What Science Is; What It Is Not

The least understood discipline in education is science.  Mechanics of reading are learned at a young age and practiced throughout a lifetime.   Everyone agrees that 2 + 2 = 4 regardless of who you are or your religious belief.  Science does not have this luxury.  Many do not perform science unless it becomes a field of study or career.  The process of doing so is commonly misunderstood.  Like mathematics, science has strict rules, and these rules are often not followed due to religious beliefs.

Religion can predispose students to challenge very basic, well-established, non-wavering science doctrines and conclusions.  Experts are no longer the authority, but instead peoples’ opinions, church leaders, and the internet loaded with very bad information.  Anyone with a video camera can disseminate their interpretation of science, even if completely wrong.  Celebrity status is commonly used, and been created, to expand the reach of false concepts.

No other discipline is under such scrutiny or fervent denial.  Just think of the havoc under a protest claiming 2 + 2 does not = 4 or that sentences must be read backwards.  Then, imagine that proclamation being made in the name of Jesus.  Essentially, that is what science, and Christianity, is challenged with today.  Religious ideas are being promoted under a banner of science, called Creation Science.  Yet, science, by virtue of its mechanics, must remain silent on issues of faith.

The attempt is to redefine science in a manner that benefits a religious agenda, rendering the tool useless.  Science ministries are, in fact, not scientific.  Their work is labelled as science, the language sounds ‘sciencey’, and some of the actors have Ph.D.s.  Consumers, however, are not well-versed in this discipline, so they fail to recognize the errors.  This movement is thus accepted as equally valid to that of mainstream science.

Misconceptions are solidified and promulgated with the belief that God sanctions this mission.  The faithful jump on the Creation Science ban wagon.  Pat answers are given that are presented as scientific when not so.  There is little desire or encouragement to dig deeper, to question either the science or theology.

This leads to seriously flawed science education and the dissemination of incorrect information.  Children brought up under a skewed science experience then become science educators themselves.  The lack of understanding spreads, as the religious feel emboldened to assert that the true experts, scientists, are wrong.  Even less religious educators shy away from teaching controversial topics.  The integrity of science education is faltering, as is illustrated by the low academic world rankings for the U.S. and the very strong anti-science sentiment that plagues our nation.

Creation Science is the antithesis of science.  It is the exact opposite of what defines science as science.  There is an illusion of science, such as mimicking the vocabulary but applying it incorrectly.  An appeal to authority is offered with degrees outside the topic area, or degrees earned with the intent to further the mission rather than for new discovery.

No scientific research is conducted.  Instead, the work of actual researchers is criticized or misquoted, using a marketing ploy of websites, articles, and books, effectively casting doubt on legitimate science.  Scientific debate in the public arena of popular opinion is not valid science.

The ideas put forth are not supported by the scientific process with rigorous peer review, yet supports a biblical view and thus is embraced.  Conclusions usually focus on a narrow concept; rejecting, distorting, and ignoring information that would clearly reveal reasoning to be in error or illogical.  One argument often will open holes in previous arguments.

The conclusions sound plausible, especially to a non-scientist who doesn’t have the knowledge base to critically assess.  This is intensified by a lack of humility when viewing one’s own ability to do so.  In other words, it is common for a layperson to truly believe they understand science and the concepts better than those who have spent decades as a science researcher.

Finally, and most telling, the mission statements of these science ministries explicitly state that no information counter to their view of Scripture will be considered.  That is not science!  It is religion.   Contrary to what is being taught, these two doctrines are not the same in objective or processes.  To garner support, these groups assert that their religion is scientific, and that mainstream science is a religion.  This misrepresents both institutions, science and Christianity.

If Creation Science methods were authentic, geocentrism would still be our understanding of the cosmos.  Planets circling the earth at the center of the universe was the prevailing concept due to the theology of its day.  Scientists, many of whom were Christian, used unbiased and systematic empirical exploration to correct this knowledge, just as is happening today with origins.  They did not cloud their exploration with their religion.

ALL information must be taken into account, and accurately done so without circular reasoning.  We cannot disregard inconvenient facts when conducting our science.  Creation Science routinely breaks this rule.

Essentially, leaders of this movement have changed the rules of the science game to accommodate their theology.  They then claim religious persecution when their work is not accepted by peers.  This has everything to do with their science philosophy and procedures, not their religion.  In fact, it is typically Christian scientists, because they care the most and recognize the damage to both doctrines, who are the vocal opponents of Creation Science.

For science to work, an idea must be falsifiable and produce predictable models.  Creation Science has yet to do so, even after decades of effort.  Science is only valid on questions rooted in the natural world.  Creation by a supernatural deity is not falsifiable.  God certainly is not testable or predictable.  While spiritual pursuits (religion) are blessedly valid, they are irrelevant in the science arena.  Thus, creation (supernatural) science (natural questions only) is a farce, and is misleading generations of faithful Christians.

Years of our churches demonizing legitimate science has paved the way for the popularity of these organizations.  Science is not at war with religion, as they would have us believe.  Many scientists are also Christian, who strive to accurately apply science in their laboratories while simultaneously holding their faith close to the heart.

It is not truthful to present Creation Science as a legitimate science endeavor.  It simply is not science.  I don’t question the sincerity of its proponents as honoring our Lord, as I believe motivations to be pure.  Yet they unknowingly, or with intent, undermine real science due to faithful dedication.  Many are a product of an institution willing to uphold biblical interpretations at the expense of true scientific discovery.   God always sanctions truth, not falsehoods, which does call into question the validity of Creation Science.

“Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”   (Psalm 25:5)

Author: Dana Oleskiewicz

Faithful Christian dedicated to science integrity while exploring God's creation through an understanding of biology with an expertise in aquatic ecosystems.

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