- The Laws of Science
- The Doctrine of Uniformitarianism
- The 1st Law of Thermodynamics
- The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics
- The Four Fundamental Forces
- The Big Bang
- The Age of the Universe
- The Age of the Earth
- Star and Planet Formation
- The Origin of Life
- Macro and micro evolution
- Darwins Evidence
- Punctuated Equilibrium
- Isn't Evolution "Just a Theory?"
- Is It Really That Important to Teach Evolution?
- Intelligent Design
- Conclusions from Science
- Environmental Change and Species Extinction
- The Bible
- Objections to Christianity
- Suggested Reading
The Facts of what is ScineceThe word science itself can be defined as: "the observation and study of the physical universe". In recent times science has been re-defined to include only those observations that can be explained using natural laws. In other words, science today cannot invoke any type of supernatural, or paranormal, to explain our observations. By this definition, any reference to a supreme being, or force, that can function outside of natural laws is forbidden. Science, as it is defined today, can use only natural laws to explain our world.
Observations on what makes ScienceBy limiting science to only that which can be explained naturally then obviously God, or any other type of spiritual force, is left out of the picture. This is acceptable as long as we understand that the definition of science is man-made, can change at any time and has changed over time. There is no reason that science could not, or should not, include a god or higher intelligence that is outside of natural laws. But by the current definition of science this is not the case.
It has not always been this way. In fact, until recently the definition of science included God, a creator, higher intelligence, etc...
Below are two definitions of science from Websters dictionary taken from two different time periods.
Websters 1913: "knowledge of principles and causes; ascertained truth of facts. If we conceive God's or science, before the creation, to be extended to all and every part of the world, seeing everything as it is, . . . his science or sight from all eternity lays no necessity on anything to come to pass. "
Websters 2012: "a: knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method b : such knowledge or such a system of knowledge concerned with the physical world and its phenomena : natural science"
Now, there are obviously many other definitions of science that could be accepted as well. The point here is that in 1913, according to Websters, the definition of science included God. In the 2012 version there is no mention of God or any other type of spirituality. In less than 100 years the fundamental definition of science itself had changed.
Until recent times most scientists believed in a spiritual realm of some sort. Today those same scientists would be questioned as to their scientific integrity. In fact, with the modern definition of science, some of the greatest scientists of all time would no longer be called "scientists" at all. Issac Newton, Lord Kelvin, Boyle, Kepler, Copernicus, and Galileo are just a few names that come to mind. None of these great thinkers, whose intelligence would dwarf all but a few of our modern-day scientists, would even be considered reputable scientists today. They would not be allowed to teach at any public university. They would not be able to publish their work in any peer reviewed journals. They would be effectively ostracized by the scientific community. All of this because they believed in a spiritual realm.
Now some may object that if these individuals were alive today, with all of our "modern" discoveries, they would probably not believe in God or any type of higher power. This however is an assumption that cannot be verified. Some of them might in fact have more faith not less. Many scientists today have faith in God. They simply cannot talk about their faith in public or invoke the notion of a higher intelligence in their writings. This is a direct result of "modern" scientific thinking and has nothing to do with the reality of God or any "higher power".
People assume that "scientific" evidence is the ultimate in modern thinking. After all if it is not "scientific" then it must be superstition or make-believe. Nothing could be further from the truth. By demanding that we rely only on scientific evidence we in effect put blinders on ourselves and our ability to observe the world around us.
Imagine walking into a room and looking to the left. You see tables and chairs, rugs on the floor and pictures on the wall. It is a nice looking room - that room to your left. But what about the room to the right. You never look to the right. Whether you want to look to the right or not does not matter. The fact is that you cannot look to the right. Is the right side of the room a mirror of the left side? Or is it a hovel with bare cupboards, broken glass and no furniture? Maybe it is a paradise with chandeliers, fine china and oriental rugs. Maybe there is no room to the right. Maybe the left side is all there is. You will never know because you are not permitted to look.
Science, as it is currently defined, functions in much the same way. Instead of expanding our horizons it actually constricts them. Scientific evidence may be only part of the story. Are there things that cannot be explained using only natural methods? Are there things that exist outside of natural observation? Science, as it is currently defined, will never know. It is not permitted to investigate such possibilities by its own self-inflicted limitations.
I personally feel that the modern definition of science is the correct one. Only by distinguishing the natural from the supernatural are we able to reason logically. By defining science as only that which is natural we allow ourselves to differentiate between that which is testable and that which is not. Scientific evidence should be that which is testable and repeatable. Anything else is relegated to the realm of circumstantial or super-natural.
Now that we know, and accept, the modern definition of science we need to make certain that we follow the rules. Too often the terms "science" and "scientific evidence" are invoked incorrectly by both scientists and non-scientists alike. Throughout this paper I will attempt to use these terms in a correct manner.The Laws of Science
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