If the title sparked your attention, good.
That was the point. The phrase first uttered by apologetic giant, Gordon H. Clark, and resounds louder today than ever. If you are unfamiliar with Clark’s apologetic on this topic I would recommend you examine the lecture as it will provide context for this post. If you have time, I recommend the audio as well as the written explanation.
I deeply enjoy science. Prior to finally going after philosophy as a major, physics and chemistry were strong choices for how I would spend my days. I don’t think that scientists are more evil than the rest of humanity. I think that they are people who look at what is in front of them to come to their conclusions, and trust in the “scientific method,” as a way of finding both facts and truth.
Getting to the Point
I am a Young Earth Creationist (YEC). I think that you should be too.
I am not a scientist. I don’t play one on TV, and I didn’t come to my conclusion about the age of the earth because of science.
I am a Theologian. I don’t play one of TV, but radio, the internet and in person are fair game. I can define the Protoevangelium and many other theological terms without a second thought. I listen to worship songs before singing them, and can think of no better way to past the time than with a cigar, a beer and a group of men who want to talk theology.
I came to my conclusion about the age of the earth theologically. I came to my conclusion about the age of the earth without the input of things outside of the scriptures and I did so for several reasons.
- Science is always False. The Scientific Method is void of a solid philosophical defense when dealing with non-repeatable events like abiogenesis, and other such origin based questions.
- The assumption of uniformity is bunk. (I will leave an expanded explanation of this for a later time.)
- I actually believe in Sola Scriptura.
- I think that the best person to tell us how we got here, is the person who got us here. ( A bit circular, I know… I am a presuppositional apologetist what do you expect? )
The question I have for you, dear reader, is what caused you to come to the conclusion about the age of the earth that you did?
“I listen to worship songs before singing them, and can think of no better way to past the time than with a cigar, a beer and a group of men who want to talk theology.”
… and with that, all the anachronistic fundamentalist prohibitionists just put you in the “heathen” category. I happen to agree with you (except the cigar but that’s just ’cause I don’t like cigars). I think it was D.A. Carson who said, tell me I’m welcome to drink if I want to and I probably won’t, but tell me I can’t and I’ll say, “pass the port please”.
Is this satire?
I hope it’s satire.
I’m not sure his “science is always false” construct is really profitable. All he is really demonstrating is human limitation. Nor is his pendulum example particularly helpful in the way he uses it. Almost certainly, real pendulums do obey the laws of physics, but human ability to understand and correlate all the laws of physics which apply to pendulums is very limited.
That said, Clark does a good job of refuting the absurd exaltation of the scientific method. It is so very limited because of the necessity to construct repeatable experiments that exclude every possible alternative explanation for the observed phenomenon. In most cases, that is not possible. And as you have said, it is completely unsuited for historical investigation. I wrote recently that it would be extremely hard to construct a repeatable scientific experiment to prove Churchill was the Prime Minister, because Winston isn’t coming back to help us with the experiment. We have to rely on historical records, witness accounts, etc.
The question of the origin of the earth is historical, not scientific. It isn’t repeatable in a controlled environment. For historical questions, we look to witness accounts. Science can’t do this.
I’ve asked, and never been answered, if the Scientific Method holds the answer to all knowledge, where is the repeatable experiment that proves that the Scientific Method is true? And where is the repeatable experiment that proves that its scope is universal? This false philosophy that the Scientific Method holds all answers is actually self-refuting, because it is built on an assumption (the universality of the method) which can’t be proven by the method. And it is obviously an errant philosophy, because science can’t do history, yet historical knowledge is possible.
So we end up back at faith. We believe in the Bible. They believe in the Scientific Method. At least our faith is internally consistent, rather than self-refuting. It takes more blind belief to believe in the Scientific Method as the ultimate source of truth than it does to believe in the Bible.
Excellent post and welcome to the madness, Ken.
The scientific method can NEVER prove historical facts. It can only reveal facts and characteristics of the created order. It is subject to the futility of general revelation. And – hence – in the truly BIG picture, it cannot help but always be false.
I believe that God created science as well as all the natural laws of the earth. It is not science itself that is false, but many of the conclusions made by lost men and women through science are false. Science proves what God says is true and it proves what a maginificent creator he is, if one possesses the wisdom and knowledge available in Christ to correctly use scienctific inquiry. Without Christ, science is worth little, and this is true in all things.
