The Choice: Science or God?
WHATS IN THIS BLOG:
• A pub in Ireland
• Hammered by an evolution website.
• Does it have to be a choice?
I AM A SCIENTIST and I have spent my career doing R&D on a variety of topics: from cosmic rays to fracking to coalbed methane to shale-gas-oil. Also, I believe in God. For this, I have been laughed at once (in Australia many years ago). But never in the USA…….until now.
BILL WIBKER AND I TOURED IRELAND MANY YEARS AGO. We especially wanted to visit the Ring of Kerry, perhaps the most popular tourist spot in Ireland. After we disembarked the ferry from Wales, we walked into a pub and it was exactly as I had envisaged. The Irish music I wanted to hear was playing. The pub was packed and full of gaeity: It must have been happy-hour. I ordered a Guinness, but it was too strong for me (and for Bill). A friendly fellow, called Liam and about 45, suggested adding blackberry liqueur, and I was sold. He told me later this was regarded as a woman’s drink in Ireland!
Liam was chatty, and soon discovered I was a scientist. He also quizzed me about my belief.
“I’ve never met a scientist who believed in God,” he said incredulously.
“We have lots of them in the USA,” I replied.
With a deep frown, he asked me why. How could I still believe in God?
It was a respectful conversation…….but Liam kept shaking his head……he just couldn’t believe it.
FAST FORWARD TO 2016, JUST A FEW WEEKS AGO IN AUSTRALIA. A close friend called Bob contracted thyroid cancer and it was malignant according to a twin-needle biopsy. They rushed to prep for the surgery only two weeks away. The surgeon took out a tumor the size of a mandarin. It was examined by several specialists, and pronounced benign!
Bob told me of perhaps hundreds of Christians who were praying for success in his operation, from a close-knit country church group at Booleroo Whim to mission-supported work in Thailand. He was forced to conclude it was a miracle……that God had intervened somehow. I had to agree, since to me a scientist, it seemed the simplest explanation of the data.
Meanwhile I came across a website called EvolutionIsTrue, out of Chicago. The website strives to be very strong on science, not just evolution. The author expounded a recent blog that there were no such things as miracles in the natural order, because they couldn’t be proved by science.
I DECIDED TO ADD A COMMENT ABOUT BOB’S MIRACLE, and Bob’s (and my) interpretation of the data in terms of an intervention by God. Well this opened a Pandora’s box of criticism, and I got hammered. My physics degree got hammered, my reputation as a scientist got hammered, and my belief in God got hammered……by individual responses to my first and subsequent comments……
• They tried to argue that a poor biopsy evaluation fell within normal statistics, which cannot be true for otherwise we’d have no trust in biopsies at all.
• Also, they said it couldn’t be proven to be of God because God didn’t exist.
• They asked me to prove that God exists.
• Then they said if this was a miracle from God then God was a monster (because he didn’t heal all cancer patients; only some of them).
• I told them I didn’t disrespect them because they didn’t believe in God, so why did they disrespect me because I did believe in God?
• Lastly, they asked me to get off the site because I was dominating the blog-thread.
Although I made sure I was respectful in all my comments, I was disappointed in the personal attacks by some of the other side, which were mostly about my believing in God. I felt angry and sad at these attacks…. first in over 40 years of living in the USA.
DOES IT HAVE TO BE A CHOICE? A new book is out called Let there be Science, which I haven’t read, but the book appears to be a refreshing look at the link between Science and God. The lead author, David Hutchings, is a high-energy high-school physics teacher, and he obviously doesn’t see any conflict between science and God. (I used to teach high-school physics).
THE MESSAGE OF THE BOOK:
• You don’t have to choose between Science and Christianity.
• The idea of having to ‘pick a side’ is totally unsupported by the evidence. Christianity and Science have walked hand in hand for centuries…. A deep interconnectedness of the biblical worldview and scientific progression.
• Time and again, Christians appear right at the forefront of scientific revolutions – frequently attributing their insights to their faith.
• The practice and priorities of the Christian life link clearly to the attitudes and habits which produce good science. After all, what better preparation could there be for tearing up the science rulebook and starting all over again than having done that already with your whole life?
POST-SCRIPT: I thank God for a lifetime of opportunities as a scientist. At this particular juncture of my life, I and my family are immersed in one of the biggest multi-dimensional storms of life that I have ever encountered, and I truly do not know how we would deal with this without our faith. I’m not embarrassed to say I am clinging moment-by-moment to the comfort and peace and hope that comes from God, and from all our praying friends.
The Gray Nomad
Probing the practices of Christian faith
Are we using science in ways that it wasn’t intended to, in which case we should be a little careful, or are we using faith in ways that faith wasn’t really designed for? There are certain questions that are better answered by one approach than the other, and if you start mixing that up, then you end up in …..conflict. (Francis Collins).