Participants: Clifford Goldstein
Series Code: CFTF
Program Code: CFTF000004
00:21 Hi, Clifford Goldstein here.
00:23 Welcome to "Contending for the faith."
00:26 This is part of a series
00:27 I'm doing called "Faith in Science"
00:30 and we look at issues in well faith and science.
00:35 How do we as people of faith relate to some of the issues
00:40 that science has raised?
00:42 Now as I said in earlier shows
00:45 that, from most cases there is no problem.
00:47 In fact, I could say for myself
00:50 that science has in many, many ways affirmed my faith.
00:56 Now there are cases, important cases
01:00 in which the latest teachings of science do seem
01:03 to completely contradict even the simplest
01:07 and most broadest reading of the Bible.
01:10 Thus, the question is, how should we even
01:14 as people of faith intelligently respond
01:17 when things like this happen?
01:19 Now I can stuck and I stand up here
01:21 and say that I got the definitive answer,
01:24 I certainly don't.
01:25 But at the same time too,
01:27 I've read in this and study this a lot
01:30 and I like to present some background information
01:34 and just some ideas are looking at this that could help people
01:37 who at times face this conflict make intelligent choices
01:42 when presented with some of these challenges.
01:45 I like to help them do what Apostle Peter said.
01:49 When he said, "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts,
01:53 and be ready always to give an answer to every man
01:57 that asks you a reason of the hope
02:01 that is in you with meekness and fear."
02:05 Now again, as I said, in most cases
02:09 there's really not a problem when with science in faith
02:13 but sometimes there is and science
02:16 and the challenges of science can be very daunting.
02:20 I mean, science is a very powerful form of knowledge.
02:26 It has opened to us vast new vistas of knowledge in reality
02:31 that we never could have known
02:34 without the advent of science, okay.
02:38 But now notice what I just said to you.
02:41 I said science is a powerful form of knowledge.
02:47 But what is knowledge?
02:49 You know, I'm gonna lightly touch on this point
02:52 and perhaps comeback to it in another program.
02:56 But when you use the word knowledge,
02:59 what are you implying?
03:01 What must exist for knowledge to exist?
03:05 Imagine, imagine for a moment,
03:09 imagine that our universe was once the way--
03:13 well, lot of science tell us,
03:16 imagine that we lived in a godless,
03:19 lifeless universe, okay.
03:22 Not only no God, not only no intelligent form at all,
03:27 nothing, no consciousness, just dead walks
03:30 and a lifeless cosmos with no Creator at all.
03:35 This is basically what science tells us
03:38 how our universe started out.
03:40 Now, imagine this kind of a universe.
03:44 In this universe could knowledge exists?
03:50 Think about this for a moment.
03:52 In a godless consciousless universe with nothing existing
03:57 that can think how can there be knowledge?
04:01 Can there be? Of course not.
04:03 Okay, how could, there might be dead rocks,
04:06 there might be space, there might be photons
04:09 and stars and there might be all the stuff but no knowledge.
04:14 Knowledge, the very concept of knowledge
04:18 itself demands consciousness,
04:21 it demands a mind to have that knowledge.
04:24 I mean, knowledge without a mind
04:27 is as impossible as is thought without a mind.
04:31 For knowledge is a form of thought
04:34 and you can't have a thought without a mind.
04:39 Right? Think about it.
04:42 Okay, anyway for knowledge to exist minds need to exist.
04:47 Thus for human knowledge well, we as humans
04:50 when we talk about knowledge
04:51 we're talking about human knowledge.
04:53 For human knowledge to exist human minds,
04:56 our minds have to exist because our knowledge--
05:00 anything we know, anything that we call knowledge
05:03 this exists in our minds.
05:06 And that could include
05:07 well, even our knowledge of science, right.
05:09 Science is a form of knowledge, knowledge needs minds,
05:12 human minds means human science.
05:15 I mean-- means, human science means human minds.
05:20 But I think there is one thing probably everybody,
05:23 I don't think anybody is gonna debate me on this,
05:25 but I think there is one thing we could all agree on
05:29 when it comes to human knowledge,
05:31 knowledge that we have in our brains
05:35 and that is one thing.
05:37 It is only subjective right.
05:40 I mean, it's not subjectivity wired in to us.
