Scientism: Postmodern Attack on Truth

Scientism:  Postmodern Attack on Truth

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by Rev. Neil Steven Lawrence, M.Div.


“The man of science is a poor philosopher.” – Albert Einstein

Introduction and Definition
In Genesis 1:1, Yahweh lays down the gauntlet to the ancient pagan gods which Christians understand to be demons (1 Cor. 10:19-21). These pagan gods were merely manufactured in the mind of man to explain the environment around them. They were ideas based on some level of observation, empiricism, if you will. They were in truth, “gods of the gap.” What humankind saw, the majestic parts of Yahweh’s creation: sun, moon, stars, ocean, mountain, river, fire, trees, animals, birth, etc.; they turned into a god. They could not explain it so they deified it. In short, these gods originated in the material world.
“In the beginning God…” (Gen. 1:1) is in contradistinction to the pagan gods, whose origin myths always place them intertwined with the material world. Now, Yahweh is showing He came first, creation second. Put another way: theology (seeking and studying Yahweh) is priority, empirical observation of Yahweh’s creation is second. Classically, learned people have always understood this order. But, in the last century, with the advent of secular empiricism and its step-child, scientism; the order has been supplanted. We must differentiate between: science (the systematic, rational examination of phenomena) and scientism (the insistence truth can only be discovered by science). As Lawrence Principe says, “Science and its methods provide the only fully valid route to gaining knowledge and for answering questions, to the exclusion of other methods and disciplines.”
This problem is so pervasive in Western society, yet few seem to be dealing with the issue directly. A large part of the brainwashing and gaslighting inundating traditional and Christian influenced society comes in the false dichotomy of Scientism. The purpose of this paper is to highlight the issues of Scientism and refute them.
Why Scientism is Dangerous
Historically, both sacred and secular people and cultures have tended toward valuing the concept of truth, wisdom, and knowledge. In the ancient world, kings ruled by these principles (Prov. 8:15). The Greek-root meaning of philosophy is “loving wisdom.” In the modern world great strides in development have been achieved by application of these principles. Since the mid-14th century, the very word science means: “knowledge acquired by study.”
Bridging the gap between the ancient and modern worlds, Christianity has been unique in its ability to provide the foundation for wisdom and knowledge to thrive in humankind. The redemptive quality the Christian belief system brings to bear upon wisdom and knowledge occurs because of one ontological fact: it alone has the truth. The lie mixed with wisdom or knowledge makes evil more dangerous and rulers more brutal. But when embraced, truth has a purifying effect upon them both. Christianity does not merely purport to contain truth, but to ‘embody’ the truth; to personify the truth, in Jesus Christ.
It is this core reality of truth which allowed humankind to look at life the way it really is. First through Christian theology, and second through scientists who were Christians or believed in God. From the beginning of the scientific revolution until today, many of these famous scientists were not merely nominal believers, but devout believers who often attributed understanding to God’s glory and admitted that their discoveries give evidence of Yahweh’s handiwork. Here is only a selective representative list:

Kepler, Descartes, Galileo, Newton, Ray, Milner, Kirby, Harvey, Pascal, Bacon, Leibniz, Priestley, Swedenborg, Volta, Ampere, Boyle, Mendel, Maxwell, Pasteur, Faraday, Planck, Joule, Kelvin, Haeckel, Schodinger, Marconi, Compton, Millikan, Babbage, Carver, Heisenberg, Eddington, Fleming, Hess, Fischer, Einstein, Crick, Braun, Jordan, Stoner, Cori, Godel, Keller, Pollard, Rossini, Ziel, Lejeune, Church, Walton, Mott, Eccles, Boyd, Bube, Davies, Smalley, Billings, Weizsacher, Jaki, McMullin, Murray, Barbour, Townes, Hodgson, Thirring, Nelson, Grunberg, Bott, Berry, Burke, Johnson, Dyson, Barrow, Fontaine, Polkinghorne, Hewis, Farmer, Eaves, Francis Collins, Hugh Ross, Stephen Meyer, Brooks, Gelsinger, Tour, McGrath, Lennox, (plus hundreds still alive today), etc.

When we are confronted by the Eternal One who is now embodied and stands in our midst, only then can we see ourselves for who we really are; only then can we see the world around us for what it really is. Only the Christian viewpoint could have created the scientific revolution, because those who live inside that viewpoint can genuinely face reality. Facts, knowledge, wisdom, empiricism, objectivity, etc. all require truth to thrive.
This reliance on reality produced the greatest transformation in society in all areas of life in only a few hundred years. Beginning within Christian Western societies, this reliance on reality was sparked by Church Scholasticism, creation of the University system, leading to the Age of Discovery, formation of the Nation-State, formation of joint-stock companies which led to capitalism, Renaissance (re-birth), printing press, Reformation, Colonialization, Democratic government, Age of Enlightenment, Industrial Revolution, Information Age, etc.. All this explosion of creativity has roots originating in the flowering of Christianity. The societies who have honored the Biblical Creator have been blessed with the greatest creativity.
Sadly, along with the Age of Enlightenment came the overemphasis upon reason at the exclusion of revelation knowledge, which led to modern skepticism and the atheistic war against the very mother who gave birth to this grand growth in creativity: the Church. This led to a rejection of absolutes grounded outside of man’s own reason. The failure of this skeptical modern thought to prevent two major World Wars caused a descent into postmodern philosophy and culture. Postmodern thought has thrown off the “chains of reality” and descended into relativism. Anything grounded in traditional enlightenment views of objective reality: history, rational thought, morality, spiritual truth, and even scientific empiricism have been jettisoned.
Growing along side this postmodern descent in philosophy and culture, scientific thought has also morphed to develop a cancerous philosophy: Scientism. Scientism is the spurious idea that science is the only way to truth. It is spurious because the idea itself does not come from science, but it is instead a philosophical proposition. Genuine science is a method to gain knowledge and its modus operandi is neutral. Genuine science at its core, seeks to remove presuppositions which could ‘color’ the results of an experiment. The DNA of the scientific method is always friendly to the truth. Therefore, Christianity as purveyor of the source of truth, will always find a friend in genuine science. “Science has done more to confirm the Christian God’s existence than to undermine it, and science has provided little or no evidence against belief in theism.” Scientism, on the other hand, is a cancer because its primary tenet is “presuppositional” in essence.

