Don’t Believe Everything You Think


Recently, Bill Nye and Ken Ham debated whether Biblical creationism is a viable scientific theory. Though I fully agree with Nye that it is not, I thought the arguments he presented were pretty unremarkable, until the moderator asked both debaters the question, “What, if anything, would ever change your mind?”[1] Their radically different answers revealed this debate as a manifestation of the age-old conflict between science and faith. This conflict has gone unresolved for thousands of years, and at its core it is a conflict between epistemological systems, ways of answering the question, “How do we know anything?”

Science and faith are so often pitted against each other because they exist for the same reason: human brains are not made for discerning truth. Though they are reliable most of the time, there is no denying that our minds are prone to unfounded biases and fallacious reasoning, and even our own senses can deceive us. Yet, all any of us can rely on is our fallible sensory experiences, which is problematic for trying to discover absolute truth. When presented with a proposition, there is no way for anyone to determine whether the proposition corresponds with reality because we have no access to reality itself, only to our perceptions of it.[2] To be clear, absolute truth exists, but there also exists an impenetrable barrier between our subjective experiences and the objective reality that creates them. Both science and faith attempt to reach past this barrier and give us grounds to make declarations about the reality despite the limited nature of our own minds, but they do this by different methods and with different results.
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The Question, The Answer


The Question:

It was two hours before the biology final and there was nowhere to cram.

Mara stood outside Pimentel, her arms cradled around several textbooks. She had left the bible study early, thinking that she could cram before the exam. Each of the benches was, however, crowded with students. As Mara looked around for an open spot, several pieces of trash blew past her. Forcing a smile, she shifted her books to one arm and opened the door. It was almost pitch black outside anyways, Mara thought as she went inside. It was probably better to study inside.
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Scope of Scientific Inquiry


This is a short treatise on the preliminary considerations of the nature and limits of scientific knowledge. As such, most of this paper will be concerned with what we are capable of deriving by the means of scientific inquiry. However, this paper will also consider some of the criticisms made by science on Christianity and suggest some possible solutions.

Although there can be numerous and complicated disagreements about complete and precise nature of science, certain things about science can be said without much controversy. The first and perhaps the most fundamental of these is the aim or the purpose of science: to obtain something that which is true of reality. However, such an aim does not belong to science alone. This aim of inquiring into the truth of reality is also shared by philosophy and religion. But it would be certainly untrue to say all three are identical; philosophy is not religion, neither is religion a science. There are clear distinctions between all three ways (if you will) of inquiring into the truth of reality, and seeing these distinctions will allow us to better grasp what qualifies a particular kind of knowledge as scientific knowledge. And the qualifications of scientific knowledge will aid us in seeing to what extent science is capable of speaking what is true about the reality, and in turn, concerning what is true about religion.

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The Limitations of Science, and the Necessity of Faith


 Before anyone jumps to conclusions that I am an ignorant idiot who knows nothing of science, let me attempt to establish my ethos. I was born to scientists and had been trained in the sciences from my youth. My father has a Mechanical Engineering PhD from Yonsei, and my mother a Chemistry PhD from KAIST. I had the scientific method drilled into me by the third grade, was programming by the fourth, was running experiments with ethanol candles by the seventh, and was working at the Fagan Lab in the University of Maryland by the eleventh. All this to say, I consider science an important part of my identity, and I do not demean the discipline lightly.

That said, we will examine four of science’s limitations. This is not meant to be a definitive list, nor is it meant to be a rigorous treatment of science and philosophy. Indeed, there will be overlaps within these categories, but I believe they will be helpful in dismantling the lie that science is the answer to everything. The first is that science cannot prove the existence of anything. The second is that science cannot teach everything. The third is that science can only test repeatable phenomena. Finally the fourth is that science cannot answer philosophical questions.

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The Fisherman and The Scientist


Science must have really annoyed Jesus.

I don’t say this to justify Christian skepticism of today’s scientific advances.

I just say it because, really, it’s a funny thought.

Think about it. If you had the capacity to do things like, oh, I don’t know, multiply food, change water to alcohol, summon fish from the sea for your tax money… Why wouldn’t you hate science for its intrinsic boundaries on the human race?

In the same way am I led to envision a “Kendrick Lamar-ified” Jesus walking on water, healing the blind, and resurrecting from the dead to the helpless objections of His dumbfounded haters, simply smirking in the middle of it all, rapping, “Science, don’t kill my vibe…” When part of His mission on this earth was to reflect the glory of His unseen Father in Heaven whose power transcends all understanding and reason, it would only make sense that He would defy human reason or the laws of nature every once in a while.
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Fides Quaerens Intellectum

I do not understand you, Fides.

What is it that you do not understand, Conscientia?

You are The Faith and I am Knowledge. Are we not fundamentally incompatible?

Why is that?

I am acquired through rigorous testing and must be proven. But you do not have such a foundation. If anything, you are arbitrary. We are opposites.

But how can that be if we are both of the same rational human mind? Yes, I am The Faith but that does not mean I am not reasonable.

Are we not in a state of war? I seek to find the truth. But you are satisfied with blindness. You ‘just believe’ without any solid reason.
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Unexpected Miracles


I’ve attended church my whole life, even as a single cell. From birth I’ve heard about miracles: God creating the world, Moses parting the Red Sea, and Jesus turning water into wine, just to name a few. But I have always longed to see a “real” miracle with my own eyes. However, miracles do not occur so people can ooh and aah over them. They have a greater purpose, displaying God’s provision and power.

Miracles allow God to bless His children by providing for their needs. Paul assured the Philippians that “my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.[1]” Oftentimes He provides in ways that can only be attributed to divine intervention. The Israelites survived forty years in the wilderness because God sent them quail and manna. Daniel survived the lion’s den because God sealed the lions’ mouths. Jonah survived the belly of the fish because God caused the fish to vomit him out.
Yet sometimes God’s provisions seem rather commonplace. Before college, I did not have any Christian friends I lived alongside, nor did I expect to, as there were very few Christians at my high school. My third day in Berkeley, I discovered that my next-door neighbor shared my faith. God knew I would need Christian friends as I entered a period of independence, so He provided one for me.
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