Scientific Blinders

Science and Christianity Are Compatible," announced the title of a recent article in The Scientist. At least, the subtitle went on, they're compatible if we're willing to make "some compromises." But when you read the article, you discover that all the "compromises" have to be made by Christianity. The author is Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education. Scott insists that Science and Christianity will get along just fine, so long as each stays in its proper domain. That may sound fair enough—but it turns out that everything that matters falls in the domain of science. In Scott's view, Christians are limited to the subjective world of faith and feelings. They're out of bounds if they try to explain the objective world of nature from a religious perspective. Only science is permitted to describe nature. And in her definition, science is committed to naturalism—which means, to put it bluntly, that science has to "leave God out." Her organization is dedicated to promoting Darwinian evolution. Now, Scott is a philosophical naturalist, so perhaps it's not surprising that her so-called "compromise" favors science. What is surprising is that many Christians agree. For example, Francis Collins, director of the National Center for Human Genome Research, is an evangelical Christian. Yet in a recent speech he agreed that science and religion "operate in different spheres." "Science explore[s] the natural," Collins said, "faith explores the supernatural." But reality simply doesn't fit so neatly into separate categories. As professor Phillip Johnson argues in his new book Reason in the Balance, if a supernatural Creator really exists, He just might have chosen to do some creating. It's silly to speak as though the Almighty God is forbidden to affect nature. In fact, nature offers evidence of divine purpose at every turn: Eyes are clearly designed for seeing and ears for hearing, feathers are designed for flying and fins for swimming. Even dyed-in-the-wool atheists, like biologist Richard Dawkins, admit that the evidence speaks strongly in favor of design. But biologists have it drilled into them that science is by definition naturalistic—and as a result, they're forced to close their eyes to the obvious. They're forced to come up with theories explaining how living things "really" evolved by chance variations and natural laws—even though they appear to be designed. In other words, the entire evolution debate hangs on the way we define science. As Johnson puts it, "If the atheists make the rules, the atheists are surely going to win the game regardless of what is true." But why should Christians let atheists make the rules? If God exists, there's no reason to accept a naturalistic definition of science, which assumes He does not exist. If Christianity is true, then it is true across the board—in science as well as religion. Why not discuss this special BreakPoint series in your Bible studies and church groups. Science and Christianity are compatible—but only if we keep our eyes open to the all-pervasive evidence for design.


Chuck Colson


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