Fact vs. Faith: Part I

A few weeks ago PBS host Bill Nye (you may know him as the science guy) released a web video pleading for parents to stop teaching their children creationism.  Nye argues that ignoring evolution in favor of unfounded creationism is dangerous to the scientific progress of humanity. I find this to be rather interesting. I also disagree with Nye.

After the news broke on this video, I had a discussion about evolution and creationism with a coworker. He supports the “scientific” view that evolution has empirical evidence and creationism doesn’t, so evolution is true and creationism (at least as far as humankind being uniquely created and not evolving from another species) is false. I disagreed with him as well. It seems to me that the argument of science vs. religion, fact vs. faith, or evolution vs. creationism is one of polar opposites. People tend to be all for one or all for the other. To me, either extreme is closed-minded (for a lark, check out this thread on which is correct between close-minded and closed-minded). Two experiences from this weekend have brought this topic back to the top of my pondering list. First was watching the recent movie Thor (Branagh, 2011) with my wife; second was attending a Sunday school class with the discussion topic of faith.

In the movie there are two mentions of the idea that a primitive culture may have used the definition of magic for science they did not understand. This made me think about Nye’s argument. Perhaps we simply don’t fully understand the “science” of God. Is this a fair assumption? Whether you believe in God or not, is it possible that he has a greater understanding of the laws that govern the universe and he may be able to use them in ways that we can’t understand? Just something to consider.

During the Sunday school discussion on faith I recalled recent discussions in one of my classes about the scientific method. Faith and science are often seen as opposites, but I don’t think they are at all. The process of developing faith is the scientific method. Scientists employee experimental design to answer questions. First they develop a question or hypothesis. Then they conduct an experiment where they control for certain variables in order to isolate one manipulation. They then observe the results and declare statistical significance one way or the other; either “yes, this variable indicates this,” or “no, this variable can’t conclusively be said to do this.” This is a trusted method because they observe the outcome with their own senses, and the process can be easily replicated for others to experience through their senses.

What then of faith? Come back tomorrow to catch the second part of this posting.

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About paulbrodie

I am a writer and a musician. My education is in psychology with emphasis in industrial/organizational psychology. My work experience has been primarily with electronic document management. Academically and intellectually I am interested in criminology and sociology. I am married to my favorite person in the world and we have one daughter.
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