Scientism is Dangerous on Several Fronts
First, it is dangerous because its primary target is Christianity. “Scientism is a silent yet deadly killer of Christianity.” Second, Scientism is dangerous because it is indiscriminate in its destruction of truth; truth which may be found in all other avenues: theology, philosophy, history, the humanities, arts, etc.. All are sacrificed on the altar of truth, in order for scientism to rid its ‘god of science’ from the Biblical God. French philosopher and historian of philosophy Étienne Gilson states, “Philosophy is the only rational knowledge by which both science and nature can be judged. By reducing philosophy to pure science man has . . . abdicated his right to judge nature.”
Third, Scientism is dangerous because its very insistence that science is exclusive in discovering truth is self-contradictory and threatens the very objectivity required for science to be true. “The problem for scientism is that science is descriptive, not prescriptive; science attempts to describe what is the case, but it cannot prescribe what ought to be the case.” Lastly, Scientism is dangerous because societies worldwide are being deluded to think science alone has a monopoly on truth, a hegemony on solutions, and an infallible guide for life. Not only is this concept delusional, but it offers false hope to multitudes and creates a distortion field which blurs reality.
Roughly, scientism is the view that the hard sciences—like chemistry, biology, physics, astronomy—provide the only genuine knowledge of reality. At the very least, this scientific knowledge is vastly superior to what we can know from any other discipline. Ethics and religion may be acceptable, but only if they are understood to be inherently subjective and regarded as private matters of opinion. According to scientism, the claim that ethical and religious conclusions can be just as factual as science, and therefore ought to be affirmed like scientific truths, may be a sign of bigotry and intolerance.” (emphasis added)

Descent in Philosophy
Scientism has its roots in the now debunked idea of positivism which in Western philosophy is any system confining itself to the data of experience and excludes a priori or metaphysical speculations. This thought originates in the work of the French philosopher Auguste Comte (1798–1857). C.S. Lewis gave lectures which were published as the book, Abolition of Man. In this book Lewis is dealing with positivism, the precursor to Scientism. Lewis, though not using overt Christian doctrine, sets out to prove that no matter what other beliefs one has, one must fundamentally accept objective values and morals—what he calls the Tao, if one is to make any sense out of humankind, morality, truth, or the world. Let us contrast Lewis’ words with one of the intellectual originators of scientism, A.J. Ayer.

A Priori Knowledge

“A proposition would be ostensive only if it recorded what was immediately experienced, without referring in any way beyond. And as this is not possible, it follows that no genuine synthetic proposition can be ostensive, and consequently that none can be absolutely certain.” Here Ayer’s is choking empiricism to only allow materialism and totally banishing a priori knowledge. Lewis’ words give contradistinction:
The truth finally becomes apparent that neither in any operation with factual propositions nor in any appeal to instinct can the innovator find the basis for a system of values. None of the principles he requires are to be found there: but they are all to be found somewhere else…You cannot reach them as conclusions; they are premisses.


“However firmly we believe them (definitions), it is always conceivable that a future experience will lead us to abandon them.” What about definitions which have proven the test of time? Are we to assume all the foundations of Western society and by extension today’s methods of living in the world are now subject to irrelevance because experiences vary? Lewis disagrees, “My point is that those who stand outside all judgements of value cannot have any ground for preferring one of their own impulses to another except the emotional strength of that impulse.”

Objective Morality

Ayers rejects the absolute quality of ethical claims as being merely based on a supposed emotional content. He rejects the objective validity of morality by using “word salad” which is too monotonous to directly quote here. The words of Lewis give a good rebuttal:
By the logic of their position they must just take their impulses as they come, from chance. And Chance here means Nature…Their extreme rationalism, by ‘seeing through’ all ‘rational’ motives, leaves them creatures of wholly irrational behaviour. If you will not obey the Tao, or else commit suicide, obedience to impulse (and therefore, in the long run, to mere ‘nature’) is the only course left open…Man’s conquest of Nature turns out, in the moment of its consummation, to be Nature’s conquest of Man.

Steel Traps of ‘Logic’

In Ayers twisted logic he denies theism, atheism, and agnosticism in the same paragraph.
It is important not to confuse this view of religious assertions with the view that is adopted by atheists, or agnostics. For it is characteristic of an agnostic to hold the existence of a god is a possibility in which there is no good reason either to believe or disbelieve; and it is characteristic of an atheist to hold that it is at least probable that no god exists. And our view that all utterances about the nature of god are nonsensical, so far from being identical with, or even lending any support to, either of these familiar contentions, is actually incompatible with them. For is the assertion that there is a god is nonsensical, then the atheists assertion that there is no god is equally nonsensical, since it is only a significant proposition that can be significantly contradicted. As for the agnostic, although he refrain from saying either that there is or that there is not a god, he does not deny that the question whether a transcendent god exists is a genuine question. He does not deny that the two sentences “there is a transcendent god“ and “there is no transcendent god” express positions one of which is actually true and the other false. All he says is that we have no means of telling which of them is true, and therefore not to commit ourselves to either but we have seen that the sentences in question do not express propositions at all. And this means that agnosticism also is ruled out.

This kind of twisted thinking is what helped create scientism. Throughout his book Ayers seems to be proud of his ability to manufacture “steel traps” of logic which argue for his premise that a priori is unsubstantiated and empirical knowledge is superior and exclusive. He spends 150 pages creating these “steel traps” in monotonous fashion, but in my view, he merely traps himself. As a response, let us turn to J. P. Moreland from his book analyzing scientism.
During the process of my various studies, I constantly bumped into something dark, hideous, and, I dare say, evil. It was the philosophical notion of scientism, roughly the view that the hard sciences alone have the intellectual authority to give us knowledge of reality. Everything else—especially ethics, theology, and philosophy—is, at least according to scientism, based on private emotions, blind faith, or cultural upbringing. As a result, these disciplines, long regarded by the Western world as a source of knowledge and a path of wisdom, are said to give us no truth about reality, at least no truth that could be supported by evidence and argumentation—which, according to scientism, means that theology and philosophy offer no truth at all. One of the great ironies of all of this is that scientism is not a doctrine of science; rather, it is a doctrine of philosophy. More specifically, scientism is actually a doctrine of epistemology (the branch of philosophy that studies what knowledge is and how we obtain it). … Here is another irony: scientism distorts science. By its very nature, science cannot claim to be the only way to know reality.

