Gospel For Life

Training and building disciples for Christ

Paganism tries to make...

I. Uncovering the agenda of pseudo-science.

 

A. Pseudo-science presupposes that the material world is the sum

total of reality.

1. Another word for pseudo-science is naturalism. “Pseudo” is an

apt title because naturalism does not base its conclusions upon

the scientific method. Materialism or naturalism cannot be

verified by empirical science. Naturalism is a philosophical belief

about the nature of reality.

2. Naturalism operates upon the premise that God (if He exists),

cannot be known, or He is irrelevant or absent. Any mention of

God is seen as an “addition” to science that clouds objectivity.

(By contrast, the founders of modern science dealt with God “in

relation” to science, not in addition to science.)[1]

3. Along with acting as if God is irrelevant, naturalism assumes an

intellectual elitism or “disciplinism.” This intellectual bigotry

falsely asserts that “science” operates independent other

disciplines. (Its literature is replete with anti-theistic language.

“The universe was not designed, the universe has no purpose,

the universe was formed by mindless, purposeless processes.”[2]

B. For the naturalist (materialist, pseudo-scientist), the universe is

analogous to a box:

1. Everything that exists is inside the box. The natural order is caused by (or explicable by) things that exist in the box.

2. Nothing, including God, is outside the box. THEREFORE, nothing outside the box (the box we call the universe or natural order) can have any causal effect on the box. The natural order is a closed system. Determinism is therefore true.[3]

3. The “box” view of the universe is a philosophy concerning the nature of reality. The propositions of the materialist-naturalist are as follows:

a.) Only nature exists.

b.) Nature has always existed (it is self-existent).

c.) Nature is characterized by total uniformity. Regularity

(uniformity) precludes the possibility of a supernatural event.

d.) Nature is a deterministic system, “free will” is not compatible

with naturalism.

e.) Nature is a materialistic system. Everything real is explicable

as a material entity.

f.) Nature is a self-explanatory system. All that happens may be

explained in terms of other elements of natural order. (It is

not necessary to seek an explanation beyond the natural

order.)

(When contrasting theism to naturalism’s box analogy, we assert that God exists outside the box. God created box. God acts causally within the box.)[4]

C. The driving force behind naturalism (pseudo-science) is an agenda

that demands materialistic conclusions from its “research.”

1. Evidence that the conclusions of naturalism are “rigged” come

from the pseudo-scientists themselves!

2. After reviewing Carl Sagan’s book, Demon Haunted World,

Harvard geneticist Richard Lewontin declared, “It’s not that the

methods and findings of science compel us to accept a

materialistic explanation of the phenomenal world, on the

contrary, we are forced by our a priori adherence to material

sources to create an apparatus of investigation and set of

concepts no matter how marvelous that produce materialistic

explanations. Materialism is absolute. We cannot allow a

divine foot in the door.”[5]

D. The goal of materialism is clear. It is nothing short of a complete

interpretation of the universe.

 

1. Pseudo-science regards the whole phenomenal world to be its territory. That includes mental, physical, and human behavior. The scientific method is regarded as the SOLE gateway to the whole region of knowledge.[6]

2. Philosophers Comte and Pearson assume that facts and classifications of facts (categories) can be empirically discovered. Materialistic “science” offers itself as an absolute authority in matters of knowledge. Naturalism suggests that we have no right to believe anything (including morals) unless they are principles discovered “through a microscope.”[7]

3. Within the philosophy of modern science is the supreme goal of uniting all knowledge within a single all embracing system. Pseudo-science boasts that it possesses a single all-sufficient principle of interpretation. By that principle, it purports to provide the meaning of all reality while denying the living God of Scripture (this evinces an apostasy that rejects God’s role in providing the principle of interpretation by His plan.)[8]

4. Pseudo-science is a philosophy that is not committed to science, but to evolution as its universal. Michael Shermer, leading spokesman for naturalism, admits to its religious structure: “Scientism is a scientific world view that encompasses natural explanations for all phenomena, eschews supernatural and paranormal speculations, and embraces empiricism and reason as the twin pillars of a philosophy of life appropriate for an age of Science. . . cosmology and evolutionary theory ask the ultimate origin questions that have traditionally been the province of religion and theology. We follow the dictates of our shamans who command our veneration . . . with scientism as the foundational stratum of our story and scientists as the premier mythmakers of our time.” [9]

 

II. The presuppositions of naturalism drive its methods and

conclusions.

 

A. Though it claims objectivity, naturalism is a slave to anti-God

presuppositions.

