Mathematical Proof vs. Scientific Proof: Are They the Same?
Absolute proof is strictly the domain of logicians. In mathematics, for example, once a theorem is proven it is proven for all time and all circumstances. Mathematical proof is absolute. Mathematics, however, is not science. This is a point about which many are confused. Mathematics is a language used by science, but is not itself a science. Mathematical proof and scientific proof are not the same thing at all.
Scientific proof is not really proof at all, in the mathematical sense, but is either verification or disproof. Since scientists deal with a universe that is not of their own creation, they cannot prove their laws absolutely as can mathematicians. Although scientists use the term “scientific proof,” what they really mean is that a particular hypothesis has been verified or disproved. They don’t mean “proof” in the mathematical sense.
I Can Do All Things Through Christ: Natural vs. Supernatural
What is better: natural or supernatural? Is the supernatural available to us today? How can one experience the supernatural life?
More Evidence of Scientism as Religion
As shown in our recent documentary C.S. Lewis and the Case Against Scientism, C.S. Lewis compared science to magic in three ways: (1) Science as Religion, (2) Science as Credulity, and (3) Science as Power. In the film, Discovery Institute’s Dr. John West explains that for many people, science (or better, scientism) serves as a quasi-religion. It gives their lives meaning. Evolution in particular provides an overarching, cosmic vision that many find satisfying: a view of something larger than their experience: the birth and ultimate fate of the universe, with mankind struggling against natural odds in its rise to dominance.
To further illustrate, here are a few recent cases from science news of evolutionary thinking serving in the role of religious faith.
The Limitations of Science and the Medical Paradigm
Science has lifted us from the ignorance of the Dark Ages into the understandings we hold today. It has increased our standards of living, lengthened our life spans, and enriched our lives in every way. Music, the arts, our governments, our social customs, our religious beliefs, our educational institutions, our recreations, our modes of travel, our means of communicating, our working, our eating, our sleeping—all aspects of our culture have been transformed by the touch of technology. It is little wonder, then, that we have become conditioned to look to science for the solutions of all our problems and for the answers to life’s questions.
But science, powerful as it is, is a false god. Awed by the spectacular material advancements science has brought us, we have come to expect more of science than it is capable of delivering. Many individuals, not recognizing the limitations of science, stand in expectation of results that will never come. Science does not have all the solutions. It does not have all the answers. It never has and it never will.
The purpose of this article is to clearly present science for what it is—no more and no less. Many answers can be obtained by the scientific method, but there are many more that cannot. It is not my intent to destroy your faith in science. As a lifetime professional scientist myself, I am duly respectful of its potential. I am also aware of its limitations. When it comes to consideration of life in its fullness, these limitations are very great. Therefore, while I don’t want to destroy your faith in science, I do want to disturb it and to encourage you to question its validity as an approach to living.
In order to clearly understand the limitations of science, one must first have a clear picture of what science is. Interestingly enough, there is a large fraction of scientists who do not have an accurate and complete picture of the boundaries of science. This might sound hard to believe, but it is true. It is entirely possible to practice science to a high level of success in obtaining useful, valid results, while at the same time never being fully aware of its limits.
In an analogous way, it is entirely possible, if not common, for doctors to practice medicine without being aware of its limits. In fact, it is not at all uncommon for people to confuse medicine with science. And neither is it unusual for doctors to confuse science with technology. The practice of medicine, while it may be partially described as “applied technology,” is not a science.
While medicine bases some of its practices on scientifically derived data, the practice of medicine is not, itself, a science. Medicine is a discipline of opinion where accepted standards of practice are determined by a consensus of the majority, not by the scientific method.
The reason the limits of science are not widely recognized and understood lies in our educational systems, which train scientists and health care providers in how to exercise the methods of science and apply their results, but do not encourage a questioning of the fundamental assumptions behind the methods themselves. The purpose of medical training is unquestioning indoctrination, not cognitive education. It is to promote, protect, and apply the prevailing paradigm—not to question it.
Intelligent Design vs. Scientism
If you were to come across Mt. Rushmore while hiking through the hills of South Dakota, having no prior knowledge of the structure, which statement is more “scientific” and which one requires a lot of faith?