05:44 We are exceedingly subjective beings,
05:47 greatly limited and what we can know by
05:49 and almost innumerable number of factors,
05:53 thus anything we know or anything that we think
05:56 we know, anything that fact that may be
05:58 the we are even absolutely positive about,
06:02 I mean, we still know it only through
06:07 the subjective portals and filters of our minds.
06:12 We could be a 100% right
06:15 such as often in the case of formal logic,
06:18 our conclusions must absolutely follow from our premises,
06:22 but still the whole foundation of all human knowledge,
06:27 no matter how correct it might be
06:29 still remains hopelessly encased, expressed
06:34 and understood through a subjective perspective
06:38 that is simply impossible for us,
06:42 any human beings to escape.
06:46 What this means then, is that all our knowledge
06:50 including, including don't forget this
06:53 because we often giving the different idea,
06:55 all our knowledge including our scientific knowledge
07:00 comes with a certain amount of subjectivity
07:04 built right in it and we cannot,
07:07 it's impossible for us to escape it.
07:12 Okay, of course, science and I said science as well,
07:18 which is why sometimes-- you ever wonder
07:20 why science sometimes could be some contradictory.
07:24 I mean, how many times have you heard
07:27 that such and such an idea is backed up the latest science?
07:30 We think well, its science I said before someone says,
07:34 its science that's it.
07:35 Who dare challenge it?
07:37 And that's fine something is backed up
07:39 by the latest science except there is one problem,
07:43 20 years later somebody comes out with science
07:47 something backed up by science that completely can't predict
07:50 what science taught 20 years ago.
07:53 Only problem is-- and then you can come on
07:55 somebody comes along 20 years later
07:58 and says that science is wrong.
08:01 I mean, if this is science
08:04 which has this kind of leach status
08:06 as a superior form of knowledge,
08:09 how come we find such conflicting claims.
08:12 I mean, you know, if when science says
08:15 something to back up isn't that kind of it
08:18 when somebody has well, science backs this up,
08:21 who can argue against science?
08:24 Well, you know the answer is easy.
08:26 You know, who argues against science?
08:29 Science argues against science and a lot of times too.
08:35 Let me give you a recent example,
08:38 the Atlantic Weekly, January 5, 2014 had an article
08:44 about a best selling new book telling us,
08:48 listen to this now, telling us that according to science
08:52 we need as humans, we need to stop
08:56 eating all grains, all grains.
08:59 We are not talking just the refined stuff,
09:02 all grains, whole grains, grains period,
09:05 all the bread, all the grains
09:07 it's because we are told by science of all sorts of--
09:12 of all sorts of aliments and problems and so on.
09:16 You know just gluten intolerance thing.
09:18 Don't eat grains science says, okay.
09:22 Okay, but instead science tells us
09:26 eat high fat diet, lots of meat,
09:30 we need to eat meat, according to science
09:33 you know, because this is hilarious,
09:34 according to science we need to eat the way
09:37 our ancestors ate 100,000 years ago.
09:41 And I thought it was pretty funny
09:43 when I told this to my wife she clipped.
09:45 How did the science know what people
09:47 who didn't even exist eat, okay?
09:50 But that's another matter.
09:51 That's another matter entirely in regards to science.
09:55 But science here tells us that we should eat meat,
09:58 but science also tells us the opposite
10:01 that we shouldn't eat meat.
10:02 There is a whole host of evidence, scientific evidence
10:06 which teaching something radically different than
10:10 what a whole host of scientific evidence teaches as well.
10:14 Okay, a whole host of scientific evidence
10:17 backed up by other science argues
10:21 backed up by science tells us that,
10:26 plant based diet is the best diet.
10:29 Other science says no, no just eat a lot of meat.
10:33 So how could that-- what's going on here?
10:36 We are talking science now.
10:38 So science tells us one thing
10:40 and science tells us the opposite
10:42 and we are not necessarily talking different generations,
10:45 science says one thing and then 50 years later
10:48 science comes along and says something else.
10:50 We are talking about simultaneously,
10:54 we are talking about science and labs using
10:57 what has been called the scientific method
11:00 being supposedly objective, rational, methodical
11:04 and all these things and they come up with opposite
11:08 or in contradictory conclusions.
11:13 How does this happen?
11:15 I mean, this is science, objective rational,
11:19 that's what I want to look at.
11:22 You know, on the last program I did,
11:24 we did call science of knowledge
11:26 and we looked at this fancy term Epistemology.
11:30 It was I said it's the study of not what we know
11:33 but what do we mean when we say we know something.