1. Man cannot be the source of unity in human experience. God alone has unity of knowledge. Only God can give unity to knowledge and to human experience.[ [10]

2. When mankind apostatized from God in the Fall, it formed a cleavage between man’s experience and truth and reality. This division between experience and truth is evident in naturalism. (In the present state of being “cut loose” from unity, openly anti-theistic men must presuppose a theistic view of reality in order to conduct experiments and make logical inferences.)[11]

3. With the entrance of sin, man cut his study of himself loose from God. He also cut his study of nature loose from himself (man as the image of God). For this reason, all the study of nature since the fall has been false. As far as an ultimate point of view is concerned, the unbeliever has been in error in his interpretation of the physical world, for it cannot be known apart from God.[[12]

4. The premises of naturalism (“nature is all there is and all there will ever be”) cannot be tested empirically. The ultimacy of matter (materialism) is a philosophy and a world view. Carl Sagan (the self-appointed televangelist of naturalism) often alluded to the fact that naturalism was a world view. He remarks, “Our ancestors worshipped the sun and they were far from foolish.” The Christian apologist must challenge the assumption that science by definition means naturalistic philosophy.[13]

 

B. Modern science claims “total objectivity,” but it defines that

“objectivity” according to its presupposition of materialism.

1. Modern science insists that it works with “facts” (uninterpreted

bits of irrationality scattered by chance). Strict materialism

demands that these “facts” are irrational and undetermined by

anything outside of the universe (thus no divine providence).[[14]

2. In order for modern science to wear its mantle of “unrestricted

research,” it must cling to a view of the universe that regards

contingency as a universal (the ultimacy of chance). There must

be no determining character to determine any determinate

trait.[[15]

3. It is the essence of modern to assume that facts are non-

revelational of God. The unbelieving scientist is breaking God’s

covenant when he says that he is just objectively following where

the facts lead him (“I’m just using the scientific method”). An

example helps illustrate apostasy of the scientist: Suppose a

researcher decided to dig up a large section of ground on the

White House lawn and then not only acts greatly surprised when

The guard taps him on the shoulder asking for his permit, but also

insists on his right to so what he is doing without any permit at

all. (This is God’s universe, all facts are God’s facts. Man is

under covenant obligation to God to interpret the phenomenal

world as such.)[16]

C. The laboratory is not a philosophy-free zone.

1. The procedures associated with empiricism are inseparable from philosophy-laden world views and techniques.

2. Empirical methods rely upon philosophical and theological underpinnings. It is a misnomer to for the scientist to assert that he performing “theory-independent” observation.

3. Analysis and conclusions are only possible if one operates upon premises. Without the underpinnings of philosophy and theology, empiricality and objectivity fall down on both sides.[[17]

4. In order to hold up objectivity and empiricality, scientists must provide a philosophical “container” for their facts. It could be illustrated by the way that we form a bowl in our mashed potatoes to hold the gravy. For the scientist, the bowl that holds his facts consists of the philosophical, metaphysical, theological underpinnings.[[18]

5. The most basic presuppositions necessary in order to “do science” are as follows. The scientist has to presuppose the reality of the universe, the uniformity of nature, the reality and rationality of his mind, the compatibility between the physical universe and abstract thought (otherwise there could be no true meaning – he could not make his knowledge coherent to other minds). [19] These presuppositions drawn from theism are necessary for rationality. But the modern scientist adds two “inviolate” hypotheses of his own that are anti-theistic:

a.) Facts are not created.

b.) There is no determination outside the universe.

D. The driving force behind pseudo-science is materialism. The

presupposition of materialism totally conditions the method and

conclusions of materialism. Presupposition, method and

conclusion are inseparable.

1. “Scientism” repudiates anything that cannot be reduced to the

physical/material and studied by the scientific method.

Chemical evolutionist Richard Dickerson comments, “Science,

fundamentally, is a game. It is a game with one overriding and

fundamental rule. . . Let us see how far. . . we can explain the

behavior of the physical and material universe in terms of

purely physical and material causes, without invoking the

supernatural.”[20]

2. As Harvard geneticist Richard Lewontin admitted, the a priori

adherence to material causes creates a method of investigation

and set of concepts that produces material explanations.

a.) Having presupposed that the world was governed solely by

uniformly operating laws, Darwin philosophically “rigged”

his argument for evolution. If one accepts philosophical

naturalism, then mechanistic determinism (evolution)

“must” be true regardless of the facts.[21]

b.) Operating upon the presupposition of naturalism, Darwin

had already “stacked the deck” in favor of a naturalistic

account of life, before he uncovered any convincing facts.

As British biologist Richard Dawkins put it, Darwin “made

it possible to be a an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”[[22]

(The evolutionary naturalism of pseudo-science is the

pagan’s “universal” by which he interprets all facts.)

E. Unbelieving scientists speculate, then dictate their concept of the

nature of reality. (They posit a mindless first cause.)