“I am a Young Earth Creationist (YEC). I think that you should be too.”
I am a Christian, one adopted as a son and heir into God’s family through Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I hope that you are too. I didn’t get my notion of the age of the earth from a psuedo-science, i.e., creationism. I get my notion of the age of the earth from what God says in His word.
Thank you for your interesting post.
“I am a Young Earth Creationist (YEC). I think that you should be too.”
“When in doubt, read the bible.” so we’re on the same side of the argument. I find science more entertaining than illuminating, because so much of what was presented as “fact” a few years ago is now ignored in the face of new “facts”. So personally I’d rather toast the foot of a nice Romeo Y Juliettea Reserva Real and join you in a cold pilsner than listen to ‘the brightest and the best’ explain why we are related to animals we have absolutely nothing in common with
Science is always false depends on what science we are talking about here. I believe there are two primary views that all science, whether true or false, falls under. The two most common science fields I hear about is Creationism and evolution. I personaly believe those who hold to evolution are holding to a “science falsely so called” (1 Tim. 6:20). Now those who hold to true science according to the Scriptures are as someone once said: “thinking God’s thoughts after him.” In a sense, evolution is “science falsely so called” because it is built primarily upon the knowledge of man apart from God; whereas, true science [or Biblical Creationism] is built primarily upon what man discovers in what God has concealed in his creation. Evolution exalts man’s knowledge as the conclusion of all things pertaining to life “ye shall be as gods” (Gen. 3:5). Now on the other hand, true science always seeks to exalt God’s knowledge as the beginning and conclusion of all things relating to life, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1; see also Exodus 20:11; Psalm 19:1-3; 24:1-2).
However, there are limitations to science, true science. For science is restricted to the evidence at hand and its conclusions are based on the facts derived from the testing, experimentation, and information discovered from such things as ancient artifacts [pottery, bones, ancient buildings, etc.]. Now history on the other hand is a field of study and information that works on a different premise as science does. They are two different fields of study. For science is not history nor is history science. Yet, each field of study helps the other to arrive at a better understanding of an artifact studied.
So to say science is always false is misleading in that it does not clarify what is meant in the statement. Is it saying that all science, both true and false sciences are always false? Or is it singling out a specific science that is false? I am glad to see the author of the above article eventually clarifies what he means. Keep up the good work my friend.
Fight the good fight of Faith:
“I listen to worship songs before singing them, and can think of no better way to past the time than with a cigar, a beer and a group of men who want to talk theology”….is this what “Defending truth and contending for the Faith while carrying the Light of the Gospel into a world shrouded in darkness” is all about?
Jerry — according to Dr. Clark Science isn’t a way of gaining knowledge. He would hold, as do I, That all knowledge comes from God alone.
So to say that studying something leads you to know more, is a misnomer.
IF this is not satire, then the writer admits he is not a scientist. Since he is not a scientist, then the approach to his conclusions are flawed. He’s a science denier.
Kittybrat — That’s what we call the genetic fallacy… Good example of it.
I wonder how many people actually read the link which the author said sets the context….
I’m going to ask a few questions so as to not give a knee-jerk reaction. I noticed, Mr. Cook, this comment you posted: “[A]ccording to Dr. Clark Science [science] isn’t a way of gaining knowledge. He would hold, as do I, That all knowledge comes from God alone. So to say that studying something leads you to know more, is a misnomer.”
Is it your belief that studying is wrong? Because your statement could certainly be construed that way, and I frankly do not see any other way to view your statement and the article you linked to.
Also, I would appreciate a context for you declaring that all knowledge comes from God alone, as I found NOTHING hinting that in the Bible. Wisdom, yes. But we are also commanded to actively search and seek out wisdom, not just wait for God to give it to us. Why would knowledge not be that way?
Now, as for the article itself, the ultimate flaw is that this article is holding the Scientific Method accountable for something that it not cannot do, and intellectually honest scientists are very open about what it cannot do. The Method cannot – and indeed, was never intended to – explore anything that is not physically here and now. For example, unique events, such Genesis, cannot be determined by the Method – the beginning of everything has already passed. Angels and demons are not explored by the Method because they are spiritual beings, not physical.
The irony here is not merely that science points to God, but its very existence mandates an acknowledgment of God at its foundation – that a logical God made a universe that functions under logical rules; therefore, that universe can be studied and its rules figured out.
