The Limits of Science

As a Christian, I have often encountered a variation of the rejection that “a person should only believe in that which can be scientifically proven.” This is sometimes known as the “materialist view.” The more I encounter this, I wonder if it is actually true that people live consistently to this statement. People often think that science somehow disproves the possibility of a God. They look at someone who has religious convictions and simply write that person off as completely against science.

I am a Christian, and I have nothing against science. This post is not to show how stupid or useless science is. I believe that science has done a great many things for our world over the years. However, the point of this post is to show that science has its limits and does very little to prove/disprove Christianity.

What Is Science?
The famous author, C.S. Lewis, says that

cs-lewis“You cannot find out which view is the right one by science in the ordinary sense. Science works by experiments. It watches how things behave. Every scientific statement in the long run, however complicated it looks, really means something like, “I pointed the telescope to such and such a part of the sky at 2:20 A.M. on January 15th and saw so-and-so,” or, “I put some of this stuff in a pot and heated it to such-and-such a temperature and it did so-and-so.” Do not think I am saying anything against science: I am only saying what its job is. And the more scientific a man is, the more (I believe) he would agree with me that this is the job of science – and a very useful and necessary job it is too.”

It is important to understand what science is. Science is experiments and theories. Some theories are more reasonable than others, but they are still theories.

Where Is Science Limited?
If one studies the history of science, they will see that science has not been consistent even over the past 100 years. Science is constantly changing and coming across new evidence which changes the conclusion of the previous experiments. Science has had to admit it has been wrong about certain theories in cosmology, biology, anthropology, medicine, engineering, and other types of sciences. Keep in mind that there are theories that were once held as scientific fact (such as the earth being flat) that were widely believed as true and were later revised due to more advancement in that field of science. Is it not possible that there are many currently widely accepted scientific theories (possibly even theories against religion) that scientists will one day have to humbly acknowledge as incorrect? Does this not show us that even science is fallible?

Furthermore, even if science were ever to reach a point where it could explain everything in the universe, questions would still remain. Science would not be able to answer questions such as:
Why was the universe created?
What is the meaning of life?
Do we have a soul?
Where does morality come from?
What is evil & why does it exist?

Science can usually explain the “how” and cannot explain the “why.” There are certain questions in life that one is required to leave the realm of science to answer. There is no scientific experiment which can prove the answer to any of these questions.

If one only believes in that which can be scientifically proven, then they have no reason to be upset by actions deemed “immoral” because “morality” has not been scientifically proven. According to science, there is no such thing as evil, a soul, morality, or meaning to life. Coincidentally, the theory of evolution teaches survival of the fittest which gives us no reason to do social justice by helping those who are considered “the lesser fit” of our society (poor, unborn, elderly, etc.). It is extremely hard to consistently live out in day-to-day life the conviction that science is all there is.

Does Science Disprove Christianity?
Trying to use scientific method to disprove Christianity is to use the wrong instruments. In the same way that one cannot measure the weight of a chicken with a metre stick. The reason is that science has its limits. When Atheists use science to disprove religion altogether, they have left the realm of science into the realm of philosophy. It is important to understand that science & philosophy are two very different areas of study. It is quite often hard to base a philosophical conclusion from scientific evidence.

For the sake of brevity, I will not get into how Christianity answers these questions. Nor do I wish to get into the scientific evidence which has helped to explore the probability of a God. This post is also not focused on getting to the God of Christianity; rather, it is merely to show those who put all their faith in the materialist view that science is subject to error and cannot explain everything in the universe.

God Bless,
Tyson Bradley


2 thoughts on “The Limits of Science

  1. TysonB says:

    Thanks for the read & comment Matt! I am not familiar with the book or argument from Dawkins. My only question to go deeper would be to see if it is actually consistent to have reason for helping the lesser fit in the Atheistic worldview, or does Dawkins need to borrow from another worldview in order to do so.

    Also, I should mention that I believe there is good evidence to support Christianity. I think that Dr. William Lane Craig puts forth some great arguments that do occasionally delve into science for support (however, science ought not be the ultimate decider of truth)

  2. Matt says:

    I agree with 90% of what you’ve said, although “The Selfish Gene” by Richard Dawkins puts forth a great argument and explanation for helping “the lesser fit.” It’s a very good read and worth a look.
    I’ve never heard a compelling argument for or against the existence of God using science. Both sides try to prove their case by showing the vast improbability of the alternative. Every time, it ends up at an abrupt impasse.

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