11:37 We have different ways of coming to knowledge.
11:39 I know that 2 + 2 = 4 differently that I know
11:44 that I have a toothache, okay.
11:48 And we look to at the fact that science is also a--
11:56 science is indeed an epistemology,
11:58 but it's an empiricist of epistemology.
12:03 And what do I mean when I say empiricist of epistemology?
12:08 What does that mean? This is important.
12:12 Let's say I say to you, hey, there is a room over there
12:16 and I say to you there are 10 people in the room.
12:21 You could say all right,
12:22 I'm gonna go over and check, okay.
12:25 And let me go see.
12:26 So that's a perfectly reasonable way
12:29 of checking the fact of getting the truth.
12:32 This is what we mean by empiricism.
12:34 You go to the room, you open the door,
12:36 you look in and you see
12:38 well, there are all 10 people in the room.
12:41 That is what is known as empiricism.
12:45 And when you learn things
12:47 that way you are using an empiricist epistemology.
12:51 Now suppose though I said to you
12:56 if there are 10 people in the room
12:59 then there are three more people in the room
13:02 then there would be
13:03 if there were only seven people in the room,
13:06 okay, and suppose in response to that you said,
13:09 okay, let go in the room and check and see for myself.
13:15 Huh? Why would you say that?
13:18 That would be that would be rather unnecessary
13:21 because here rationality tells you
13:24 that ten is three more than seven,
13:27 so you don't have to go in to the room and check, okay.
13:31 In the first instance when I said
13:33 there are 10 people in the room,
13:35 you go in, you have to go in the room.
13:38 You go in the room and you use your senses
13:40 and you find the answer, you find the truth.
13:44 In the second, you don't need to do that.
13:47 You have your rational thought gives you the answer.
13:50 The first instance is empiricism, okay.
13:55 It's employing your senses to understand the world.
14:00 Now the bottom line is this as I said before,
14:03 science is empiricist epistemology.
14:09 It's when we use our senses to come
14:14 to a knowledge about something.
14:16 And yes, science is at its core
14:19 a very empirical way of coming to knowledge's, knowledge.
14:24 Science use their senses often aided by very sophisticated
14:29 interest instruments to look at nature.
14:32 You know, I don't care from our startle
14:34 used to just look around at that bugs,
14:37 and plants, and creatures and the sea to astronomers
14:41 who use the hobble spacecraft science is empirical.
14:45 It uses sense data to get information from the world
14:50 and then and this is crucial
14:52 and we'll have to come back to this at some point,
14:54 they then have to interpret that data.
14:57 What does it mean and then from that try
15:00 and device technologies or whatever they do from it.
15:04 Now on one level you know this seems
15:08 all pretty clear cut and dry,
15:11 but on another level this is something
15:14 which is flout with all--
15:17 all sorts of problems and questions
15:20 that people have been dealing with for centuries.
15:23 And quite frankly, amazingly enough
15:27 they still haven't come up with any clear cut answers.
15:32 In fact, just as a real quick interesting aside
15:36 for something so fruitful as science,
15:39 for something that work so well as science does
15:42 there is it's amazing how much disparity
15:45 and disagreement exist in regards to science,
15:49 what it is, how it works or what does it even teach us?
15:53 You know, scientists actually
15:55 even disagree or what science is.
15:57 Yes, debate doesn't just exist
15:59 over the nature of scientific conclusions
16:02 or why we conclude what we do or what science does?
16:06 You know, people question even what is science itself.
16:11 It's often called the demarcation problem.
16:15 How do you decide what counts for real science
16:18 as opposed to what they call pseudoscience?
16:21 Now my point in all this is
16:22 I don't want it to digress too far on this,
16:25 is that everything is not as clear cut and dry as we think.
16:29 When we hear the statement
16:31 well, its science we don't have to kowtow
16:35 and bend and bend our knee before
16:38 and subject all our views to it
16:40 because it comes with the name science.
16:43 This is a big myth, this is a very big myth
16:48 and it's precisely these kind of questions
16:50 that I happen wanting to look at in this series
16:54 because I don't think we should allow ourselves
16:56 to be intellectually bullied by anything,
17:00 just because it comes under the imprimatur of science.
17:06 Now any way, the scientific endeavour
17:09 as I said is essentially empirical one.
17:13 We use our senses to try to understand the world.
17:17 Now it's not just that tough, there is more to it as well.