1. Some intelligent being designed this.
2. Wind and erosion over millions of years created this.
If you choose #1 as the statement most “scientific” (with no guessing or conjecture as to who made the design), then you would be labeled as an idiot trying to force your religious beliefs on others by 21st scientists when applying the same scientific reasoning to other things found in nature.
If you choose #2, however, starting with the presupposition that #1 cannot be true, you have now created a new belief system from which to develop your theories or origins upon. This new religion, fueled mainly by Darwinism, is Scientism.
Scientism is the basis of much of western culture today. It gave us eugenics, for example, and was responsible for the medical tyranny that unfolded in Nazi Germany leading up to World War II.
What few people today realize, however, is that the foundations of the religion of Scientism is bringing about medical tyranny in many of the same ways as they unfolded in Nazi Germany, today right here in the United States.
If you want to understand #1, however, you need to study Intelligent Design. Intelligent Design (ID) is a branch of science which is constantly under attack today, and labeled as “religion” or something else it is not.
ID is quite different from “Creationism.” Creationism moves beyond the observation of scientific facts and makes statements as who the Creator is, such as what is written in the Bible (a worthy topic of study in and of itself!) ID does not deal with the “who,” but leaves that up to religion.
David Klinghoffer of the Discovery Institute writes about the prejudices against ID by those who have never even studied it: “We Don’t Have to Listen to the Evidence Because…”
What is the Purpose of Your Sickness?
The idea of our sickness being a result of our sins is not a popular message today, because our humanistic culture is built upon the foundation of Darwinian evolution, and it has taught us to believe that all sickness is a result of natural causes that we can control in our environment.
The drug companies have developed a medicine or vaccine for just about every problem now with this belief system. If they cannot find a cause for the sickness in the natural realm, they usually just cite the cause as “stress” and give a pill for that too.
The spiritual realm, including sin, is usually not even acknowledged. While it is certainly true that our environment, the physical realm, can cause us to be sick, we should first examine ourselves and see if there is a spiritual cause. Sin is very real, and it has very real consequences in our physical bodies. If God is disciplining us through our sickness, then physical remedies (natural or medical) will probably not work.
Do You Deserve a Break Today?
If we actually received what we deserve, it would be very ugly. But the good news is that mercy triumphs over judgment under the law of liberty, and opens the door to wonders and riches that are freely given in spite of the fact that we do not deserve them. Enacting this principle in your own life releases tremendous power for health to you, and to those around you.
Why Organized Science Longs for Extraterrestrial Life
Organized Science longs to find extraterrestrial life. Why so? There are various answers, but the mundane one is indeed funding.
NASA is eager to find extraterrestrial life somewhere because that will increase the agency’s popularity with Congressional committees. The search for taxpayer support is never far from the minds of those who live at the intersection of science and public policy.
Another motivation is not at all mundane. Organized Science has long banked on the faith that life started by accident. The thought that life on Earth might in fact be unique is unpopular, because that could mean that some source of intelligent design played a role. We can’t have that!
Soon after Darwin’s Origin of Species appeared, Bishop Wilberforce debated Huxley at Oxford University. Famously, it was the first clash between Organized Religion and Organized Science. The bishop said that if Darwin can “demonstrate to us our fungular descent, we shall dismiss our pride, and avow, with the characteristic humility of philosophy, our unsuspected cousinship with the mushrooms.”
To this day such cousinship has still not been demonstrated; not by Huxley, not by Darwin, nor their well-funded successors. Richard Dawkins confidently asserted not long ago that turnips are our cousins.
One hundred and fifty years after Huxley’s debate with Wilberforce, the evidence of Man’s uniqueness continues to withstand every challenge.
The Value and Power of God’s Wisdom
There is a wisdom that does not come from human knowledge. It is not obtained by observation, or by using scientific methods. It is revealed by God, who is the Creator of the universe and stands outside of his creation, and therefore has much more wisdom than can be observed from within the creation.
The Limitations of Science
Today’s narrow understanding of “science” or “knowledge,” which only looks at what can be observed in the physical realm, is now equated with “truth,” and is considered by modern society to be more valuable than any other kind of knowledge. It has become the religion of modern man. But there is much knowledge in our world that cannot be observed in the physical realm, or “proven” by scientific discovery!