Science is that branch of study which seeks to acquire knowledge to understand the nature and principles that govern nature. This results in systematic categorizations of knowledge into competing models and hypothesis the best of which become theories that seek to explain, predict, and manipulate reality.
The Scientific Method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. The scientific method consists of the collection of data through observation and experimentation, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.
There are three classes of competing theories that seek to explain the reality we observe in the world today. They include purely naturalistic evolutionary theories, theistic evolutionary theories, and creation theories. Each of the three classes has reputable scientists and researchers involved in the scientific enterprise working on theories they believe represents the best fit of the evidence for reality.
Examples abound, and it is unfortunate, that students, scientists, and researchers preparing for or involved in the scientific enterprise are treated with bias simply because they do not believe that atheistic naturalism is the best fit for reality. Many are pushed away from science or barred from top science positions where the direction of science is determined for this reason.
As senior research scholar Kenneth Samples states:
“At its purest level, the scientific enterprise ought to be a dispassionate and objective pursuit of truth about the natural world, submitting all theories and models to continuous and exhaustive testing.
Yet it seems that some within the secular scientific community have decided to permit only naturalistic explanations and anyone who challenges this position will not be granted a place at the table of scientific inquiry. Many atheists appear to hold on to the theory of evolution with a seemingly religious fervor, as illustrated by comments made by Dawkins:
‘It is absolutely safe to say that, if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).'”
The “New Atheists” believe that any perspective outside of atheism lacks any rational foundation and assert the concept of God is merely an illusion arising from human wishful thinking (a “genetic defect”) and that anyone who believes otherwise is a dangerous person who should be barred from the scientific enterprise.
Yet for centuries many of the world’s greatest philosophers, theologians, and scientists have been Christians arguing that their worldview and reason are indeed compatible with each other. These same world-class thinkers have argued that it is actually atheism and skepticism that cannot be rationally justified. Many modern thinkers and scientists agree and have published a wide body of scholarly literature on the topic with some notable scientists being dismissed for it by atheists in authority over them who didn’t like it.
Mr. Dawkins needs to condition his view of what constitutes dangerous with the 20th century democide carried out by state atheists. The only danger from scientists and researchers involved in comparing non-atheistic models and theories with atheistic models and theories is an end result of a better understanding for everyone.
Next, consider the relationship of science and Christianity.
Science and Christianity
Conflicts between scientific theories and religious beliefs have arisen through the centuries; however, the intellectual climate that gave rise to modern science was decisively shaped by scientists like Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Boyle, and Pascal who were devout Christians.
Their worldview posited an orderly and uniform material reality, a universe that began ex nihilo, and humankind capable of reasoning and of discovering the intelligibility of nature. This worldview encouraged scientific inquiry as desirable (even if political or religious leaders always did not) and provided a basis for modern science and an updated modern scientific method to emerge and flourish.
Eminent historian and philosopher of science Stanley Jaki has argued that science was “stillborn” in other great civilizations outside Europe because of prevailing ideas that stifled scientific development, e.g., a cyclical approach to time, an astrological approach to the heavens, metaphysical views that either deified nature (animism) or denied it (idealism).
The many Christians involved in founding modern science believed that the heavens genuinely declare the glory of God and purposefully revealed Himself in two ways: through divine revelation and the general revelation of nature. This stands in opposition to naturalism which asserts that reality and the human mind is completely the result of a series of accidents.
Now this is not a salvation issue. One can hold to a young earth creation, old earth creation, progressive creation, god of the gaps interpretation, or theistic evolutionary position on Biblical creation and be saved (e.g. become a born again Christian). “In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity.” This important fact needs to be restated, as necessary, whenever the discussion of creation arises.
Professor Gary Ferngren, the author of ‘Science and Religion: A Historical Introduction’ describes the situation this way:
“Although popular images of controversy continue to exemplify the supposed hostility of Christianity to new scientific theories, studies have shown that Christianity has often nurtured and encouraged scientific endeavor, while at other times the two have co-existed without either tension or attempts at harmonization. If Galileo and the Scopes trial come to mind as examples of conflict, they were exceptions rather than the rule.”