1. The unbelieving scientist sets out without God in search of the

highest philosophical concept in terms of which he can

interpret reality.[23]

2. Francis H. C. Crick who discovered the DNA molecule has

said, “The ultimate aim of the modern movement in biology is,

in fact, to explain all biology in terms of physics and

chemistry.” Crick made this remark in the context of biology’s

insurmountable problem; namely how does one explain how

worlds of information got into DNA molecules? Recognizing

the immensity of the problem, Crick then postulated that DNA

codes in bacteria were transmitted to our planet in a missile

from some other part of space.[24]

III. The limitations of science severely restrict its ability to

interpret reality.

 

A. Modern science touts its fidelity to objectivity, but fails to consider

the severe limits on science. (The aims, methodologies, and

presuppositions of science cannot be validated by science. The

effort to validate science is a philosophical issue. One cannot

turn to science to justify science.)[25]

B. There are “bare minimum” assumptions that science must make

in order for its work to be viewed along rational realist lines.

These assumptions include:

1. The human senses are reliable and capable of giving accurate

information about a “mind-independent” physical world (and

not merely information about successive sense impressions).[26]

2. Science must assume some uniformity of nature in order to

justify induction. (Uniformity is critical when researchers

assume that they can legitimately infer from past cases to

unexamined future cases. But the justification of induction is

a philosophical issue.)[27]

3. Science assumes both uniformity and the existence of

universals in order to justify inductive inferences from the

examined members of a class. (These assumptions are

necessary in order to extend their findings to all the members

of a class, past and future. But these assumptions themselves

cannot be justified inductively.[28]

 

3. Science assumes that the laws of logic are true.

4. Science assumes that numbers exist (i.e., is the “two-ness” of an oxygen molecule just as much a constituent as its other chemical properties?).

5. Science assumes that language has meaning (i.e., scientific theories are examples of language and are therefore involved in issues of semantics).

6. Science assumes that truth exists and that it involves some sort of correspondence between theories and the world.

7. Science assumes certain moral, epistemic, and methodological values in its practices. (Truth-telling and honest reporting in experiments are regarded as moral virtues.)[29]

(These assumptions are necessary to ground science as a

rational discipline. But these assumptions are philosophical in

nature or “brute givens" which cannot themselves be verified by

science.)[30]

 

C. The limitations of science point to the fact that only Christianity

is the source of a rational world view. The limitations of science

include the following:

1. Science deals only with the physical universe. (Knowledge

related to universals is not the domain of science. Examples

include: morals, the laws of logic, the preconditions of

knowledge, the immaterial world and world view. See

Colossians 1:16, 17 and Psalm 145:3).

2. Science cannot prove a universal negative. (It is absurd

when modern science attempts to make a blanket statement of

denial about the anti-supernatural nature of reality. An

example of a universal negative would be: “There is no such

thing as hell, as an angel, as a devil, as an eternal human

soul, as a person Creator.)

3. Science is unable to make objective moral judgments.

(Man cannot be the source of absolute ethics. Proponents of

social Darwinism have shown a preference for the wholesale

rejection of moral absolutes that flow from the immutability

and holiness of God.)

4. Science cannot produce final answers to ultimate

questions. Science cannot supply the absolute universals by

which facts are to be interpreted. God alone reveals ultimate

absolute truth by which facts are given meaning. (99% plus of

all of the phenomena in the universe are and have been beyond

human observation. It is a hopeless task for man to

autonomously attempt to gain the unity of all knowledge.)

5. Scientific work is fallible and prone to error. The vast

majority of scientific theories have changed in the last one

hundred years. Most have been altered, replaced, or discarded.

6. Science is bound by certain God-ordained restrictions.

The mind of man is ontologically different from the mind of

God. Man’s ability to interpret the universe correctly is totally

dependent upon God’s revelation. (e.g., Does the Grand

Canyon contain the story of the evolution of life on earth or the

record of a catastrophic deluge?)

7. All scientists (people) are prejudiced by their commitment

to foundational assumptions about the nature of reality

and the nature of knowledge(The natural man operates

upon prior assumptions and presuppositions. See Romans

1:18-32 and Jeremiah 17:9.)

 

IV. Modern science is a woefully inadequate reference point. It

cannot explain the nature of ultimate reality.

 

A. To stress the limits of science is not “anti-science,” -- the

Emphasis upon limits is simply to show that science is by

definition limited in its valid sphere of reference.[31]

 

B. Great thinkers have warned over the centuries that a departure

 

from God denudes man of meaning and results in the death of

certainty. No matter how much learning and research is

interspersed, the denial of God and the death of meaning cannot

be separated.[32]

 

1. When man asserts a materialistic view of reality, he can give no

concrete reason why humans have more value than the aquatic

life in a pond.[33]

2. By linking together undirected, purposeless variation and blind

impersonal processes, Darwin made the spiritual explanation of

life superfluous.[[34]

C. The Creator-creature distinction is the starting point for all

knowledge.[35]

 

1. A transcendent God requires a transcendent method. (When

man pursues absolute universal knowledge, he is totally

dependent upon the mind of God.)

