Submitted by Andy McIlvain.
In his latest book, Can Science Explain Everything?, theologian John Lennox makes a case against “scientism,” the ideology that “science” is or should be the only measure by which society should know what is true and good. Scientism’s hubris is the idea that science is “objective” and “unbiased,” whereas things like religion and art are not.
Lennox makes the point that God and faith have motivated many of the great scientists and discoveries of the past and continue to do so. Science is not the only way to truth and never has been. Historically philosophy and religion have produced many of the world’s greatest scientists and scientific discoveries. For example Copernicus, Galileo, Pascal, Isaac Newton, Carl Linnaeus, Johannes Kepler, Robert Boyle, Louis Pasteur and, in our time, Father Heller (quantum gravity researcher at the Vatican Observatory), Dr. Francis Collins (head of the Human Genome Project), and Rev. John Polkinghorne (formerly a professor of particle physics at Cambridge and now an Anglican theologian). The list goes on. The faith of these great scientists, philosophers, and theologians was and is an integral part of their thinking.
Allan Sandage (1926-2010), an American astronomer (the grand old man of cosmology), was a practicing atheist most of his life. “It was my science that drove me to the conclusion that the world is much more complicated than can be explained by science,” he says. “It is only through the supernatural that I can understand the mystery of existence,” he goes on to conclude.
Dartmouth theoretical physicist Marcelo Gleiser was recently awarded the Templeton Prize – for making “an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension.” Gleiser is an agnostic who criticizes scientists like Stephan Hawking and Carl Sagan for claiming science knows how and why the universe exists.
“Categorical statements of non-belief like this,” says Gleiser, “don’t just go beyond the bounds of science. They’re actually incompatible with the scientific method.” “This whole notion of finality and final ideas is just an attempt to turn science into a religious system,” he goes on to say.
Consider Mysterianism. The Mysterianism position argues that the human mind may be incapable of understanding itself, that we will never understand how consciousness works. But if Mysterianism applies to the workings of the mind, there’s no reason it shouldn’t also apply to the workings of nature in general. As Philosopher Colin McGinn has suggested, “It may be that nothing in nature is fully intelligible to us.”
The Rev. John Polkinghorne, speaking about the amazing ongoing discoveries in quantum physics/mechanics says, “Not only is the Universe stranger than we think; it is stranger than we can think.”
How soon we forget that we are very small and limited and that God is beyond our comprehension. “Great and marvelous are your works, O Lord God, the Almighty (Revelation 15:3).”