Science & Faith — We Need to Work Together Again

Isaac Newton, one of the greatest scientists of all time, was also a Christian.
Isaac Newton, one of the greatest scientists of all time, was also a Christian.

Due to an inability to describe the world around them, people living before the age of science often attributed to God the sole cause of natural events. In man’s ignorance, he often gave God the credit for certain key biological or physical mechanisms that today can be explained through the scientific method of discovery. As scientists’ knowledge grew, the need for God as the reason for the natural occurrences around us decreased. Science seemed to be replacing even the long-held belief of God as Creator.

The worldview that is commonly held today is that science and religion should be, and remain, separate entities since one was supposedly based on fact and the other based on faith. The concern of bringing these two areas back together again is that science will somehow revert to a “God-of-the-Gaps” idea that when you cannot determine how something works, just insert God into the equation and throw up your hands in defeat. “Who knows? God! Who cares? God!” This is not what the science field wants.

This is what Richard Dawkins refers to as incredulity, or a refuge for ignorance. What if a natural cause is somehow labeled a supernatural one? In the seventeenth-century, for example, Johannes Kepler thought the craters in the moon were intelligently designed by moon dwellers. That was proven false as the craters were shown to have been formed naturally. This is the concern for those today in the field of science who want to stop lazy appeals to God as a cause rather than to press on and struggle for a solution.

Theistic and atheistic scientists alike are not certain is it possible to reliably determine if something is designed or not. However, it is important to recognize when the field of inquiry has reached its limits of knowability. The problem is that many scientists believe science will eventually know everything,—it is just a matter of time to determine functions and causes. So introducing the concept of a designer, something that cannot fit into today’s scientific method, is abhorrent to many scientists, especially atheistic ones.

Yet science can only answer what is, to a certain extent, not what should be. Share on XEthical and moral issues arise in the field of science, and herein lies where the two areas of study, religion and science, could partner. Since religion deals with human rights, emotions and actions, deciding, for example, if one should create a clone of another human being becomes an issue best answered by a religious person who can help determine goals for these types of scientific conundrums. Even Einstein once said: “when the number of factors coming into play in a phenomenological is too large, the scientific method in most cases fails us.”

Science can’t answer all of life’s questions. Therefore, striving after rational knowledge should be the goal of both science and religion working together cooperatively. Give theologians a seat back at the table of scientific inquiry.