Plausibility Structure

What people in a society consider a “norm” Moreland details as “plausibility structure.” The Western Christian culture is not something that just happened by accident, but took centuries to develop. Now it seems it is crumbling in a couple generations.“The lesson here is that a culture, which has a set of background assumptions—or, a plausibility structure—sets a framework for what people think, which affects how they are willing to listen, evaluate, feel, and behave. The framework shapes what people consider plausible or implausible.”

Descent in Culture
Five Shifts Moreland details how scientism brought about five shifts which now define Western culture. Embracing scientism lead to a cascade of further changes in culture norms in how we define knowledge, truth, duty, virtue, freedom, and tolerance.
The first shift is in the realm of religion and ethics and is a shift from knowledge to blind faith. The assumption is that, in contrast to scientific assertions, religious claims are neither factual in nature nor subject to rational evaluation. Religion is not a domain of fact and knowledge, so there are no experts on that subject.

The second shift is in the realm of guidance for living one’s life, and it goes from truth to the immediate satisfaction of desire. Scientism tells us that there is no truth related to the meaning and purpose of life; the difference between right and wrong or virtue and vice; life after death; and, of course, God himself. And even if there were truths in these areas, no one could have a clue as to what they were. It follows that truth as a first-priority guide for living must be dethroned. (italics added)

The third shift is in ethics, and it goes from positive duty and virtue to do-no-harm minimalism. (italics added)

Remember Google’s founding motto: “Don’t be evil.” This sounds a lot like minimalist ethics, which seeks to be moral without acknowledging a source of morality—a kind of ‘least common denominator’ morality. Moreland fleshes out this third shift by summarizing Daniel Callan’s writing:
In 1981, Daniel Callahan, wrote an article titled, “Minimalist Ethics,” arguing that contemporary American culture had come to emphasize the tolerance of all moral viewpoints; the transcendence of the individual over the community; individual autonomy as the highest good; and the voluntary, informed-consent contract (rather than a covenantal model, such as marriage) as the model of human relationships. Callahan emphasizes this cultural shift by what characterize as a widely accepted moral axiom—that is, minimalist ethics—that can be expressed in a single proposition: “One may morally act in any way one chooses so long as one does not do harm to others.

“The fourth shift is manifested in the area of freedom, moving from a classic model to a contemporary version. Classically, freedom meant the power to do what one ought to do.” (emphasis added) Doing what one “ought” to do implies an absolute moral standard. The “ought” is sourced in an absolute moral Law Giver, namely: God. The infamous English satanist, Aleister Crowley, who inspired Anton Lavey to write the Satanic Bible, was interviewed by a newspaper reporter. The reporter asked, “In Christianity, the Golden Rule is: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” What is the Golden Rule of Satanism?” Crowley answered, “The Golden Rule of Satanism is ‘Do thy own will’.” In other words, in order to fulfill Satanism all someone must do is whatever they want. This thinking is also in the 1960’s mantra: “Do what makes you feel good.” It is also seen in the postmodern perversion of tolerance.
Absent such knowledge, contemporary freedom has come to be understood as the right to do whatever one wants to do. Sexual freedom in this context means the right to satisfy one’s desires in any way one wishes, with the possible exception of not harming others.

Even the Gay Agenda argument had the mantra: “What someone does in their bedroom does not hurt anyone.” That morphed into: “Being homosexual is a human right,” as they conflated sin with a human right. This has now gone a step further to: “We want equal rights!”—as they again conflated homosexuality with a race. Then as the Obama Justice Department got the Supreme Court to overturn DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), the dissenting judges warned in their rebuttals that the Gay Agenda would begin to attack the church. This is where the culture has descended, and the church is back-stepping and being divided. Moreland shows much of this descent had to do with the culture shifts influenced by scientism. David Kupellian details many of the deliberate actions of the Homosexual Agenda in chapter 1 of his book The Marketing of Evil: How Radicals, Elitists, and Pseudo-Experts Sell us Corruption Disguised as Freedom.
Moreland ends with the fifth shift which is particularly destructive:
Finally, scientism warrants a shift in how we think about and practice tolerance, again moving from a classic model to a contemporary one. According to the classical sense of the principle of tolerance, a person holds that his own moral views are true and are known by him to be such, and those of his opponent are false, but he still respects his opponent as a person and he respects his right to make a case for his views. Thus, someone has a duty to tolerate a different moral view, not in the sense of thinking it is morally correct, but, quite the opposite, in the sense that a person will continue to value and respect one’s opponent, to treat him with dignity, to recognize his right to argue for and propagate his ideas. (Emphasis added)

The classical view of tolerating other people’s views, even if you don’t agree with them, has been replaced by a perverted sense of not being allowed to judge anyone for their views or else you will be branded “intolerant.” Moreland explains:
Classic tolerance presupposed the reality of moral knowledge. For that reason, it cannot survive in a culture of scientism. And it is scientism that has led to the contemporary view of tolerance. The contemporary version of tolerance, popular in the general culture, goes beyond the classical version in claiming that one should not even judge that other people’s viewpoints are wrong. Thus, the very act of disagreeing morally with someone else is intolerant. Unfortunately, if scientism is correct, there is no moral truth or knowledge and, thus, no real moral disagreements in the first place. (emphasis added)

The phrase, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything,” no longer makes sense in our cultural morass. “Culture Wars” are inundating the society.

