Scientists and Preachers

John Clayton is a pretty well informed scientist.  And he’s a pretty well informed apologist of the Gospel, as well.  Not a combination you find very often.  I like most of his information on the evidence of a Creator (I disagree with his old earth theory, but that’s another blog), and I really like the way he defines the battle between creationists and evolutionists:

It’s scientists vs. preachers.  Not science vs. the Bible.

Makes perfect sense, right?  Yet, you would be surprised how often people use the terms “science” and “scientists” interchangeably.  (And they also use “the Bible” and “preachers” – or Christians, or some other such term – interchangeably.)

Case in point:  the radio show Science Friday had a piece today titled “If Science Takes a Wrong Turn, Who Rights It?”  The opening line quoted on their website states

Science is often idealized as a self-correcting system. But how often–and how quickly–is bad science set straight? Ira Flatow and guests discuss recent cases of scientific fraud that have led to retractions of journal studies, and whether human study volunteers have been harmed by bogus science.

In order for this to be a proper description of the issue, I believe they need to switch out the word “science” with “scientists.”  There are, in fact, numerous examples of scientists who have committed fraud, misrepresented their data, intentionally misled others, and published outright lies in order to support their positions.  (Google Andrew Wakefield for recent, stunning example – not only of the fraud pawned off on you, but on the fierce debate it has created in the scientific community).

Lest you think that I believe the “preacher” side of this debate has got it all in the bag, let me share this thought with you.  Patrick Mead, one of the greatest preaching scientists I know, has recently completed a series of blog posts at his Tentpegs blog on God’s knowledge of the future (if there is a future – you’ll have to read his blogs to understand that).  He wrapped up the series with this quote.

… remember that we are saved by our faith in Jesus, by grace, and not by having our doctrine correct in every detail.

We are woefully inadequate to understand every detail of the Scripture that Our Creator has shared with us.  And we should be careful not to be so arrogant that we think we’ve got all the answers.  But, at the same time, if and when you get into a discussion with a scientist over the validity of the Scripture, don’t be intimidated by the idea that they’ve got science on their side and “all you have” is faith.  You can have both.  And both can be corrupted and abused.

Science and Scripture are not at odds with each other.  Our collective understanding of each, however, is subject to some serious second-guessing.  Pray for understanding and wisdom.

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About Joe

Writing on the things I'm passionate about: my family, my faith, and my work. View all posts by Joe

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