I’ve made the point here that “while science is very good at analyzing and testing observable data, it cannot help us transcend the natural world or answer the deeper existential questions that also must be answered. It cannot answer why science, or why there’s even such a thing as the natural world. These are philosophical questions.”
This is the point I was trying to make in “The Naturalist’s dilemma.” I’ve also pointed out the irony that this worldview is actually narrow-minded and irrational. It’s refusing to see there are other ways, in addition to science, that help us get a more fully-orbed view of reality. And there are scientists a lot smarter than me who agree with me. I will show clips from three of these scientists here. In the interest of full disclosure, they are Christians, but they’re respected in their field of study and teach in top universities.
First, here’s Ard Louis, Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Oxford, explaining the limitations of science.
This worldview that says science defines all reality is called scientism (as opposed to science). This is the “religion” of many militant anti-theists today. They appeal to scientism in order to dismiss any existential questions about how we can know something. They see the metaphysical and the existential as a lesser reality. But is this actually true?
“Where does this antagonism come from that we hear so much about in the modern world between science and religious faith? I would say, it comes from, very predominantly, what I call scientism. Scientism is the belief that the only meaningful knowledge is science.” (@ 4:56 in video below)
Further on, Hutchinson says, “Scientism is, ironically, not a finding of science.” Here’s a short clip where Hutchinson explains this erroneous belief system.
In his book, Hutchinson examines what he calls the three pillars of the militant atheist’s arguments: (1)that science has disproved religion, (2) that science has explained religion away by pointing to psychological or evolutionary causes, and (3) that religion is evil. He says that the first two pillars are founded on scientism. (For more information on his book, go to an interview video titled, “Monopolising Knowledge: A Refutation of Scientism” from the Faraday Institute.) Hutchinson’s thesis is that the incompatibility is not between science and Christianity but between scientism and Christianity.
For a deeper discussion on scientism by Ian Hutchinson, you can watch a much longer video clip titled, “The Scientism Delusion.” It’s very good and worth watching the whole thing. If you want to skip ahead to his brilliant summation of the Christian worldview and what science can and cannot answer and how we should think about it, go here. There’s also Q&A with students afterward that is good.
Here’s a short clip where Hutchinson answers a student on why we should consider theism, refuting the student’s popular premise that atheism and agnosticism are based on more concrete and logical thought, arguing that the theistic position is more consistent in answering all the questions: “Why Should I Consider Theism? A student at Emory asks Ian Hutchinson.”
Finally, here’s a clip with John Lennox, Professor of Mathematics (emeritus) at the University of Oxford. He talks about how science exploded from a Christian worldview in the 16th and 17th centuries in Western Europe, and why it didn’t grow in other parts of the world who embraced other worldviews. He also explains the limits of science and uses an example as follows:
“Here’s a lady who’s baked a cake….and I ask you to analyze the cake and you reduce it down to its elementary particles. You give me a brilliant description of it. But then I say to you, ‘Why did she make the cake?’ You’ll immediately find your science is at an end. You will not be able to determine, even if you brain-scan her, why she made the cake unless she reveals it to you.” (starts @ 2:33)
Lennox also discusses the fascinating implications of the three billion letter word code found in DNA (Human Genome Project) and other points of interest. It’s worth watching in you’re interested in this discussion.