Abdication: The Church “Drops the Truth Ball”
Though the Church has usually been a bulwark of the societies it influences throughout its 2000-year history, macro cultural shifts have definitely undermined its progress and set it back or even wiped it out completely in many places on the planet. The biggest destroyers of the church have been: Roman Catholic corruption and syncretism; Islam; Mongol invasion; Communism; Evolutionary ideology; Postmodernism; and now Scientism. Except for the Mongol invasion, battles still remain with these forces. The church has no choice except to deal with each of these head-on. Touching on this dilemma, Moreland states:
As the ideas that constitute scientism have become more pervasive in our culture, the Western world has turned increasingly secular and the power centers of culture (the universities; the media and entertainment industry; the Supreme Court) have come increasingly to regard religion as a private superstition. It is no surprise, then, that when our children go to college, more and more of them are just giving up on Christianity.

One of the major problems in the church is that ministry is too often on a “needs-basis” at the expense of grounding people in truth and how to stand up for it. Instead of training soldiers, we have been their nannies. Strategy should be the outcome of vision. Further, leadership has emphasized “excitement” over commitment.
Instead of equipping people to understand and meet the world head-on, giving solid reasons for its Christian beliefs, the church has become its own “gravedigger”—the very practices that cause its numbers to rise and its budgets to be met are making the church increasingly anemic and marginalized. What are those practices? We try to “grow the church” by using watered-down, intellectually vacuous, simplistic preaching that is always applied to a parishioner’s private life while failing to deal from the pulpit with the broad cultural, intellectual, and moral issues facing us all.

The evidential power of Christian truth, faith, history, and calling is without equal. This spans the test of time. Nothing has changed more lives for the better than Christ and His truth lived out in His people. Jesus told us, His disciples, He has all power therefore we must go. This implies power is available to us for the sake of “going.” We don’t go with an empty vessel, but with “treasure contained in vessels of clay” (2 Cor. 4:7). The treasure is the truth we incarnate.
People lack the courage to stand up for their faith in a non-defensive, winsome way because they lack the requisite knowledge for doing so. Thus, when challenged, Christians get defensive. Knowledge gives authority and courage, and knowing how to respond to scientism should be one of the top priorities in this culture if we want to avoid getting drawn into the world’s way of thinking. Further, the very concept of “faith” has been redefined and has now replaced reason. Today, faith is choosing to believe something in the absence of evidence or reasons for the choice. Faith used to mean a confidence or trust based on what one knows. Given the current definition, ubiquitous throughout the church, we Christians have unintentionally played right into the hands of advocates of scientism. By thinking of faith in this way, we are tacitly implying that we believe in the tenets of Christianity without any evidence or reasons at all.

Self-Refuting Non-Sense
Moreland estimates that about 95% of science and theology are cognitively irrelevant to each other, and the remaining 5% of science has direct interaction with Christian doctrine. Within this 5% portion, an actual 3% of science provides further evidential support for Christian teaching (as opposed to evidence against it).
That leaves 2% of current scientific claims that may seem to undermine Christian theology. What is interesting to me is that, as far as I can tell, little or none of this counts against the existence of God or the truth of Christianity’s core. Rather, most of it counts against biblical inerrancy and current interpretations of specific texts. In fact, interpretations of Genesis 1–11 account for much of the conflict between science and Scripture. …Science has done more to confirm the Christian God’s existence than to undermine it, and science has provided little or no evidence against belief in theism.

In his book God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? Dr. John Lennox gives many convincing arguments against scientism and repeatedly shows how it is self-refuting. Dr. John Lennox points out atheistic scientists like Stephen Hawking who say there is no God, have two problems: 1. They don’t understand science, and 2. The god they are speaking about is not the God of the Bible, but some pagan version. The way the pagan gods originate and behave shows they are actually ‘gods of the gap.’ The pagan says, “I don’t understand lightning so I say it is a god.” So the misappropriation of the atheistic scientist causes them to place Yahweh in the same category as the Greek pagan gods. The ancient pagan gods have a cosmogony and a theogony. Their origin is out of the material world. The Biblical God is utterly and categorically distinct. Lennox, in his debate with Richard Dawkins stated: “The god you don’t believe in, I don’t believe in either. You are striking out at a windmill.”
Reductionism is a major problem in scientific atheism. Reductionism is the explanation of complex life-science processes and phenomena in terms of the laws of physics and chemistry. This thinking and behavior is unrealistic and untenable in a complex world which contains both immaterial and material components. Multi-level explanations about reality are what is needed. Science does not exclude “the personal.” And it is the “personal” that is more important.
The very things science prides itself on grasping, they actually are unable to completely explain. The greatest scientist will admit that they do not know what is “gravity“ or “energy“. They know about it but they don’t know what it is. The Laws and the math formulas describe the material world, they don’t explain WHAT the properties are. For example, the Law of Gravity does not explain gravity; Isaac Newton did not know what gravity was, and he said so in the introduction to his famous book: Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathmatica (1687), stating, “I don’t make hypotheses.” But, Newton did discover a formula which describes how gravity works.
“The scientific use of the word ‘law’ is not the same as the legal use, where we often think of a law as constraining someone’s actions.” Philosopher Wittgenstein states: “The great delusion of modernity is that the laws of nature explain the universe for us. The laws of nature do not describe the universe, they describe the regularities. But they explain nothing.” In other words, the laws of nature are not explanations, they are only descriptions of regularities. Because science cannot explain everything, by default there are other explanations for reality. The other sciences are needed. Christian Apologist Dr. Frank Turek often says, “Science doesn’t really say anything, scientists do.” In other words, science is supposed to be neutral and only concerned with objective facts and truth in the areas they analyze. When they venture into areas they are untrained to comment on, not only do they sound foolish, but they refute their own presuppositions.
On page 5 of his book, The Grand Design, Stephen Hawking says the big questions (origin of the universe and life) used to be answered by philosophy, but philosophy is dead. Now it is left to science to be the torch-bearer of truth for this generation. Then he spends the rest of the book talking about the “science of philosophy.” Countering that thinking, Nobel Laureate Sir Peter Medawar states,
There is nothing that brings disrepute on science more than the suggestion that science can answer every question. The existence of a limit to science is made clear by its inability to answer child-like elementary questions having to do with first and last things—questions such as: ‘How did everything begin?’ ‘What are we all here for?’ ‘What is the point of living?’