17:24 Have you ever thought for a minute about
17:27 how much math is used in science?
17:32 Well, there is in awful lot of math.
17:34 I remember when I was young,
17:35 I once thought I wanted to be astronomer.
17:38 You know, I just sit there
17:39 and look up at the sky with the telescope
17:41 and philosophies and news about
17:44 what's going on Pluto or Mars or something.
17:47 But have you ever looked in astronomy book today?
17:50 It's almost all math.
17:52 Have you ever looked at a physics book?
17:54 It's almost all math.
17:57 So now this is quite interesting
17:59 because our ever empirical science is at the core.
18:04 You know, it does employ math
18:07 and you can argue that whatever math is
18:10 it's really not empirical.
18:12 I mean, have you ever, I mean what does it do look like?
18:17 Have you ever seen it two,
18:18 just the plain old disembodied two floating out there?
18:23 I mean you know, that two fish not two fingers
18:27 I mean, just a disembodied number two.
18:30 What does it look like? What form?
18:32 What shape does it have?
18:34 And two is easy, what is a negative six?
18:37 I mean does a negative six have
18:39 any kind of existence out there?
18:41 And you know, what are these things even look like?
18:44 Whatever they are they certainly not empirical
18:48 and yet math is kind of
18:50 is a kind of language used to explain
18:53 what supposedly is going on in the real world,
18:57 the empirical world, the world of science.
19:02 Things are just out there
19:03 and we really try to try to understand them
19:06 and we use things like math to describe them
19:09 because that's really all math can do is describe.
19:12 Mathematical equations never explain anything,
19:17 they just describe.
19:19 But anyway even using math science is empirical.
19:23 We use our senses to try to figure out
19:25 what's going on to describe it, to explain it anyway.
19:30 Now how accurate is all these things that we do?
19:34 How well do they work?
19:35 And then you run into another problem too.
19:38 Think of all the social influences
19:42 and forces that impact science.
19:44 Think of all the science that was done funded
19:47 by the tobacco companies on the question about
19:49 whether tobacco was really bad for you.
19:52 No question.
19:54 Science is an empiricist epistemology
19:57 and such it comes with all sorts of problems
20:01 and loop holes and things
20:03 that today have still not been resolved.
20:08 You know, think about it on one level,
20:11 think about it on one level how,
20:16 how deceitful our senses can be.
20:19 You know, we've all ready talked
20:21 about this in other programs
20:23 but let me give you an example for a minute.
20:27 Let's go back to the room with 10 people, okay.
20:32 I said some one says there's 10 people in the room
20:35 you walked in, and you see, and you use your senses,
20:38 and you count whatever, and you count 10 people.
20:42 How could there be any question?
20:44 Can't you be assure of that as you were of the statement
20:48 well, if there 10 people in the room then there is,
20:51 then there is three more people in the room
20:54 then they were of there were just seven people in the room
20:58 can't you be just too certain.
21:00 Isn't in this case an empiricist epistemology
21:04 working just as well as rationalism?
21:08 Well, suppose you are in the room
21:12 and you count 10 people,
21:14 but suppose some one was hiding underneath a table
21:17 and you didn't see him
21:19 or suppose they were in the rafters over your head
21:22 or suppose your definition of the room
21:25 or somebody else's definition of the room
21:28 didn't include the concept of the closet
21:31 and there were two people in the closet
21:34 or suppose you are an American
21:36 who lived in the time of the confederacy
21:38 when slaves were considered only two thirds a person,
21:42 and there were four slaves in the room,
21:45 how many people would be in the room?
21:49 Suddenly it's not so clear cut and dry.
21:53 But then you say but doesn't science
21:55 create all these fancy instruments
21:58 to help us understand the world around us?
22:01 Of course it does, and these instruments
22:03 can be very, very helpful.
22:06 But I don't think that's a move somebody
22:09 who want's to defend an empiricist epistemology
22:13 would want to make a move on defending
22:16 empiricist epistemology about giving us
22:19 an accurate view of the world.
22:20 I'm not so sure that's some move you want to make, okay.
22:24 Someone once expressed it like this,
22:26 doctor so and so has a theory
22:29 that the world is made of vectors.
22:32 So doctor so and so builds a device looking for vectors
22:37 and what do you know,
22:38 doctor so and so with the device finds vectors,
22:42 thus doctor so and so has got rational empirical,
22:46 I mean he is got empirical proof
22:48 that the world is made of vectors, okay.