072591 — I am guessing that is your birthday… If you read what clark is saying, it is that the scientific method can not in and of itself even tell you the temp water boils at.. I would encourage you to listen to his hour long lecture on the topic as it answers your question far more elegantly than I would.
Ken Cook, I am sorry. I really hoped this was satire. No intelligent arguments here, simply God of the gaps.
I thoroughly enjoyed this article and Clark’s observations.
I would encourage if any commenters are skeptical of his position to recall the clear and obvious distinction he makes between science and “ETERNAL LIFE”.
The best verses for me to embrace his position comes from Job 28 and 2 Peter 1. You can read Job 28. I would note from Peter’s epistle though that Peter uses two Greek words in chapter 1 translators translate into our English word “knowledge”. One of the Greek words is the basis for the study of science. The other is the study of knowing God.
Finally, if only the scientific method could be as accurate as the natural science of astronomy. The fact that calculations by astronomers of the planetary movements are always spot on and so unchanging for so long they can formulate exact measurements to send satellites into orbits and space craft into space, to the moon and mars and back proves just how scientific God is! Without Him and His power nothing would hold together, no not one calculation or formula!
Ken Cook– I appreciate where you are coming from. However, I disagree. You stated, ““[A]ccording to Dr. Clark Science [science] isn’t a way of gaining knowledge. He would hold, as do I, That all knowledge comes from God alone. So to say that studying something leads you to know more, is a misnomer.” If you had of taken the time to read over what I had said in relation to knowledge, I was in fact attributing knowledge to God as seen in the Scripture references given. The fact God is an intelligent Being, we well know then His creation requires an Intelligent Designer, which is going to be reflected in what He has created. Just look at the intelligence behind a flower that God had made. Are you going to say that knowledge cannot be gained through studying such beautiful and delicate creations, such as the flowers that God has made? I believe 072591 does a great job pointing out the flaw in your statement, “So to say that studying something leads you to know more, is a misnomer.” To add further to that, what is the point then to even study true science if you do not gain anything from it. You yourself stated in your article above that you are a Young Earth Creationist (YEC). I am sure Young Earth advocates do not arrive at answers based on ignorance. For example, “God said He created everything therefore I believe.” No, they use the various fields of science to gain a better appreciation, and yes knowledge to how God created everything. But again, as I mentioned in my previous response, the field of science, true science has its limits. So does History and Mathematics, etc. Such fields of study are imperfect and incomplete. Science for example, may give us a better appreciation and knowledge to how God created a flower, but it cannot tell us anything about God himself or of such spiritual beings as angels, or of the spirit and soul of man. These are questions that can be best answered through the revelation of God’s Word. Even then, our knowledge is imperfect and limited in understanding the wonders and complexities of such things.
Your statement, “That all knowledge comes from God alone” interesting. Does that also include the knowledge of sinful man apart from God. Yes, God created man as an intelligent being capable of much. But we must keep in mind that “knowledge” is gained through what we learn through study; whereas “wisdom” is what we gain through experience. Are we to attribute our flawed and sinful knowledge to the perfect and holy knowledge of God? As for your comment, “So to say that studying something leads you to know more, is a misnomer.” No, it is not a misnomer. Studying something does lead you to know more. For example, if I created a new type of aircraft for the military that is much more fuel efficient and flies faster than any aircraft present today, but it took me five years to design, build, and perfect this new aircraft. During the process of making this special aircraft I made many mistakes, until I finally learned how to successfully make this wonderful aircraft. As you can see Ken, such knowledge and wisdom was gained from the construction of this special aircraft.
If you still feel my conclusions are a “misnomer” then you need to show me where I am wrong. I am the first to admit my knowledge is not perfect. I am always open to receive correction on a point or points that I may be wrong on. That’s how we gain knowledge, understanding, and learning on any given topic raised.
Keep Fighting the Good Fight of Faith,
Five things science cannot prove
“1) Existential Truth: Science cannot prove that you aren’t merely a brain in a jar being manipulated to think this is all actually happening. (Think of something like in “The Matrix”.) It also cannot prove that the world wasn’t created 5 minutes ago with the appearance of age (and with fake memories in your head, and half-digested food in your stomach, etc). However it’s still rational to believe that our memories are true and that the world is real.
