Science and Faith

Incompatible Processes

By Deacon Wayland Moncrief

Science and Faith

For the religious person there can be no conflict between science and faith. God is the inventor and creator of both science and faith. Man makes advances but these are all discoveries based or principles and laws which God has previously established. Any conflict between science and faith must lie in a misunderstanding of science or a misunderstanding of faith.

Limitations of Science

There are not only basic philosophical difference between those who believe in creation and intelligent design and those who ascribe to the many theories of evolution, but, also, there are significant differences in the admissibility of evidence, methods, and processes. And, these differences prevent any common agreement or conclusions no matter what evidence or logic is under consideration.

First: there are two categories of science. Sciences, such as mathematics and physics are known as exact sciences. This means that a theory can either be proven or not, and the process and results can be repeated and verified. Thus, there is no ambiguity or the possibility of prejudice.

Other sciences, the natural sciences, are concerned with the description, prediction, and understanding of natural phenomena. They are base on empirical evidence from observation and experimentation. Mechanisms such as peer review and repeatability of findings are used to try to ensure the validity of scientific discovery and advances. Though that evidence may be valid, the conclusions are often a matter of conjecture - theories proposed to draw logical, and illogical, conclusions from that evidence. And, actual proof of these observations may be impossible. We can't, for example, observe the transition of the first ape that became a man, or the massive burst of energy that supposedly caused chemical reactions and created life. Even though the physical observations are based on observable facts, speculative conclusions must remain theories despite ardent claims to the contrary.

Limitations of Process

The natural sciences, that deal with the creation of the universe and the origin of life, must by their own discipline exclude the possibility of the supernatural. However, there is ample evidence of the supernatural in creation in the complexity, sophistication, and design of the universe and life. Additionally, there is also a certain humility at work in that supernatural forces are often disguised in natural phenomenon. But, to dismiss the intricate designs found in living organisms: vision, hearing, circulatory systems, digestive systems, and the human memory and brain as an accident of chemistry requires a faith that exceeds scientific realism.

A case in point: in Sacred Scripture when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt to Mount Sinai they came to the Gulf of Arabie, an offshoot of the Red Sea. With the Egyptian army on their heals, the waters parted and they crossed on dry land. An expedition using highly sophisticated sonar and cameras has discovered the probable site of the crossing. Sacred Scripture describes the presence of a strong wind. These scientists have modelled the sea and the terrain and have concluded that a strong wind could have parted the sea, dried the land, and formed a wall of water on one side. However, Scripture describes the event as having walls of water on both sides. Is this merely an oversight in the Scriptural version? Is the parting of the Read Sea simply a natural phenomenon? Or is this an example of supernatural activity?

Another factor to consider is the timing of the event. It occurred as the Egyptian army was pressing in to destroy the Israelites. Then Moses raised his staff and the sea parted. After the Israelites had crossed over, the Egyptian army rushed in. Moses again raised his staff, the pathway closed and the Egyptian forces was drowned. The expedition found artifacts in the sea matching the design of Egyptian chariot wheels. If this was simply a natural occurrence, then the defeat of the Egyptian army was most fortuitous, and the timing of the Israelite's escape was incredible - lucky beyond belief in the opening of the sea and even more so in the defeat of the Egyptians.

Due to their inheritant disciplines, the natural sciences are incapable of evaluating the supernatural. This inquiry, the Exodus Expedition, adds evidence that supports the actual occurance of the event. And it's description in Sacred Scripture, is an possible example of supernatural intent being carried out through natural forces. However, the event itself, affords the sceptic the evidence and opportunity to believe, or not to believe, depending on each person's preconceptions, preferences, and disposition. And that is the point: faith is always a choice

Objectivity of the Observer

To complicate the matter even further, truly objective scientists often disagree. In their examination of the evidence available, many come to acknowledge that the accidental creation of life which resulted in the complexity of human design, is highly improbable. And among these scientists, many conclude that supernatural forces are a distinct possibility, and that unknown or supernatural forces are more realistic than the current theories of accidental creation.

On the other hand, the conclusions of some natural scientists, limited strictly to physical evidence, will never to be able to completely prove their theories regarding the origins of life. Added to this is the bias and rejection of God that colors some investigations. Thus, their personal rejection of God, excludes all evidence of a spiritual and supernatural nature. To acknowledge the possibility of supernatural forces would require a major change of attitude and re-evaluation of all the theories proposed as fact.

Pre-existing material

All evolution models, regarding the creation and development of life, assume the presence of pre-existing materials - the building blocks of life. Current theories claim that these materials were exposed to a great energy which transformed these materials into the DNA of life. And from this accidental DNA all varieties of life emerged.

At a loss to explain the presence of these building blocks of life, current theories avoid explanation claiming that they were created by the universe or were eternally existing. However, other scientific disciplines note that nothing in the universe exists eternally, and that even the stars, planets, and galaxies have life spans - coming into and out of being. It should be obvious that the current theories regarding the creation of life are inadequate and contrary to the conclusions of other scientific disciplines.

While the Church acknowledges that some elements of evolution may not be incompatible with the development of man, it holds fast to the words of Sacred Scripture that man and woman, and all creation, was the act of God. And that God created all things out of nothing.

Outside the Domain

All science operates in its own domain. Within each domain extensions of theories are often valid. It is when a theory is extended beyond its domain that invalid conclusions occur. One of the problems with evolution is that scientists have attempted to extend the theories of evolution to include the creation of life. That is taking the work of evolution beyond its domain. That is where evolutionists are at a loss to explain the preexisting materials necessary for their conclusions and much in the creation of life.

Similarly, while the natural sciences provides useful and important information, those who acknowledge the possibility of the supernatural believe the true domain, the ultimate domain, is the domain of God. In God, all things have their origin, and are held in existence. Any exploration that excludes the work of God will, at its best, be scientifically inadequate.