An example of this self-refutation is found in the theory of abiogenesis. This is the theory that life arose from non-life more than 3.5 billion years ago on Earth. Abiogenesis proposes that the first life-forms generated were very simple and through a gradual process became increasingly complex. James Tour, the world famous nano-chemist and Christian, emphasizes that you must have life to get life. You cannot go from non-life to life. He creates molecules in the laboratory; he says he is the world’s expert on creating molecules. He is adamant, there is no way you can create life from molecules.
The longest word in the universe is the DNA molecule which equals 3.5 billion letters. DNA is the Creator’s computer code through which the molecular commands and life propagating commands are able to be guided to produce all the living organisms on the planet. Language points directly to mind. The most complex languages point to the most complex minds—in this case, God. Also, the fact that mathematics describes what we see in the physical universe correlates with the concept of a designing creator.
In the video Lennox shares a cogent story. Near the time of Stephen Hawking‘s death, Lord Reese, astronomer at Royal-Oxford said, “I have written many papers with Stephen, but he knows very little about philosophy and almost nothing about theology. And when he comments on these topics I would not accept anything he says.” “Not every statement by a scientist is science; but the problem is, when a scientist of note says something, the authority of science gets conferred upon it.” Every institution of learning promotes faith: atheistic faith or theistic faith. Richard Dawkins wrote the book The God Delusion about atheists having no faith, but he spends the balance of the book (400 pages) about what he believes!

All Science is Contingent
Proof only occurs in mathematics and in no other discipline like physics, biology, astronomy, etc. Outside of math and logic, science can pretty much only test to disconfirm some ideas, but not to confirm them. Any observation scientists think they understand just might be better explained by reasons not thought of or noticed yet. In practice scientists work with the best explanation available so far. That might include an element of known unknowns, things not fully grasped, or it might be the explanation looks so robust, a scientist thinks it incredibly likely they have the answer. Based on the robust nature of a possible solution they just work with it as if it is correct. Even there, the slimmest of outside chances exist that the conclusion is wrong for reasons not even yet considered. Scientists can only hope to know things well enough to provisionally grant them to be true. For example: If I have some theory that says all cars are black, seeing a non-black car proves me wrong; whereas seeing only black cars just shows that I have not been proven wrong yet.
Over time, as the science of a particular area moves on, it is often the case that older views of some entity are abandoned, and, in light of current theory, scientists no longer believe there ever were such things. Moreland recounts at least three major ‘dead’ scientific theories of how the electron works, which is an example that debunks the misconception that science is settled and therefore more authoritative.
The history and theory of the electron is hardly an isolated example. Wikipedia has an entire page devoted to “Superseded Scientific Theories,” ranging across the disciplines of biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy and cosmology, geography and climate, geology, psychology, etc. … But, then, is it hard to imagine that, in fifty or a hundred years from now, no one will any longer think it rational to believe in electrons as they are currently depicted? Given science’s track record for abandoning old theories and the alleged entities that populated them.

There is plenty of information, research, scholarly writing, and articles which show how science does not prove anything, but is always contingent and that this idea of ‘scientific proof’ is a myth; in other words, the core tenet of Scientism has created a myth in people’s minds.

Stay in Your Lane!  (Questions Science Fails to Answer)
Not all science is observable or repeatable. Abductive reasoning (inferring from the facts) is a method used when all facts or evidence are not available to test. This is another way of looking at things that is an essential part of the methodology of contemporary science, and that is the method of inference to the best explanation. There are areas of knowledge which the ‘hard sciences’ (physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, etc.) are unable to provide adequate commentary. Things which are related to immaterial qualities exhibit evidence of knowledge which are discoverable but are not testable in a lab, or repeatable using an experimental method; but this does not relegate them to the dustbin of ‘un-scientific’ knowledge. The facts of conscience, morality, purpose and meaning in life, spiritual inclinations of humankind throughout history are no less true simply because they are not experimented on in a lab. Powerhouse sources of knowledge like theology, philosophy, history, archeology, anthropology, sociology, architecture, engineering, etc. are used every day all over the world and throughout much of history. These sources of knowledge have helped and prospered billions of people. To say they are not a basis for knowledge is the grandest arrogance.

Five things science cannot explain, but theism can:
1. Origin of the Universe
2. Origin of the Fundamental Laws of Nature
3. Origin of Consciousness
4. Existence of Moral, Rational, and Aesthetic Objective Laws
and Intrinsically Valuable Properties
5. The Fine-Tuning of the Universe

The evidence is pervasive that the universe is precisely fine-tuned so that life could appear. More than a hundred independent, hard facts about the universe have been discovered in the form of basic constants of nature or arbitrary physical magnitudes which are, scientifically speaking, brute facts and for which there is no further scientific explanation. It should be clear why these discoveries shocked scientists and philosophers. These precisely balanced factors are: (a) contingent, (b) extraordinarily improbable, and (c) independently specifiable (they are exactly what is needed for there to be life).
Aristotle distinguished what he called four causes:
1. material cause (the physical material in the universe)
2. formal cause (the form into which the materials are shaped)
3. efficient cause (the work that shaped the material)
4. final cause (the purpose for which the material was made).

It is the fourth of Aristotle’s causes, the final cause, which is outside the scope of hard science. When scientists make statements that only science can deliver knowledge, they are guilty of self-refuting statements. Atheist Bertrand Russell states, ‘Whatever knowledge is attainable, must be attained by scientific methods; and what science cannot discover, mankind cannot know.” “It is one thing to suggest that science cannot answer questions of ultimate purpose. It is quite another to dismiss purpose itself as an illusion because science cannot deal with it.”
The statement, “Only what is testable by science can be true” will never itself be testable by science! This oxymoron is maintained by those who “believe” in Scientism because Scientism is philosophy, not science:
The irony is that strong scientism is a philosophical statement, expressing an epistemological viewpoint about science; it is not a statement of science, like “water is H2O” or “cats are mammals.” Strong scientism is a philosophical assertion that claims that philosophical assertions are neither true nor can be known; only scientific assertions can be true and known. Christians, therefore, should not be intellectually intimidated when they hear very smart people with advanced degrees sitting in positions of authority say things that are self-refuting.

