A friend of mine – someone whom I’d go to for help – leant me a ‘Creation’ magazine to prove that there are creationists who are real scientists. And, I have to admit, my friend was right: the magazine was full of contributors who had degrees in science, including one who has a PhD and honours and works at a run-of-the-mill university; but who wrote the following howler: ‘Cosmology is unscientific because you can’t do an experiment in cosmology.’ I wonder if said writer would be willing to say that to Australian Nobel Prize winner, Brian Schmidt. Only humans can be living contradictions.
Creation science is an epistemological contradiction – there’s no such thing – by definition. Science does not include magic – I can’t imagine anyone who would disagree with that, but I might be wrong. Replacing a scientific theory with supernaturally enhanced magic is anti-science, yet creationists call it science – as the Americans like to say: go figure.
The magazine was enlightening in that the sole criterion for these ‘scientists’ as to the validity of any scientific knowledge was whether or not it agreed with the Bible. If this was literally true, we would still be believing that the Sun goes round the Earth, rather than the other way round. After all, the Book of Joshua tells us how God stopped the Sun moving in the sky. It doesn’t say that God stopped the Earth spinning, which is what he would have had to do.
One contributor to the magazine even allows for ‘evolution’ after ‘creation’, because God programmed ‘subroutines’ into DNA, but was quick to point out that this does ‘not contradict the Bible’. Interesting to note that DNA wouldn’t even have been discovered if all scientists were creationists (like the author).
Why do you think the ‘Dark Ages’ are called the dark ages? Because science, otherwise known as ‘natural philosophy’, was considered pagan, as the Greeks’ neo-Platonist philosophy upon which it was based was pagan. Someone once pointed out that Hypatia’s murder by a Christian mob (around 400AD) signalled the start of the dark ages, which lasted until around 1200, when Fibonacci introduced the West to the Hindu-Arabic system of numbers. In fact, it is the Muslims who kept that knowledge in the interim, otherwise it may well have been lost to us forever.
So science and Christianity have a long history of contention that goes back centuries before Copernicus, Galileo and Darwin. If anything, the gap has got wider, not closer; they’ve only managed to co-exist by staying out of each other’s way.
There are many religious texts in the world, a part of our collective cultural and literary legacy, but none of them are scientific or mathematical texts, which also boast diverse cultural origins. It is an intellectual conceit (even deceit) to substitute religious teaching for scientifically gained knowledge. Of course scientifically gained knowledge is always changing, advancing, being overtaken and is never over. In fact, I would contend that science will never be complete, as history has demonstrated, so there will always be arguments for supernatural intervention, otherwise known as the ‘God-of-the-Gaps’. Godel’s Incompleteness theorem infers that mathematics is a never-ending epistemological mine, and I believe that the same goes for science.
Did I hear someone say: what about Intelligent Design (ID)? Well, it’s still supernatural intervention, isn’t it? Same scenario, different description.
Religion is not an epistemology, it’s a way of life. Whichever way you look at it, it’s completely subjective. Religion is part of your inner world, and that includes God. So the idea that the God you’ve found within yourself is also the Creator of the entire Universe is a non sequitur. Because everyone’s idea of God is unique to them.