Is Science The Only Source Of Truth?

Is Science The Only Source of Truth?

Here is the claim – one I am sure that many have heard: Science is the only source of reliable truth. This is a view called scientism. It is no secret that the culture in which we find ourselves, is consistently promoting this idea. Many in the “scientific” crowd, are becoming extremely hostile to fields like philosophy, and even more so with theology. But is it true that science is the only source of truth?

The short answer is: no. Science is not the only source of truth. The challenge when talking with someone who believes this, is knowing how to show the error of this assertion. I hope to provide some insight with this post.

  1. The idea is self-defeating

It may not be immediately obvious, but there is an inherent contradiction in the idea that science is the only source of truth. The contradiction is this: It cannot be proven scientifically that science is the only source of truth. What experiment could a person perform, to prove that science is the only source of truth? None, of course, and that’s the problem. In reality, the view that science is the only source of truth is a philosophical viewpoint, not a scientific one. It would therefore be the case that there is at least one other source of truth, namely philosophy.

  1. Science depends on other sources of truth in order to operate

Science, as a broad discipline, is dependent on the existence of other sources of truth that must exist in order for science to work the way it does. What are they?

  1. Mathematics

In order to do science, it is necessary for mathematics to exist. It is also necessary that the physical world be consistently explainable in mathematical terms. If mathematics did not work the same way, all throughout time, across the whole universe, then science would be impossible. How could scientific calculations be made if math doesn’t work? Science is dependent on mathematics, which means it is not the only source of truth.

  1. Laws of Logic

We often take for granted things like logic, simply because we use it every day. However, if the laws of logic did not exist as the immaterial realities that they are, then science, and life for that matter would simply be impossible. For example, one of the most fundamental laws of logic is the law of non-contradiction. Simply stated, it says that A cannot equal non-A, at the same time in the same way. It is such an obvious and foundational concept that it cannot be denied. In fact one medieval Islamic philosopher stated, in true Islamic fashion that: “Anyone who denies the law of non-contradiction should be beaten and burned, until they agree that to be beaten and burned is not the same as to not be beaten and burned.” A little much, but I think the point is obvious. How does this apply to science? Well just think how effective scientific experimentation would be if the results one gets, could also mean the exact opposite as well! Science is dependent on logic as well, which means it is not the only source of truth.

  1. Morality

Once again, there is an underlying assumption when it comes to doing science. Those who believe science is the only source of truth, assume that it is a morally good thing to report scientific data accurately. However those same people almost universally believe that there is no such thing as objective morality! Just as a refresher, if objective morality does not exist, then there is really nothing that is good or evil for everyone. There is simply just good or evil “for you.” In order for science to function properly, objective morality must exist. Otherwise there would be absolutely nothing to compel a scientist to report his findings honestly. They could simply lie about their findings, or change their numbers to get whatever results they want, and we would have no right to complain. Because for them, it would be perfectly fine to do that. See the problem? Science is dependent on objective morality, which means it is not the only source of truth.

This last one is a great example of how morality is connected to almost everything. Once we truly observe how utterly inescapable the moral law is within our lives, it becomes more and more astonishing that anyone would deny its existence. A moral law however, needs a moral law-giver – also known as God. That would mean that God would also be another source of truth besides science!

In reality, the biggest problem with the view that science is the only source of truth, is the philosophical one. Science is a slave to philosophy. Everyone has the same data, but how that data is interpreted will depend on the philosophy and worldview of the person who interprets it. This is why, as Christian apologist Frank Turek says, “Science doesn’t say anything, scientists do!” A scientist like Richard Dawkins, who assumes evolution has to be true, will be sure to try and fit every piece of data into that theory, and discard any that he doesn’t like.

Scientific advancements may one day tell us how everything in the world works, but knowing how things work won’t remove the necessity for God, any more than knowing exactly how a computer works will disprove the existence of the person who first invented it! Science will always have its limits, and we need to know where those limits are.

Although there are many atheists who want to claim that science is the only game in town, they are thoroughly mistaken in that belief. Science can, and has shown us many things. It is certainly not the enemy of all religion that the media makes it out to be, but it is certainly not the one and only source of truth.

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s