January 13, 2006
I must contest Rev. Harrison's response to my Viewpoint article. He asks if "...its assumption that everything can be explained completely naturalistically is not true...can science reach correct conclusions?" He then states his heartfelt belief, "No."
Here I must disagree. If the METHOD introduces a systematic artifact, the error itself is subject to testing. Science isn't the method of doctrine, but of doubt. Even trusted and well-worn techniques are subject to correction or elimination if they fail to produce. If science itself fails - as it does when used to explore a priori purposiveness - it can be discounted for equally pragmatic reasons. When it doesn't fail, it can be a powerful tool.
"can it...still provide an accurate account of the universe?"
When the data are inconsistent with a model or theory, the difference must reconciled. Models are continually changed or corrected, yet all include error variance. For example, it required careful observation and critical testing to challenge the geocentric model. Without these observations, a "good scientist" would have had no reason to back a heliocentric model, let alone an even more complicated (i.e., less parsimonious) one that required mathematics that didn't even exist at the time. Science IS method.
There are always places where the data doesn't fit a given model, yet a scientist rejoices in the partially-filled glass, the signal in the noise, the order in the chaos, even as he or she tries to improve the model. However, science is not, and never will be, "Truth."
Rev. Harrison concludes, "...but as for me and my house, we say, 'No.'"
To be honest, I'm dumbfounded that ministers of the Word and sacrament in my own denomination could be intimidated or threatened by a machine! I sincerely hope that they aren't also troubled when faithful Christians use potato harvesters, sewing machines, or other Godless machines in their crafts. The point is that, despite the passion shown by a scientist when describing his or her work, the machine of science cares not for "truth."
I believe that it is right to do all for the glory of God and with a prayer of thanksgiving on our lips. Did the Shakers not craft furniture with the love of God everpresent in their hearts? Are EMTs guilty when they fail to pause for corporate prayer before administering CPR?
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them
Knowledge will pass away in time, but the Light of the world never
preached ignorance! Use your gifts
for the glory of God, but also rely on others whose gifts complement
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