Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Science and Reason .... and History and Revelation

The "war on science" is over.

The problems they face are difficult and deeply rooted but not necessarily unfixable. Fortunately, most Americans aren't actively anti-science; the problem, rather, is that the science world is either alien to them or something they rarely think about.

Fortunately, most Americans aren't actively anti-science; the problem, rather, is that the science world is either alien to them or something they rarely think about.

There will be hurdles along the way. Americans are repeatedly being told that science represents an assault on their core beliefs and values. Battles over the relationship between science and religion are newly resurgent, ... If science is ordinarily distant from the lives of ordinary Americans, unending science-religion conflicts can make it seem hostile.

And so we find ourselves in a paradoxical situation. Science is more important than ever—something our new president fully recognizes. Yet for most Americans, science is probably becoming more distant, not less; it's harder to locate and identify, and it's often more aggressive toward their core beliefs. In this context, scientists certainly shouldn't retreat to their labs. Rather, they should reach out to the public like never before. There's a lot of work to do.

Chris Mooney in his article Mission Accomplished seeks not only to report a seeming victory but to call scientists to action not in the lab, but on the contrary, in the area of public opinion (and education). While I don't disagree that people need to be educated in the area and value of science, it's what they need to be educated toward that Christians should be concerned with.

The issue was perhaps best illustrated by a commenter on Dawkin's repost of the article who responded to the article stating "Oh, that is some good news, we need to bring back the golden age of science and reason." Have not secularists learned anything from history? If the "golden age" was so "golden", then why did society shift from such a worldview to find answers, satisfaction, and comfort elsewhere?

Several things to note:
1. It's not just "science and reason" but also "history and revelation" that we need to take into account and be instructed by.

2. While science is valuable (and can result in MUCH GOOD), it will not result in all the answers and satisfaction man seeks. The truth is because of both the nature of science and the nature of man, at the SAME time science will bring about advancements for good, science will not only continue to raise more issues and questions, but science (/& it's results) will also be (mis-)used to create and bring about problems for man. (i.e., the same science that leads to advancement in weapons for protection can/will also be misused for aggression; the same science that is used for longer life also will lead to experience of illnesses related to longer life, etc.)

3. While a simple return to an age of "science and reason" alone will ultimately be no more lasting than before, looking to "science and reason" not as ends in themselves but within the greater biblical framework will be simultaneously both of good use but not misleading people with false hopes.

Conclusion: Christians, at the SAME time you WELCOME discussions of science and it's value and purpose, make sure people are historically informed, biblically confronted, and challenged in the place of science within the overall perspective of our lives!

The science debate doesn't ultimately belong to secularists! Christians need not only to be informed but leaders in the debate!

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