Is there a war between science and the Christian faith? What percentage of scientists believe in God, and how do they approach issues related to faith and belief? Are miracles violations of natural laws that all scientists should reject? White Horse Inn producer Shane Rosenthal discusses these questions and more with MIT professor Ian Hutchinson, author of Can a Scientist Believe in Miracles?
“I’m talking mostly about the relationship between science and the Christian faith. I naturally get a lot of questions about faith. I think faith is a much misunderstood concept today. Many people speak as if they endorse the definition of faith that was put forward by Mark Twain: Faith is believing what you know ain’t so. And so, skeptics often contrast that view of faith as unsupported belief in unlikely propositions with evidence-based belief or critical thinking. Like isn’t blind faith the problem and critical thinking the solution? But actually, Christianity is not based upon that caricature of a kind of believism. The word faith has really three main strands of meaning. It means belief in propositions but it also refers to confidence or trust in a person or thing.”Ian Hutchinson
TERM TO LEARN
“Science & the Laws of Nature”
Science cannot exist without the assumptions of a stable creation, with meaning, purpose, or the laws of nature to govern it. Without the assumptions brought about by Christianity, modern science would have no footing whatsoever. If nature were inherently self-serving and motivated merely by survival rather than to the giving of life, the stability of natural laws would be unknowable. Nature itself would be a moving deception. We would not have the ability to even perceive such a reality if it existed.
“Science is based on the assumption that the universe is thoroughly rational and logical at all levels,” writes Paul Davies. “Atheists claim that the laws [of nature] exist reasonlessly and that the universe is ultimately absurd. As a scientist, I find this hard to accept. There must be an unchanging rational ground in which the logical, orderly nature of the universe is rooted” (Russell Stannard, God for the 21st Century [Templeton Foundation Press, 2000], 12). Many scientists today see this rationality—which many people want to discount as superstition. The evidence points to something of an infinite creator and to a belief in him.
Faith in what must be (i.e., God) for the world to exist as it does is actually rational. Science has not found evidence precluding the belief in God, miracles, or the resurrection of Jesus. Such fields are outside the competency of science and its methodology. Faith is not incompatible with the evidence. Everyone has to believe in a hypothesis concerning where the compelling evidence leads them. Such basic beliefs are the building blocks of understanding the laws of nature. The laws of nature, therefore, pose a problem for both atheists and materialists but not for theists.
(Timothy W. Massaro, “5 Reasons Why Science and Faith Are Compatible,” Core Christianity, October 30, 2016)