Thursday, April 15, 2010

Did God create science?

I've been thinking about science. 

This all started last weekend when I read an article in the Huffington Post called The Nonscience of the Scientific Arguments Against Evolution.  What got me was one of the comments which said,
Attention evolutionists....Let me spell it out for you....

God created science! So you cant say religion is anti science, makes no sense, so squash dat man!
Oh, the logic!  The logic!  It hurts!

But since then, I've been pondering: did God create science?  Because when I think of science, I don't think of a thing, but a process.  I think of science as a way of approaching creation, using observation and testing hypotheses.  I think science is accountable to a creator God because it must be faithful to the creation observed. 

But I am falling into my own pet peeve of making science a being rather than a process.  I commented about this on Icearc's blog yesterday, saying, It annoys me to hear, "Science says," when it's really, "Based on evidence we have discovered through the scientific method, we currently believe..." One of the things I appreciate about the application of science is that, given replicable results, people will change what they used to believe in the face of new evidence. 

Sadly, I do find that religion is anti-science more often than not.  Why, though?  Why is religion so against data and evidence?  Over on the InternetMonk site, there's an Update on the Creation Wars talking about an Evangelical OT scholar who was pressured to resign from the seminary where he taught after posting a video in which he said,
“if the data is overwhelmingly in favor of evolution, to deny that reality will make us a cult…some odd group that is not really interacting with the world. And rightly so, because we are not using our gifts and trusting God’s Providence that brought us to this point of our awareness.”
I did it again, assigning "religion" agency as if it was a person.   Why is a certain kind of religious worldview so threatened by data?  For me, as a lover of books of all stripes, stories have meaning beyond the literal "this is how it happened."  What happened to us that we have to limit ourselves to making the Bible a news report rather than an epic tale?


....Petty Witter said...

Not religious myself, this none the less gave me much to think about.

motheramelia said...

In ancient days theology was the queen of the sciences. Search for knowledge in whatever form is part of our human nature. Yes, science is a process or a way of thinking about what we observe, but then so is religion. I've found that I like the idea that in science you ask questions about "how" and in theology you ask questions about "why." The questions are different. The desire for understanding the same.

Laura Toepfer said...

I want to think more about the idea of religion as a process. I guess it raises the same question as science--did God create religion?

I'm not sure the "how" and "why" divisions are so clear-cut between science and religion, though, especially when it comes to evolution. A lot of scientists ask the question why. WHY did a spider evolve in this way? What evolutionary advantage does it serve? And creationists are doing their darndest to explain HOW God created the heavens and the earth. (And in non-creation terms, theologians through the ages have been asking how Jesus atones for sin.)

Anyway, a lot more to think about. Thanks to you both for commenting.

qoe said...

When an interviewer asked Jacob Bronowski (1908-1974, humanist, mathematician, scientist) if evolution doesn’t just simply reduce human nature to an accident, he had this to say:

“On the contrary, it is those who appeal to God and special creation who reduce everything to accident. They assign to man a unique status on the ground that there was some act of special creation which made the world the way it is. But that explains nothing, because it would explain everything; it is an explanation for any conceivable world. If we had the color vision of the bee combined with the neck of the giraffe and the feet of the elephant, that would equally be explained by the “theory” of special creation.

"Yet we do not have those features, and we do not believe they are biologically compatible. Therefore, our criterion of what is compatible sets a limitation on an acceptable explanation. That is why I say that to call in a special or miraculous act of creation reduces every conceivable world to accident.”
He also said, in his famous series, “The Ascent of Man”:

“Knowledge is not a loose-leaf notebook of facts. Above all, it is a responsibility for the integrity of what we are, primarily of what we are as ethical creatures. You cannot possibly maintain that informed integrity if you let other people run the world for you while you yourself continue to live out of a ragbag of morals that come from past beliefs. That is really crucial today.… [F]ifty years from now, if an understanding of man’s origins, his evolution, his history, his progress, is not the commonplace of the schoolbooks, we shall not exist. The commonplace of the schoolbooks of tomorrow is the adventure of today, and that is what we are engaged in.

"And I am infinitely saddened to find myself suddenly surrounded in the west by a sense of terrible loss of nerve, a retreat from knowledge into—into what? Into Zen Buddhism; into falsely profound questions about, Are we not really just animals at bottom; into extra-sensory perception and mystery. They do not lie along the line of what we are now able to know if we devote ourselves to it: an understanding of man himself. We are nature’s unique experiment to make the rational intelligence prove itself sounder than the reflex. Knowledge is our destiny. Self-knowledge, at last bringing together the experience of the arts and the explanations of science, waits ahead of us.”

In the gospel of Thomas, Jesus says:

“The Kingdom of God is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living Father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty, and it is you who are that poverty.”

Science is not a person, it is a process, as you say. It is unfortunate that throughout history, political, religious, and now corporate leaders have tried to own and control science, even to the point of not allowing people access to the truth of the process and the results of the process. We are living the results of this nonsense, and millions of people have died through the ages so that someone could protect an unholy untruth, and thereby also protect a power base, economic or otherwise. Ignorance is not holy. You cannot love your neighbor or yourself if you allow yourself to live in the poverty of ignorance. It is rather peculiar, not to say illogical, for anyone to talk about God as a partner in creation on the one hand, then to deny the validity of science as an aspect of creation, on the other.

Peace on the Rock said...

I think a believer should have faith that science will eventually prove the existence of God. Humankind is only in it's infancy of scientific discoveries. Every 100 years we look back and are amazed at our latest clever inventions and discoveries. What we prove is that we were wrong, or what we thought was impossible might be possible after all.

Anonymous said...

I agree after all "My people shall perish from lack of knowledge" as Horsea would say. If we don't know our surroundings and how they function, we won't survive in them because of our limited knowledge.