Science’s Blind Spot

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There are times when I’m dealing with the world of science and origins that in frustration I just wish that God would majestically appear on some mountain top and say, “Are there any questions?” Interestingly, this morning’s personal devotion revealed that the same frustration was shared by the prophet Isaiah:

“Oh that thou wouldest rent the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountaines might flowe downe at thy presence, and when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boyle: to make thy Name knowen to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence.” Isaiah 64:1,2, King James 1611 version, spelling original. On a side note, reading a photocopied 1611 version KJV is totally fun and challenging…if you like history as I do. But I digress.

Isaiah was bemoaning the ignorance of the world, often using the metaphors of darkness and light in describing the degrees of the world’s lack of knowledge of God. And there is no more obvious place of darkness that I know of than in the popular views on origins. Science has not always lived in such darkness.

Prior to the 1700s nearly all science-loving people, including educated intellectuals, acknowledged the place of God in the universe. However, during the so-called “Age of Reason,” secular humanism took over all areas of thought, including religion, at the universities of the West. “Methodological naturalism” became the way of interpreting nature. That is, all conclusions save those featuring God would be seriously considered. Handcuffing science by limiting possible conclusions involving God has produced a huge “blind spot.”

What is a “blind spot?” Elder Richard Parker, longtime Youth Director and Camp MiVoden Director for the Upper Columbia Conference in years past once came and preached at my church in Moscow, Idaho about blind spots. Apparently, everyone has them (except me, of course). That is, everyone has an area of weakness, a character flaw or two or three that they have great difficulty in seeing or acknowledging. Those weak areas limit us in becoming all we might become by God’s grace.

When we view nature it is immediately obvious that its complexity shouts out “design” to anyone with ears. And if there is design, there is a Designer. Secular science has admitted that the appearance of design is readily seen. But they refuse to acknowledge the obvious conclusion of that observation. They run against “Occam’s Razor,” a principle of interpretation attributed to the 13th Century English friar William of Ockham. To paraphrase his thoughts on interpretation, “the most obvious interpretation is generally the best.” That is, theories that have to be reworked in order to produce alternative views contrary to something obvious should be discarded.  

This has produced a serious blind spot in science that has tarnished its status as an always-reliable source of information. Most Americans believe in God, and most Americans say they have had answers to their prayers to the God of the Bible. This is laboratory, empirical proof, so to speak. But when science disallows what is obvious, they lose credibility in other areas, including admittedly more empirical subjects involving viruses and weather concerns. That Americans hesitate to accept input on these and other subjects bewilders the science establishment. But this is one of the costs of having that blind spot.

Oh, that God would come down and sit on a mountain top. I’m totally with Isaiah on that one.

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Note: Please make sure the spell check doesn’t mess up the 1611 KJV Isaiah quote above!!

Author

Stan Hudson

North Pacific Union Conference creation ministries director
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