Saturday, January 31, 2015

People Do Not Believe in Science, Anymore. Really?

...the aim of exact science is to reduce the problems of nature to the determination of quantities by operations with numbers. James Clerk Maxwell 1831-1879

I have been in a conversation with one of our daughters lately; she tells me that people are losing confidence in science, generally. This lack of confidence in scientific belief is causing them to do some bad things. For instance, they are not giving their children immunizations because they think that adverse side effects of vaccines cause all sorts of bad things, such as autism.

I will admit that scientific reasoning does not hold the high ground in the thinking of many people that it did 100 years ago, when Enlightenment philosophy was the predominant pattern of belief. However, science has been a huge benefit to humankind in the last 200 years or more. No thinking person can really deny that. Just think of how science has impacted your life whenever you get in a car or airplane, turn on the electricity, or use the internet.

The problem with general belief which our daughter notes is caused by the fact that scientific thinking has invaded areas where it does not belong. To summarize the problem, scientists answer the question of “what” in the puzzled human mind; but it does not answer the question of “why.” Scientists can examine our universe and find out many things about how it works; but they cannot tell us why the universe is here in the first place. And…try as they may, they cannot tell us how and why life exists. The question of life gets even more complicated when they try to explain such things as consciousness, imagination, art, morality, kindness, and many other things.

The “incredibility” of scientific understanding comes when scientists try to extrapolate their bench research findings into philosophical and less objective fields of understanding.

Some scientists fail to understand that there are several ways to get at truth. For instance:

1)   Experimental truth is obtained in laboratories of one kind or another. Making hypotheses, testing them against collected data, drawing conclusions, and relying on replicability to confirm findings. This is the home ground of scientific understanding; and it is the area where science shines as an expounder of truth.

2)   Historical truth is obtained by consulting historical records. For instance, if one wants to know how many Irish immigrants lived in Detroit in 1910, one consults historical records.

3)   Mathematical truth is obtained by deducing facts from previously confirmed formulas.

4)   Psychological truth is determined by interviewing people. For instance if one wants to know what is going wrong in a marriage conflict, one must interview the two people in the marriage.

5)   Philosophical truth is obtained by logic and reasoning with words. This truth relies on history and common sense.

6)   Sociological truth is obtained by interviewing a randomly chosen group of people and applying statistical models to the collected data.

7)   Theological truth relies on historical records and reliance on the only one who was there in the beginning, God, Himself, as expressed in the Bible.

When scientists push their naturalistic disciplines to their logical extreme, they logically come to the conclusion that God does not exist as a real actor—they see Him as a construct of human imagination.  Whenever scientists step out of their area of competence, they draw down doubt on their competence and believability. Their system of thought, when applied to areas outside of their area of competence invariably brings them to a belief in a purposeless evolution of molecules to life and, furthermore, to a belief in purposeless life evolution. Common sense contradicts this purposeless process. A person who looks at the internal workings of a human cell can tell with just a bit of common sense that all the “random change, natural selection, and passage of time” rhetoric we hear from scientists is nonsense; and it makes their arguments silly. The scientific method does not translate well into many areas of truth searching.

It seems that some scientists deny data that does not fit with their naturalistic, atheistic, presuppositions. Data of that kind shows the common observation that the various parts of our universe are extremely well coordinated to work together to produce the livable planet, which is our home. Scientists do not have an explanation for that in their paradigm of a “purposeless” creation.

No reasonable person is going to denigrate the reputation of science unless the purveyors of that discipline begin to jump the limits of their discipline and claim the right to determine things outside their area of competency. Scientists deserve to be disbelieved when their beliefs erode into areas only served by non-objective facts regarding ultimate truths.

It must be added that distrust in science has resulted from the terrible wars and mass killing that has taken place in the 20th Century mediated by ingenious scientific killing devices. This kind of skepticism should not negate the many beneficial effects of scientific advances in medicine, public health, and other fields.     

No comments:

Post a Comment