The conclusions of science can only be as strong as its presuppositions; and all science operates on presuppositions. Our problem today is that even rational people like scientists have rejected their own origins of science. “In the history of Western thought, these assumptions have not always been embraced. Indeed, it is widely acknowledged as a matter of fact that the Christian view of God, especially as depicted in the Protestant Reformation, provided an intellectual ground for the assumption that the world is orderly.” It is mind-boggling to see how far these mental giants have fallen. The seeds of scientism were first conceived in the Enlightenment and have found their step-child in Postmodernism:
Of the many distinctions that have been attempted between modernism and postmodernism, perhaps this is the most common: modernism still believed in the objectivity of knowledge, and that the human mind can uncover such knowledge. In its most optimistic form, modernism held that ultimately knowledge would revolutionize the world, squeeze God to the periphery or perhaps abandon him to his own devices, and build an edifice of glorious knowledge to the great God Science. But this stance has largely been abandoned in the postmodernism that characterizes most Western universities. Deconstructionists have been most vociferous in denouncing the modernist vision.

The very fact that brilliant minds (or as we now must be ‘scientistically’ correct and only use the term, brains) can latch on to a debunked theory like evolution to protect their naturalistic presuppositions shows how they have traded the reality of Creation, supported by millennia of truth established in the Bible’s description of a designed world, for a creation myth like evolution.
Clearly, hard sciences do not have a monopoly on the truth. In actual fact they did not even invent the laws of logic and math. These fields pre-existed science. Most people are not aware of this fact:

Even though science appeals to the laws of logic and mathematics and thus presupposes them, it cannot justify them. Why? For one thing, logic and mathematics are a priori fields, that is, the relevant laws are warranted by direct rational awareness without any appeal whatever to sense experience. The sciences, however, are a posteriori discipline that crucially justify their laws and theories by appeal to empirical observations. (emphasis added)

The Laws of Logic are directly related to theories of Truth. These are:
Correspondence – the idea agrees with reality (required for every other truth theory)

Coherence – a proposition is true if and only if it coheres well with other propositions;
in other words, the idea agrees with the other data available.

Functional – it is true if it fulfills its intended purpose.

Pragmatic – it is true if it works or if it is practical
(gives rise to: “true for you, but not for me”)

There are also two elements common to a Test for Truth: Logic and Language. There are also various types of values and “oughts” which exist but cannot be determined by Scientism. There are at least three types of values that most scientists presuppose in their work: (1) moral values, (2) rational values, and (3) aesthetic values. “At its best, science can tell us what is the case, but it cannot tell us what ought to be the case; it describes but cannot prescribe. Since they involve oughts that prescribe, these three types of values are assumptions of science that science cannot justify.”
Truth, logic, morals, spirituality, rational and aesthetic values, etc. “are all philosophical claims, and the arguments for and against them are philosophical, not scientific. Thus, once again we see that science cannot justify its own assumptions, and weak and strong scientism are accordingly false.” In this postmodern time Scientism has usurped the authority of vast fields of knowledge which have been productive in the elevation of humankind. The “brain” of the developed world, higher education, has bought the deception of Scientism. Now this deception has spread through all levels of society and culture, which are brain-washed to believe a philosophic un-truth: science is superior in knowledge and the only genuine knowledge. Science has left its lane and is crashing into areas it does not belong. Francis Collins, Director of the Human Genome Project, also emphasizes this: “Science is powerless to answer questions such as ‘Why did the universe come into being?’ ‘What is the meaning of human existence?’ ‘What happens after we die?’”
“Science cannot hope to solve Ultimate Causes. In other words, science can never understand the foundation hidden below the appearance of phenomena in the universe.”

Cultural Conundrum
Brainwashing and gas-lighting have become pervasive in Western society. Sadly, much of the world is not always privy to the mass deception undermining the Christian and Western cultures they often admire. These ‘developing’ nations believe CNN is telling them the truth. I know this first-hand after living in Kenya, East Africa for 30 years as a missionary teaching higher education. Kenyans are dumbfounded by the erosion of Western values I point out. Because science equals knowledge and the West is “light years” ahead in most fields of knowledge, most are not aware, nor do they understand the nuances of the historical shift taking place away from genuine science toward Scientism. Sadly, again, even in the West the average citizen trying to live their fast-paced life have been caught off guard when their believing children return home having years of inculcation toward Christian, democratic values shattered by atheistic and scientistic professors.
What we are experiencing is an epistemological conundrum. The word conundrum has several possible meanings:

1. A question or problem having only a conjectural answer.
2. A paradoxical, insoluble, or difficult problem; a dilemma.
3. A conceit; a device; a hoax.

Scientistic speech is constantly giving conjectural answers as if they are fact. The gas-lighting makes it seem the paradoxical idea of only science bearing truth is somehow plausible. The deceitfulness of this hoax is continually played like a broken record and has brain-washed the last two generations. This scientism conundrum started when atheistic scholars, infiltrated institutions of higher education and has filtered down into the entire society. The gas-lighting continues through school textbooks, peer-review journals, popular magazines and newsprint, TV News, nature documentaries, scientific documentary series like Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, and even entire channels dedicated to science. Scientism is rife in all these avenues and inundates our society. Here are some telling scientistic quotes from Carl Sagan:

“Billions upon billions…” (his most famous quote)

“We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.”

[About religion] “I don’t want to believe. I want to know.”

“The Cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be.”

“Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people.”

(Falsely comparing the very devout Kepler’s Christian faith with science). “When Kepler found his long-cherished belief did not agree with the most precise observation, he accepted the uncomfortable fact. He preferred the hard truth to his dearest illusions. That is the heart of science.”

