Having a Cow

  Recently the so-called conflict between science and religion was waged on a comical front: on the cartoon series "The Simpsons." In this episode, Simpson daughter Lisa unearths a fossil that appears to be almost human—except for one startling difference: In place of arms the fossil has wings. The townsfolk are ecstatic. "It's an angel!" they exclaim. But Lisa is the scientific naturalist in the story, and she scoffs at the angel theory. When the fossil disappears, the townspeople accuse Lisa of destroying evidence of the supernatural in order to bolster her naturalistic viewpoint. In a clear allusion to the Scopes trial, Lisa is brought to court. There, the judge issues a restraining order demanding that religion be kept 500 yards away from science. It's a funny episode. But what's less funny is the implication that science and religion cannot get along. The judge is parroting the argument, made by many scientists, that religion and science don't belong together—that there would be no conflicts as long as religion and science each stayed in its proper domain. This may sound reasonable—until you realize that what they really mean is that everything that matters falls in the domain of science. Secular scientists claim that Christians are limited to the subjective world of faith and feeling. They're out of bounds if they try to explain the objective world of nature from a religious perspective. Only science is permitted to describe nature. The problem is, most scientists are committed to the philosophy of naturalism—which by definition leaves God out. Even some Christians agree with the idea that Christianity and science should occupy different domains. For example, Francis Collins, director of the National Center for Human Genome Research, is a Christian. Yet he agrees that science and religion "operate in different spheres. Science explore[s] the natural," Collins says, "Faith explores the supernatural." But as Professor Phillip Johnson argues in his book Reason in the Balance, if a supernatural Creator really exists, He just might have chosen to do some creating. In fact, nature offers evidence of divine purpose at every turn: Eyes are clearly designed for seeing and ears for hearing; feathers are designed for flying and fins for swimming. But biologists have it drilled into them that science is by definition naturalistic—and as a result, they're forced to close their eyes to the obvious. They're forced to come up with theories explaining how living things "really" evolved by chance variations and natural laws—even though they appear to be designed. In other words, the entire evolution debate hangs on the way we define science. As Johnson puts it, "If the atheists make the rules, the atheists are surely going to win the game regardless of what is true." But why should Christians let atheists make the rules? There's no reason to accept a naturalistic definition of science which assumes that God does not exist. So when you hear those old charges that faith and science don't mix, don't have a cow, man, as Bart Simpson might say. Instead, teach your children that science and Christianity are compatible—but only if we keep our eyes open to the all-pervasive evidence for design.


Chuck Colson


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