of the Cambrian phyla would be explained by subsequent fossil discoveries
  5. In pre-scientific times, atheists maintained that there was nothing special about our galaxy, solar system, planet or moon

But then science progressed by doing experiments and making observations:

  1. Scientists discovered redshift and the cosmic microwave background radiation and more!
  2. Scientists discovered the fine-tuning of gravity and of the cosmological constant and more!
  3. Scientists discovered protein sequencing and exposed the myth of “junk DNA” and more!
  4. Scientists discovered an even shorter Cambrian explosion period and the absence of precursor fossils and more!
  5. Scientists discovered galactic habitable zones and circumstellar habitable zones and more!

WK contends the apriori commitment to atheism that underlies some naturalistic assumptions has consistently conflicted with subsequent scientific discovery.  On those grounds, can be discredited or falsified.

He just might have a point.  Either way, do you see how easily the story can be flipped around depending who’s telling it?

Far from rejecting scientific discovery, WK insists that both Christians and non-Christians should take it very seriously, and stay abreast of it … but do so with a critical eye.

Be alert to stories masquerading as facts.

Probe deeper.  Ask questions.  Challenge authority.

It’s time Materialists face the same tough questions that Theists have been fielding all along.