“The only sacred truth is that there are no sacred truths.” *
[Cosmos, PBS TV, 21 December 1980]

This paper does not have space to quote or give examples of many types of scientism manifesting in the communication matrix we find ourselves. Suffice it to say, the phrases often repeated multiple times in even just one TV program or magazine article, advertisements, etc., create a sense of inevitability by employing multiple logical fallacies such as: the Appeal to Authority, Circular Argument, Alphabet Soup, Bandwagon, Ad Hoc, etc. We often hear or see repeated phrases like:

Billions and billions of years ago …
Millions of years ago …
Over eons of time …
Mother Nature gives us …
Science proves …
Science tells us …
Scientists say …
Evolution caused …
Evolution gave us …
Through the process of evolution …
The evolutionary process …
Man evolved from …
Our evolutionary ancestors …
Global warming …
Carbon emissions …
Climate change …
Climate science …

Every one of these statements is emanating from an unproven theory. In many cases, the theories of evolution and global warming have no evidence and have even been shown repeatedly to be based on falsified data.
For example, the definition of Darwinian Evolution is: A theory of organic change claiming new species arise and are perpetuated by natural selection. This involves several major points which have never been supported by evidence:
1. It is a theory which has never been proven, yet it is continually communicated as if it is a proven fact.
2. It adamantly insists that new species (or as the Bible states it: ‘kinds’) are produced out of older species.
3. So this means: an invertebrate becomes a fish, becomes a reptile, becomes a mammal, becomes an ape, becomes a man.
4. The models never occur fast enough to fit into the time available for other scientific theories of the age of the universe.

Genetic studies are dismantling this spurious theory. Lack of evidence should have debunked Darwinian Evolution decades ago, but those who hate the idea of a personal Creator want it to be true, so they maintain the propaganda.
When you listen to what many top level academics say about “their religion” and how they venerate science it is not surprising the society and culture have been brain-washed and made biased toward other avenues of truth. According to philosopher of science Tom Sorell:

Scientism is the belief that science, especially natural science, is . . . the most valuable part of human learning . . . because it is the most authoritative, or serious, or beneficial. Other beliefs related to this one may also be regarded as scientistic, e.g., the belief that science is the only valuable part of human learning. . . .

Sorell also states, “What is crucial to scientism is not the identification of something as scientific or unscientific but the thought that the scientific is much more valuable than the non-scientific, or the thought that the non-scientific is of negligible value.” It is no wonder various sources of knowledge have been written off as irrelevant and seem to be perishing in people’s perspective, without even a whimper. They have been brain-washed and gas-lit to believe the scientific (ie. hard sciences) will always be superior to the non-scientific (ie. all other sources of knowledge).

Conclusion: Truth Cures Cancer
As the world is inundated by postmodern malaise, the brain of the world has had the cancer of Scientism injected deep inside through a corrupted university system. The avenues of communication through the media continue washing the world’s consciousness with the carcinogenic toxins of scientistic ideology.
Scientism at its core tries to selectively deny those aspects of knowledge which are arrived at via a priori epistemology. This is knowledge that is acquired independently of any particular experience, as opposed to a posteriori knowledge, which is derived from experience. The ‘hard’ sciences operate more in a posteriori methodology of experimentation to obtain knowledge in arguments from effects. Theology, philosophy, history, anthropology, etc. are ‘softer’ sciences only because they are arguments more from causes. The conflict has manifested primarily because some scientists and academicians seek to render knowledge from ‘soft’ science as inferior or even irrelevant. Their arrogance and hypocrisy is exposed by the presuppositions they hold. This false dichotomy seems to be primarily aimed at deconstructing the veins of knowledge which point to a Divine cause and a personal Creator. In this way Postmodernism and Scientism are strange bedfellows.
A priori propositions are related to synthetic logic: the predicate of which is not logically or analytically contained in the subject, therefore it is synthetic. Truth which is synthetic is verifiable independently of, or prior to, experience: a priori. Example propositions:
1. “Some bodies are heavy” is synthetic because the idea of heaviness is not necessarily contained in that of bodies.
2. “All husbands are male” is analytic because the idea of maleness is already contained in that of husband.

In general the truth or falsity of synthetic statements is proved only by whether or not they conform to the way the world is and not by virtue of the meaning of the words they contain. Synthetic a priori knowledge is central to the thought of Immanuel Kant, who argued that some a priori concepts are presupposed by the very possibility of experience.
To conclude I return to a quote from one of the intellectual originators of scientism: A.J. Ayer. “We do say that every synthetic proposition, however it may have been arrived at, must be subject to the test of actual experience.” Let him try that argument with any infinite value; or even the quantity called zero. The insistence that all genuine knowledge must be testable is an impossible and unnecessary standard. Ayer concludes his book saying that the philosopher can only be valid if they become scientists. Further, that only efforts adding to the growth of human knowledge are worth-while. He arrogantly claims to have dealt with most of the metaphysical problems in his little book.
Can the seemingly overwhelming tide of Scientism be counteracted? Can the nature of truth and how we arrive at truth be reestablished? Jesus affirms to us, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). Interestingly, the context of this statement involves Jesus disputing in the Temple with the most intelligent and influential leaders of that day, the Jewish Sanhedrin, scribes and Pharisees. They believed they had the truth and were the sole arbiters of the truth. The irony of this Biblical passage is astounding. These people of great knowledge were insisting they knew God and even had a monopoly on God while arguing with God in the flesh. The empirical fact God was standing in front of them did not change their grasp of this knowledge. They were so adamant in their stand that a short time later they successfully plotted to have God falsely tried, tortured and slaughtered in the most gruesome method mankind has devised: crucifixion.
Here, C. S. Lewis’ statement bares repeating: “Good philosophy must exist, if for no other reason, because bad philosophy needs to be answered.” Related to this idea is: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” A corollary to this idea is: “When bad men combine, good men must organize.” The simple statistical fact is: there are more Christians in the world than atheists. We don’t have to surrender but we must make an effort; we must make a stand for the truth. Scientism’s ideas are weak, the Truth of the Ages, Jesus Christ, is strong, and we are on His side.
Further, recent discoveries in astrophysics and genetics and the rise of the Intelligent Design movement are shaking scientism’s faulty foundations.

