Thursday, January 22, 2009

How Can Science Be a Religion?



Having committed crimes against Humanism (see blog entry, “the National Religion of the United States of America”) it is necessary to defend the accusation against the inevitable onslaught of ad hominem Humanist defensiveness, invariably containing a multitude of profanity. The faithful followers of Humanism will predictably counter that their beliefs are proven scientific fact and, without substantiation, all dissent is the result of misinformation and religious obsession. Ironically, most believers of theistic religions are comfortable with an element of faith being necessary for belief while believers of atheistic religions, humanism, deny the obvious necessity for blind faith in adherence to their doctrine.

The response is predictable because it is common on any social networking site where the topic of “Science” vs. religion is discussed. Furthermore, it is the mantra of science educators and professors in our state sponsored schools and institutions. It is little wonder that the impressionable minds of our youth and college students would reiterate the fanaticism of their respected teachers without considering the proof that is required to substantiate such a claim - proof that does not exist. Sadly, upholding science as a perfectly objective tool of discovery not only promulgates Humanism, but it is a disservice to students who, upon entering the real world, will realize scientific conclusions are subject to interpretation. The scientific method, often put forth as the paragon of objective reasoning, contains the following steps:

1) Make observations
2) Form hypothesis
3) Perform experiment and collect data
4) Analyze data
5) New Hypothesis
6) Retest

Note the fourth step: Analyze data. Experimental data is by itself useless – collections of numbers and observations. Analysis is often regarded as a nerdly exercise with definitive outcomes. However, data are commonly analyzed and interpreted using models and paradigms. For instance, Humanists cite antibiotic resistance in bacteria as infallible proof of Evolution. While test data clearly show a predominant shift towards antibiotic resistant bacteria in the population when compared to a control - this is in no way verification that humans evolved from single celled organisms over hundreds of millions of years. The crux lies in the interpretation of the data. If the scientist already assumes Evolution is true then he infers the data substantiates his belief. If the scientist assumes God created all living things according to their kinds with an innate ability to adapt, then he will infer the data substantiates this belief. When filtered through our preconceptions conclusions are drawn according to the scientists worldview, not undeniable, objective fact.

One of Humanism’s staunchest allies provides further proof of its religiosity. Speaking at Miami University on September 20, 2008 Eugenie Scott, Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education, provided the following assumptions that "science requires in order to function:”

1) There is an objective reality outside of the individual
2) The Universe operates according to regularities
3) Human beings can understand those regularities

Unwittingly, Scott proved that Science is therefore based upon untestable axioms. None of the three requirements provided can be scientifically proven or inferred. Therefore, Scott is relying on faith in these statements, not objective proof. Later in her presentation she showed the following table:

Characteristic

Religion

Science

Materialism

Logical, empirical evidence used

Yes

Yes

Yes

Revelation

Yes

No

No

Mystical/personal states of being

Yes

No

?

Supernatural powers intervene

Yes

Assumes no

No

Belief in non-material world

Yes

No opinion

No

Belief in spiritual beings

Yes

No opinion

No

Belief in afterlife

Yes (most)

No opinion

No

Concern with evil, ethics, morals

Yes (most)

No

Yes*

Sense of awe, mystery, sacred

Yes

No opinion

Yes**


Scott’s notes
* Based on humanistic arguments
** From nature

Notably, the fourth line claims that Science “assumes” there are no supernatural powers that intervene in our Universe. However, this is purely conjecture. While humans certainly cannot conduct experiments with or testing supernatural powers, this does not exclude the possibility of their existence. For a Christian that believes in God does this mean he or she is incapable of scientific endeavors? If you think so you should never fly in an airplane, walk in or near a skyscraper, drive a car, ride a bus, or be treated by a doctor because there are a multitude of Creationist engineers, physicians, and scientists conducting scientific experiments and using those results to design and build those products and treat medical conditions.

The religious nature of Humanism is deftly displayed on the many Darwin Fish adorned automobiles on our highways and in our parking lots. A bumper sticker in one parking lot read, “Science is our Savior.” Despite the irony it was intended to convey, the sticker clearly shows the religious faith installed in the followers of Humanism. Regrettably, that individual will never be saved by science, in spite of all its achievements; instead they will still die - inexplicably awaiting their "savior." Finally, a closing quote from Richard Lewontin aptly summarizes the Humanist religious agenda (geneticist, Marxist, neo-Darwinist, and a world-renown leader in evolutionary biology):

‘We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.’
(Richard Lewontin, Billions and billions of demons, The New York Review, p. 31, 9 January 1997.)

Regardless of our paradigms, we all have the same evidence. The same fossils, rocks, plants, planets, galaxies, and etcetera. In the interpretation of evidence our hueristics lead to alternative conclusions. Imagine a jury trial wherein the defense attorney must try to convince the jury his client is innocent while the district attorney argues for guilt. Both sides in the trial have the same evidence and the same witnesses, but only one is telling the truth. The Evolution vs. Creation, Humanism vs. Theism, debate is no different; it is not a debate about Science versus Religion. Humanists have a paradigm that rejects the existence of a deity or supernatural force while the Creationist paradigm acknowledges God as the creator of the Universe and life. Each side has the same evidence and can run the same experiments, but the conclusions are drawn based upon worldview and only one is correct. Therefore, I am not arguing that science is a religion; rather, I am advocating that Humanism is a religion trying to disguise itself under the auspices of "science."

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