2. God is transcendent. He is not a part of the universe.

Therefore it is hypocritical for unbelievers to suggest that if He

existed, He could be found directly by empirical methods of

investigation. (Even within the universe, scientists assert the

existence of many things that are not directly observable but

are only “known” by their effects. Examples are: black holes,

the laws of friction, magnetic fields, etc.)[36]

3. One cannot prove the existence of God in the same way that one

proves the car is in the garage. The transcendent God of the

universe must be presupposed. For no method or equipment

can be used to “go out front of God” in order to find Him. He

gives all the light to all created facts. God cannot be “found” by

evaluating facts from a supposedly neutral vantage point. To

attempt to do so would be like standing at the base of Mt.

Everest and trying to illuminate the summit with a penlight

flashlight. The equipment is totally inadequate.[37]

D. The laws of logic, an ordered universe, and vast information all

presuppose an all-powerful God.

 

1. Theism alone gives coherence to human experience; theism

alone unites truth, experience and reality.

2. Information is not inherent in matter. (When musing upon the

origin of life by chance processes, the famous astronomer Sir

Fred Hoyle likened that probability to a row of blind individuals

10 to the 50th power in length (10 followed by 50 zeroes), all

finding the solution to the Rubik’s cube at the same instant.[38]

3. Scientists are faced with countless mysteries in the physical

world that they cannot explain. (Scientists are baffled by a host

of behaviors in the animal world. They are unable to explain

the source of engineering skills in spiders and the location of

navigational organs in migrating birds.[39]

4. While the natural man remains an unbeliever, he cannot rise

above his vain approach to reasoning. Without presupposing

the God of Scripture, the unbeliever will continue his attempt to

make facts intelligible by relating them solely to other facts.

The task of the apologist is to call upon the unbeliever to

confess his intellectual ruin.[40]

 

 

 

 

Endnotes:

[1] Michael Bauman Ed. Et al, Michael Bauman, “Between Jerusalem and the Laboratory: A Theologian looks at Science” Evangelical Apologetics, (Camp Hill: Christian Publishing Inc., 1996), p. 199.

[2] Ibid., p. 200-201.

[3] Ronald B. Nash, World Views in Conflict, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing, 1992), pp. 117-118.

[4] Ibid., pp. 118-121.

[5] John Blanchard, Does God Believe in Atheists? (Darlington: Evangelical Press, 2000), p. 427.

[6] Gordon H. Clark, A Christian View of Men and Things, (Jefferson: The Trinity Foundation, 1952), 201-202.

[7] Ibid., 202.

[8] Robert L. Reymond, The Justification of Knowledge, (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 1976), p. 87.

[9] Henry M. Morris, “What are they afraid of?” in Back to Genesis, p. b, c, vol. 31, no. 12 Acts and Facts (December 2002).

[10] Brian Schwertley, Secular Humanism, ed. by Stephen Pribble, (http://www.reformed.com/pub/secular.htm), pp. 4-7.

[11] Ibid., p. 7.

[12] Greg L. Bahnsen, Van Til’s Apologetic, (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 1998), p. 296.

[13] Charles Colson, How Now Shall we Live? (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, 1999), pp. 52-55.

[14] Robert Reymond, The Justification of Knowledge, p. 88.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Greg L. Bahnsen, Van Til’s Apologetic, pp. 680-681.

[17] Michael Bauman, Evangelical Apologetics, pp. 197-198.

[18] Ibid., p. 198.

[19] Robert Reymond, The Justification of Knowledge, p. 88.

[20] John Blanchard, Does God Believe in Atheists?, pp. 427-428.

[21] Charles Colson, How Now Shall we Live?, pp. 95-96.

[22] Ibid., pp. 94-95.

[23] Bahnsen, Van Til’s Apogetic, p. 506.

[24] Ravi Zacharias, A Shattered Visage, (Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, 1990), p. 39.

[25] J. P. Moreland, Scaling the Secular City, A Defense of Christianity, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1987), p. 197.

[26] Ibid., p. 198.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Ibid., p. 199.

[31] John Blanchard, Does God Believe in Atheists?, p. 436.

[32] Ravi Zacharias, A Shattered Visage, p. 80.

[33] Brian Schwertley, Secular Humanism, p. 2.

[34] Charles Colson, How Now Shall We Live?, p. 82.

[35] Bahnsen, Van Til’s Apologetic, p. 557.

[36] Brian Schwertley, Secular Humanism, p. 3.

[37] John Blanchard, p. 428.

[38] Charles Colson, How Now Shall We Live?, p. 74.

[39] Werner Gitt, In the Beginning was Information, (Christliche Literatur-Verbreitung, 1997), pp. 12-14, 241-246.

[40] Bahnsen, Van Til’s Apologetic, p. 701.