2) Moral Truth: Science cannot prove that rape is evil. While it is possible to demonstrate, for example, that there are negative physical or psychological effects of rape, there is no scientific test that can prove it is evil. Science can describe how the natural world is, but moral truth carries an “oughtness” (how things should be) about it that goes beyond what merely is.
3) Logical Truth: Consider the statement “Science is the only way to really know truth.” How could you prove that statement by science? It is actually self-refuting because there is no scientific test you could use to prove that it is true! Science cannot prove logic to be true because it assumes and requires logic in order for it to work.
4) Historical Truth: Science cannot prove that Barack Obama won the 2008 United States presidential election. There is no scientific test we could perform to prove it. We could have an investigation if we wanted to confirm that he did actually win, but the method for proving historical truths is different from testing scientific truths since historical truths are by nature non-repeatable.
5) Experiential Truth: Science cannot prove that your spouse loves you. When asked why so-and-so loves you, you may cite precedent (times when their behavior demonstrates their love for you) but this is a particular type of historical truth. There is no scientific test that can confirm a lifetime of experience of knowing a person”
Ken Cook–Your comment, “Kittybrat — That’s what we call the genetic fallacy… Good example of it.” I wonder, Ken do you even know what “Genetic Fallacy” even means? Further more, you seem to depend far too much on what Dr. Gordon H. Clark says than what the Lord says in His Word. you say “Thus sayeth Dr. Clark,” whereas I say, “Thus sayeth the Lord.” Also, I agree with David in his response to your comment in your above article, “…and can think of no better way to past the time than with a cigar, a beer and a group of men who want to talk theology.” David said, “….is this what “Defending truth and contending for the Faith while carrying the Light of the Gospel into a world shrouded in darkness” is all about?” I will add to this by saying, no, this is not what “Defending and Contending” blogsite is supposed to be about. If we are supposed to represent Christ, then we need to be like Christ. The only part of Ken’s comment I totally agree with is “A group of men who want to talk theology.” Haha, the only problem I find around here where I live is finding a group of men who want to talk about theology. Easier said than done.
Andrew–I love your post above on “five things science cannot prove.” So true my friend. Thanks for posting it.
Kittybrat–your comment, “IF this is not satire, then the writer admits he is not a scientist. Since he is not a scientist, then the approach to his conclusions are flawed. He’s a science denier.” I take it this comment is directed at my response. I find this comment makes absolutely no sense at all. For if you honestly read and understood what i had said, you would not have made such a comment. Please don’t misunderstand me, I really don’t mind people disagreeing with me on some point or two, if you can logically show me where I am wrong. For that’s how we learn and grow.
Kittybrat — Right… That’s what it is… God of the gaps.. No need to respond to the substance of what was argued…
Ken Cook–You said, “Kittybrat — Right… That’s what it is… God of the gaps.. No need to respond to the substance of what was argued…” Let me put this in perspect Ken, you say there is “no need to respond to the substance of what was argued…” That’s because you don’t have an argument to respond with period.
If you were “truly informed” on the subject and “knew what you were talking about,” you would have no trouble responding to my concerns I had raised in regards to your above blog article entitled, “Science is Always False.” Also, I noticed you didn’t respond to my question in my previous response, “I wonder, Ken do you even know what “Genetic Fallacy” even means?” I am beginning to believe you just answered that question for me… You didn’t answer it, simply because you don’t know. Hey, by any chance that I am wrong, by all means correct me.
modern science has one undeniable flaw in that it begins with the assumption that there is no God. That even the very idea of God and any super-natural events are dismissed with prejudice, irrespective of the evidence. Everything must be explained irrespective of the evidence to exclude the miraculous. So it begins with a presuppositional fallacy. If the premise is wrong then any and all conclusions are at best suspect.,
Vast sections of accepted scientific fact as said before are neither observable or measurable or replaceable. at best it is presuppositional conjecture.
I am genuinely intrigued about where this is going… Hard presuppositionalism is generally a very weak philosophy. To say that all knowledge is revealed by God, is highly problematic. To just give one example of knowledge that the scripturalistic axiom doesn’t cover: your own existence.
Saying that science is always false seems to go against the tremendous success of modern science. This very comment is brought to you by the results of science.
T.I. Miler: “modern science has one undeniable flaw in that it begins with the assumption that there is no God.”
Actually, science doesn’t address the question of God’s existence at all. It doesn’t assume anything about God.