For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountain of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.

The enigmatic words of the prophet Daniel tell us, “[At] the time of the end, many will go here and there to increase knowledge” (Daniel 12:4b). In our hindsight we know this to be confirmed. The influence of materialism and scientism often creates an attitude that the spiritual or immaterial is lesser but in actuality it is greater. The Godhead is eternally Spirit and immaterial. This is a theological ‘proof’ that the physical is limited and secondary. We shall not surrender our heritage, nor our inheritance.


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1 Lawrence Principe, “Scientism and the Religion of Science,” in Scientism: The New Orthodoxy, ed. Richard M. Williams and Daniel N. Robinson (London:  Bloomsbury, 2015), 42.

2 “Wikipedia: List of Christians in Science and Technology,” Wikimedia Foundation, last modified April 10, 2022, 3:30pm,

3Further reading: David S. Landes, The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor (New York:  Norton Pub., 1999) and Cairns, Earle E.  Christianity Through The Centuries. Zondervan, 1996.

4Encyclopedia Britannica, s.vv. “Postmodernism and relativism,” accessed May 4, 2022 

5 J. P. Moreland, “Scientism and Secularism: Leaning to Respond to a Dangerous Ideology,” (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2018), 226-28.

6 Moreland, Scientism and Secularism, 257.

7  Étienne Gilson, The Unity of Philosophical Experience (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1937), 223.

8 Moreland, Scientism and Secularism, 203.

9 Moreland, Scientism and Secularism, p.28

10 Encyclopaedia Britannica, s.v. “Positivism,” accessed May 5, 2022,

11 A.J. Ayer, Language, Truth, and Logic (New York:  Dover Pub., 1952), 91.

12 C.S. Lewis, Abolition of Man (published lectures, 1943), 39-40.

13 Ayer, Language, 97.

14 Lewis, Abolition, 65-66.

15 Ayers, Language, 107-8.

16 Lewis, Abolition, 67-68.

17 Ayers, Language, 115.

18 Moreland, Scientism and Secularism, 25.

19 Ibid., 37.

20 Moreland, Scientism and Secularism, 39.

21 Ibid., 41.

22 Ibid.

23 Ibid.

24 Christopher Carbone, “Google Drops ‘Don’t be Evil’ Motto,”May 21, 2018,

25 Moreland, Scientism and Secularism, 41 quoting Daniel Callahan, “Minimalist Ethics,” The Hastings Center Report 11 (October 1981): 19–25.

26 Moreland, Scientism and Secularism, 42.

27 See also Sean Manchester, “The Faustian Circle,” posted March 5, 2015,

28 Moreland, Scientism and Secularism, 43.

29 David Kupellian, The Marketing of Evil: How Radicals, Elitists, and Pseudo-Experts Sell us Corruption Disguised as Freedom (Washington, DC: WND Books, 2005), chap.1.

30 Moreland, Scientism and Secularism, 44.

31 Ibid., 45.

32 Ibid., 34.

33 Moreland, Scientism and Secularism, 48.

34 Ibid.

35 Moreland, Scientism and Secularism, 226-28.

36 John Lennox, God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God? (Oxford:  Lion Hudson, 2009). See also John Lennox, interview by Eric Metaxas, “John Lennox: The Question of Science and God – Part 2,” Jan 23, 2018, YouTube Channel: socratesinthecity, discussing elements of God’s Undertaker.

37 Lennox, God’s Undertaker, 394.

38 Ibid., 451.

39 Norman L. Geisler and Turek, Frank, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2004), Chap 5, 516.

40 Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design (New York:  Random House, 2010), 5. 

41 Sir Peter Medawar, Advice to a Young Scientist (London:  Harper Collins, 1979), 31. See also his book The Limits of Science (Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 1984), 66.

42 James M. Tour, “Evolution/Creation,” August 2019, 

43 John Lennox, interview by Eric Metaxas, “John Lennox: The Question of Science and God – Part 2,” Jan 23, 2018, YouTube Channel: socratesinthecity,

44 Ibid.

45 Moreland, Scientism and Secularism, 103.

46 For further reading: Jack Fraser, “There’s No Such Thing as Proof in the Scientific World—There’s Only Evidence,” Dec 14, 2017, and Ethan Siegel, “Scientific Proof is a Myth,” Nov 22, 2017

47 Moreland, Scientism and Secularism, 203.

48 Bertrand Russell, Religion and Science (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1970), 243.

49 Lennox, God’s Undertaker, 87.

50 Moreland, Scientism and Secularism, 65.

51 Moreland, Scientism and Secularism, 75.

52 D. A. Carson, The Gagging of God (Grand Rapids, MI: Zonderan, 1996) 26.

53 This argument has been developed in different and powerful ways in C. S. Lewis, Miracles (New York: HarperCollins, 1947), chapters 2–4; Victor Reppert, C. S. Lewis’s Dangerous Idea (Westmont, IL: IVP Academic, 2003); Alvin Plantinga, Warrant and Proper Function (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), chapter 12.

54 Moreland, Scientism and Secularism, 86.

55 Ibid., 85.

56 Ibid.

57 Francis Collins, The Language of God. New York, The Free Press, 2006.

58 Santiago Ramón y Cajal, Advice for a Young Investigator (MIT Press, 1999) ProQuest Ebook Central,

59 Merriam Webster Dictionary, s.v. “Conundrum,” accessed May 10, 2022,, and The American Heritage Dictionary, “Conundrum,” accessed May 10, 2022

60 Marcos Eduardo Acosta Aldrete, “Carl Sagan IMDb Mini Biography,” accessed May 15, 2022, 

61 Tom Sorrell, Scientism: Philosophy and the Infatuation with Science (London: Routledge, 1991), 1.

62 Sorell, Scientism, 9.

63 Encyclopedia Brittanica, s.vv. “A Priori Knowledge,” accessed May 4, 2022, 

64 Ayer, Language, 118

65 Ibid., 150-153; esp. 153.

66 Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers (New York:  Norton, 2000), 106.

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