22:51 Now to be fair science doesn't always work this way
22:56 and there have been examples
22:57 where they have found things that they really didn't expect.
23:00 Anyway the point of all this, the point is simply this,
23:04 you can't build,
23:06 even scientific instruments can't be built
23:10 without the scientist already building
23:13 his or her presuppositions into it already.
23:17 Now the scientist might have some brilliant
23:19 and well funded,
23:21 well founded reasons for those presuppositions
23:24 and they might even be right and so on
23:26 and the machines are accurate,
23:29 but they might be dead wrong too
23:31 and they might give us
23:32 a totally incorrect view of the world as well.
23:37 And then when you have your devise
23:38 how do you know it's working well
23:40 or there some unknown factors going on.
23:43 I once read where a book where they said
23:45 may be the color of the scientist lab coat.
23:49 Good influence the out come of the experiment.
23:54 You know, I think for a minute
23:55 of that giant particle accelerator
23:58 they have got in Switzerland, soon this mass of thing
24:02 and they don't like you calling them atom smashers
24:04 but they shoot these sub atomic particles
24:07 around this thing at super high speeds
24:09 and they smash into each other and they crack and they blow up
24:13 and, and then they study whatever comes out
24:17 and they say they were looking
24:18 for the Higgs boson or something for it.
24:21 Now when they say they smash atoms
24:23 and look for particles that come out
24:25 what are they mean?
24:26 I mean, they don't need to smash them
24:28 and then somebody takes a tweezers
24:30 and picks up a Higgs boson and says,
24:32 hello, hello here is the Higgs boson, okay.
24:35 No, they go-- I don't know exactly
24:37 what they mean but they have detectors
24:41 that they spend $650 million on the detector alone, okay.
24:48 Now, I don't know all that goes in-- went into all this,
24:52 but when you spend $650 million on a detector
24:57 you're building in a lot of assumptions,
24:59 a lot presuppositions into this.
25:02 I can't even begin to imagine
25:05 how fantastically complicated all this would be,
25:10 okay, and you were working with a lot of data
25:12 being interpreted by a lot of people
25:15 being study and analyzed and so forth, and that's fine.
25:18 I imagine they know what they are doing.
25:22 But let's not forget what they are doing?
25:25 Let's not forget
25:27 that there is a whole lot more presuppositions,
25:31 a whole lot more subjectivity built in to this
25:35 then I think we looking at it on the surface
25:39 we tend to think.
25:41 In fact, there is a whole lot more subjectivity
25:44 in all our scientific endeavors,
25:48 than, than most people would think.
25:51 That's just a peculiar nature of human knowledge in general
25:56 an empirical knowledge in particular
25:59 and this subjectivity also includes in a great way,
26:06 human science.
26:09 As I said, science is--
26:13 as we said in empirical attempt to understand the world
26:17 and precisely because it's that,
26:20 it's filled with all sorts of subjectivity
26:24 that no doubt, no doubt gets in the way
26:29 to some degree or another.
26:32 Now does this mean that science is always wrong?
26:35 Of course not okay,
26:37 but it should help us be very, very, very of the idea
26:42 that science is always right.
26:44 And if science says something
26:47 and then we as Christians just have to flat out accepted
26:51 even if it contradicts our believes sorry folks,
26:55 but that doesn't work that way.
26:57 It shouldn't work that way, okay,
27:00 because unfortunately for many Christians it does.
27:03 We have as believers very good reasons for belief
27:08 and we need to remember that science is a human project
27:13 and thus a priori we can argue that it's always flawed.
27:19 And I think about the knowledge of science
27:21 in contrast to a different kind of knowledge,
27:26 this comes in Job 28,
27:29 "Where does wisdom come from?
27:31 Where does understanding dwell?
27:34 God understands the way
27:35 He do it for He alone knows where it dwells.
27:38 For He views the ends of the earth
27:40 and sees everything under the heavens.
27:43 When He established the force of the wind
27:46 and measured out the waters,
27:47 when He made a decree for the rain
27:50 and path for the thunder storm,
27:52 then He looked at wisdom and appraised it.
27:56 He confirmed it and He tested it
28:01 and He said to man the fear of the Lord
28:05 that is wisdom and to shun evil is understanding."
28:12 What, how in the world could science ever give us
28:16 that kind of knowledge?