Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earth Day and Science

Today is Earth Day. 

There is also a march for science happening, as people feel that science is being threatened by the current government. Along with the big march in Washington, there have been marches in cities all over the country. People are pointing out how science as helped us and how badly needed it is. 

One quote going around is: 

“The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.”

                                                                          ~Neil deGrasse Tyson

My personal response to that is this statement, that I posted on Facebook:

Science helps us explore the universe and our own back yards. It gives us a systematic way to observe and test what's around us. Science really isn't true or false, it helps us discover what is true or false about the physical world. It is highly important that we have people well educated in scientific method and aware of what has been learned and discovered in the past. Science and science education need to be supported. 

Science isn't something to be "believed in." It's a process (or a set of processes) which help us to learn many things. It has it's limits. It changes over time.

Put it in the context of Earth Day. Climate change is a big issue. It would be hard to say based on scientific evidence that global warming isn't real. It would also be difficult to argue that it isn't human driven. But scientists don't claim to have found out everything about this phenomenon. They are still studying, seeking causes and remedies, refining theories. Views on the specifics change all the time and vary from scientist to scientist. Also, no scientists studies all aspects of it. Some study the greenhouse effect, others melting glaciers, others the connection to increased severe weather events.

Here's another thing. Science doesn't tell us how to behave. Scientific discoveries can show us what the consequences of certain actions will be, but it doesn't offer moral evaluation. It's not meant to do that.

Science also isn't either good evil. It is how it is used that determines that. Remember scientists  have brought us both the cure for polio and the atomic bomb. Healing and destruction.

Personally, I believe that God gave us the inquiring and curious minds that have lead to the development of science. His Word can also give guidance in how to use it, to build the Kingdom of God rather than tear people down. 

Judeo- Christian culture historically supported science and allowed it to flourish. Check out more on that here: Are Christianity and Science Compatible?  There have been many clashes between science and the church, but really theology and science, if each is rightly understood can be complementary. 

One final response to Mr. Tyson's statement: 

God is real and alive and good, whether you believe in him or not. 

And that doesn't change the fact that science is important.

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