‡ This was an article written by Pastor Keith Nash from Mitchell SD back in January of 2008. If you are interested in Christian Apologetics and live in his area I would invite you to contact him with any questions you may have! ‡
I’m writing to take exception with a bit of what DWU Biology Professor Emeritus Robert Tatina wrote about science and religion in the January 11 edition of the paper. Dr. Tatina and I agree that religion should not be pitted against science. But what I challenge is his comment at the end that says religion and science are not in conflict because they are in separate realms. In broad terms the realm of science deals with the question of “HOW” the natural world functions, while the realm of religion deals with the question of “WHY” things are as they are. But beyond that, is he suggesting that these two disciplines have different [criteria for discerning] definitions of truth? I hope not. Both disciplines seek to know the TRUTH (what really is). TRUTH is consistent, and in my view is the over-arching principle for both disciplines. If something is true in the natural world, it is also true in the religious world, and visa versa.
Some have suggested that science is the discipline of objective facts, while religion is the discipline of subjective expressions of feeling, which is little more than sentimental nonsense, unless they rest upon the firm foundation of scientific knowledge. I contend that the religious pursuit of the TRUTH about God follows the same rules of logic and reason as does scientific pursuit of TRUTH. The theologian’s study of God in religion recognizes that God transcends human powers of logic, but is never contradictory to logic (reason). So what is TRUE in religion must be consistent with TRUTH in science as well.
Christianity in particular has declared itself rooted to the historically objective TRUTH of certain things (i.e. the resurrection of Christ in real history, etc.), and if its basic tenets are what really is, then that has significant implications in the realm of science.
In defining science Dr. Tatina (and virtually every other Darwinist as well) insists on beginning with an unproven, unverifiable premise (BELIEF). That premise is: That only what exists tangibly qualifies for scientific inquiry. This beginning with an unproven BELIEF seems to me to be encroachment into the religious realm (the very thing Dr. Tatina has declared are separate realms entirely)! What I would suggest to be a much healthier and honest discussion of the issues is: recognize that there are two starting premises (BELIEFS) for two competing schools of science: (1) The above premise (or as Carl Sagan has popularized it with, “The universe is all there is, all there ever was, and all there ever will be.”), and (2) That what really is qualifies for scientific inquiry. Both of these beginning premises use the duly recognized scientific methods of inquiry, and both believe in micro-evolution (change WITHIN kinds). The difference is that the first BELIEF (premise) implies, or logically insists, on some highly anti-Christian conclusions. Quoting Darwinist Stephen Jay Gould in Darwin on Trial (p. 126f):
“Modern science directly implies that the world is organized strictly in accordance with mechanistic principles. There are no purposive principles whatsoever in nature. There are no gods and no designing forces that are rationally detectable…
Second, modern science directly implies that there are no inherent moral or ethical laws, no absolute guiding principles for human society.
Third, human beings are marvelously complex machines. The individual human becomes an ethical person by means of two primary mechanisms; heredity and environmental influences. That is all there is.
Fourth, we must conclude that when we die, we die and that is the end of us…
Finally, free will as it is traditionally conceived—the freedom to make uncoerced and unpredictable choices among alternative possible courses of action—simply does not exist…There is no way that the evolutionary process as currently conceived can produce a being that is truly free to make choices”
The second BELIEF (premise) above recognizes the possibility of the following:
1. A first Cause for all that is in the natural universe.
2. A Designer behind all the order and apparent design that exists in this universe.
3. A purpose for all that exists…including humanity.
Then, I suggest, let all the evidence out there indicate which of these beginning premises best embodies reality as we find it, and proves to be the most helpful in scientific inquiry.
In the final analysis, this has become a battle of worldviews—one insisting on a purely naturalistic explanation of everything, and one that acknowledges the likelihood of a supernatural first Cause.