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In Defense of the Scientific Method

This entry is part 8 of 8 in the series Humanistic Naturalism as a Religion

I read an interesting quote by Adam Savage, of Mythbusters fame. He said the following in a Popular Mechanics podcast:

Like I said, the newspapers talking about evolution versus creationism is very much an attack on science as a type of religion—believing that the scientific method is some type of religious belief. And it’s not! That kind of attack absolutely is damaging science exploration across the whole country. I do think that’s a significant problem. And until we can get our head out of the sand and realize that science isn’t about truth…

Adam makes a couple of good points in this quote. He says that the scientific method isn’t “some type of religious belief.” He’s right, too. The scientific method is a tool. However, religious belief does factor into the scientific method.  Religious belief is the bias that inherently determines how one interprets the results of the scientific method. These results can provide support for vastly different presumptions, whether they be of supernatural creation or evolutionary naturalism.

And evolutionary naturalism is a religion, a dogma as faith based as any religion. Consider this statement that the famous evolutionist Theodosius Dobzhansky, quoted in The American Biology Teacher journal: “Evolution is a light which illuminates all facts, a trajectory which all lines of thought must follow.”1 Or Michael Dini, the Texas Tech University professor who refused to give letters of recommendation to students who would not verbally confess the truthfulness of evolution. Which brings one to the second part of Adam’s quote.

Adam’s statement that, “science isn’t about truth,” is also correct. This doesn’t make science useless; far from it! The results of scientific endeavors have greatly benefited the quality of our lives. But scientists don’t know everything, and therefore science deals in theories, both weak and strong, but never in facts, and no matter how strong a theory is, it is always subject to change.

In summary, science and the scientific method cannot confirm the origin of life for evolutionary naturalist, and it cannot do this for creationists either. As a tool, what it can do is affirm what we already believe.

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  1. “Nothing In Biology Makes Sense Except In the Light of Evolution”, The American Biology Teacher, Vol. 35, pp. 125-129 []

1 Comment on "In Defense of the Scientific Method"

  • Mike says

    Interesting that Savage would be so insightful on this topic. The idea that religion and science are in conflict has been the standard belief of the scientific establishment since John W. Draper published History of the Conflict between Religion and Science in 1874. But when some modern (or post-modern, as the case may be) scientists deny the conflict, it may not be that it is that they are any more open to Christian belief per se. They may actually be exalting evolution to a level even higher than the position they see religion having. Carter Phipps wrote a book a couple of years ago called Evolutionaries, in which he expounds the spiritual and scientific value of evolution by looking at some leading thinkers in science, culture, and religion who use evolution as a lens, or worldview, to make sense out of our pluralistic culture. Post-modernism has left a vacuum of meta-narratives, and many are looking to evolution to fill that void. We could be in for the next round of neo-Marxism.

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