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Religion/Philosophy, Science

Science: A Firm Foundation?

Recently I was listening to a seminar by a gentleman named Kurt Wise.  Dr. Wise is a leading scientist (his particular field is paleontology) in his field of study.  However, he is also a seven day, young earth creationist, which is credibility suicide in today’s scientific community.   Nevertheless, he maintains his convictions and continues to produce quality scientific research in his field.

I bring him up because in this particular seminar Dr. Wise was making a case for a universal flood.  Much of his evidence would also require a young earth view of creation as well.  His case is intriguing to say the least.  He, along with several other scientists in their respective fields, have been working on the theory for more than ten years and anticipate publication in the near future.  Their theory, however, is not the purpose of this blog.  What is the purpose of this blog is a comment Dr. Wise makes in his closing remarks.  After finishing his presentation Dr. Wise says this:

“But we have lots and lots of other questions, as is true of every good theory of science, it generates more questions than it seems to answer.  So there is plenty of work to do for geologists and physicists for the next, uh, decade or so to centuries here, if scientists even want to continue this research.  Perhaps this model is wrong.  That’s entirely possible, in fact likely, given the way scientific theories are, but what it is going to definitely do is stimulate an awful lot of very interesting research, and a lot of job security for scientists in the coming years, I hope.”

Having listened to his presentation, which obviously you the reader have not done, I was greatly impressed with the research that was presented.  I am no scientist, but it was compelling and appeared sound.  My point is, he gave lots of evidence.  Lots of scientific evidence.  This of course should not be a novel idea.  Any good scientist should be drawing his conclusions based on good research and evidence (though many do less of it than they should).  Nevertheless, there was very good scientific research and evidence presented in the presentation, leading to the conclusion that he was presenting.

And yet, when it is all finished, Dr. Wise is honest not necessarily about the quality of the research, this he would affirm as having been done to the best of their respective abilities, but about the limitations of scientific knowledge.  Perhaps his model is wrong, in fact it likely is (man, you don’t here scientists saying that everyday).   He’s not claiming the knowledge is unreliable or not pure in that it can’t be trusted to reflect what we see around us, but that there is far more to know that will provide greater clarity of such realities.

I couldn’t help but be struck, as a result of Dr. Wise’s concluding remarks, about just how unreliable scientific knowledge is.  Of course it reveals things regarding how the world works that have a level of truthfulness to them.  But there is far more to be known.  It is thus, unwise (no pun intended) to look to science to establish what truth is.  To build one’s worldview on scientific knowledge.  If scientific knowledge changes and reveals more and more through time, how can it provide a reliable and consistent basis for what truth is and how we are to live in it?  This struck me powerfully after hearing such a scientifically grounded presentation affirmed for what it was at the end.  Research about how the world works, but by no means the end of scientific inquiry and knowledge.

This is not an attempt to dismiss scientific knowledge as untruthful (it does tell us things about the world around us, even though it is not perfect knowledge), but a reflection on how weak science is in regards to establishing transcendent truth, truth to build a worldview on.  If you don’t want to believe it unless science proves it, you may be sorely disappointed.

This is also not an attempt to make a case for a biblical worldview.  That would take far more time to do thoroughly and comprehensively.  However, despite the unwillingness of many to accept the truthfulness of the Bible as providing man with reliable knowledge to ground one’s life in, it should be noted that the great discipline of science may not be as reliable as one might think that it is.



One thought on “Science: A Firm Foundation?

  1. This is a interesting point that you and Dr. Wise make. Science is definitely a weak basis for a world view because of its limited knowledge. Im not a post-modernist but how can we whole heartedly trust science when it changes so much and is very susceptible to time. Hey Josh you should build a case for a biblical world view I would love to see a blog on that.

    Posted by Kris Keepers | October 14, 2008, 12:40 am

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