September 18, 2014

Postmodern science and objective reality

by Jesse Johnson

One result of our culture’s post-modernism is its entirely modern love affair with its own view of science.

Once-upon-a-time, the word science referred to the scientific process: verifiable propositions, experimental procedures, and reproducible observations.

And today? Science may still mean that in the dictionary, but in popular culture? Not so much.

Instead, the concept of science stands in for anti-supernaturalism with a political agenda—which I assume has probably always been the case to some extent. But today’s science seems marked by a very unscientific illogical and contradictory nature exceeded only by its own level of dogma.

Some examples: The pro-abortion movement claims that science does not allow it to say that a baby in the womb is human life. Of course the baby is human, and is alive, but simply those observations are deemed “unscientific.” In fact, after Senator Marco Rubio was foolish enough to use the antiquated concept of science in this statement:

“Science is settled, human life beings at conception”

the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released a statement saying that they could not agree with Rubio, because they “approach everything from a scientific perspective.” They were fine saying that pregnancy begins with implantation, but the science is just not settled on if pregnancy and life are the same thing. Its not that they haven’t done the right research, but rather they can’t comment on the connection between human life and pregnancy because they approach everything from a “scientific perspective” (one blogger described this as “being super confused about where babies come from”).

Meanwhile, there is this picture of a baby born at 24-weeks. The baby did not survive:

'She's a human not a foetus': Mother wants to challenge abortion laws after giving birth at 24 weeks

No word on the scientific perspective on this.

Another example: yesterday AOL news used this headline: “Global warming likely to cause colder winters.” The lede said, of course, that “Scientists now believe that global warming is to blame for extreme cold snaps in North America.” If scientists say so.

Which leads to the news this month that polar ice is actually increasing, scientists say. Which is good news according to some scientists, but bad news according to others—after all, it could break out into “global cooling” (the actual phrase used, without irony, in the International Science Times, and attributed to “scientists”).

Note the irony that this all comes seven years after “the science was settled” and the polar ice caps would likely disappear by the year 2014. Well then.

Non-Christians I know (and many Christians too) often wonder why pastors who may be otherwise respectable suddenly sound like raving, backwards luddites when it comes to “science.”

Why does it have to be the Christians who bring up the fabricated science and outright lies—remember the hockey stick graphs!—behind global warming?

One reason is because the same people who say science is settled on the global warming—or possibly cooling—also dogmatically say they know how old the earth is. They are as confident in our shared ancestry with monkeys as they are in the original big-bang—but have no idea if a fetus is human life. By the way, are those pesky ice caps still around? I thought the science was settled?

So I don’t mind being the backwards, young-earth, six-day-creationist. I can compare my world view to the dogma and self-proclaimed intellectual superiority of science with confidence.

Tyson can tell his 2.41 million twitter followers (!) that religious people have no place in any authority because they lack an objective reality. My retort: his form of science is confused about where babies come from, fabricates its findings, and ultimately ends up denying the creator for the sake of creation. That track record hardly counts as being founded in objective reality.

Jesse Johnson

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Jesse is the Teaching Pastor at Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, VA. He also leads The Master's Seminary Washington DC location.
  • Johnny

    This was an excellent post. Especially with abortion, its difficult to understand how there could be these so-called voices of “science” that can justify the practice of killing viable (and pain-experiencing) human lives in the womb. This isn’t “science” speaking that states this isn’t life: its dark, sick human depravity.

  • Josh


  • Lyndon Unger

    What’s even better is the constant contradictions between legal rulings on infanticide and abortion.

    If in utero infants are not people, nobody should ever be charged with 2 counts of murder when they kill a pregnant woman…but that happens regularly.

    But if the woman is the murderer, all of a sudden the infant is no longer a person.

    • As long as she pays someone for it and the government gets something out of it. Remember, that is the important part of “choice” and infanticide – someone has to get paid – and it has to be the right people. Else it would be approved to be done outside a clinic or with drugs not regulated like morning after pill.

  • I enjoyed this – scientists are contradictory, at best. At worst, they seem very confused. 🙂 Glad I know the ONE Who is not in the least bit confused about any of this. 🙂

  • Perri Nelson

    Mr. Tyson’s tweet reminds me of statements made by Steven Hawking in “The Grand Design” that science concludes there is no objective reality, only “model based reality”. Based on his own standards, scientists should not be making decisions that affect other people.

  • Brad

    Is it correct to say that Christianity is the religion that is most closely founded on “objective reality” (i.e. the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus)? It seems like Christianity might be the only religion that could be verified – or proven wrong – by objective facts. Is that correct?

    • Thats a great point Brad. 1 Cor 15. If those objective statements are not also objective reality, then lets pack our bags and go home.

    • Absolutely, Brad. Which is why I actually agreed with the tweet in the post. I have no idea who this guy is, but I thought it was quite accurate.

  • r

    “Some examples: The pro-abortion movement claims that science does not
    allow it to say that a baby in the womb is human life. Of course the
    baby is human, and is alive, but simply those observations are deemed

    Actually, more and more abortion activisits are fully willing to admit that the thing inside the womb prior to birth is in fact a human baby and is alive and is a person.

    You would think that upon such admission, the automatic response would be something like, “Oh, then that baby is to be afforded all the full rights of a basic human being, including the right to be carried to term and birthed.”

    However, that’s not the case. The response has been “Ok, so it’s alive. Big deal. The mother’s desires still trump the baby’s right.”

    In other words, they are fully admitting that it’s okay to murder an innocent, pre-birth baby.

    Total depravity, anyone?

  • Brad

    I learn so much from the Cripplegate posts, but I am on mission to unbelievers and I often have a difficult time relating what you said to unbelievers. Do you think you could help me do that? I was wondering if you could do that by emailing me a manuscript of how you would talk about these issues with an unbeliever.

  • vinas46

    Excellent post, Jesse.

  • 4Commencefiring4

    Isn’t it interesting how the christian community is always termed “anti-science” by the secularists when it comes to matters of cosmic origins or anthropology, but when it comes to our own “origins” in the womb, it’s the “scientific community” that is “anti-science.”

  • kevin2184

    I’m a “backwards, young-earth, six-day-creationist” too.

  • And now it seems that Dr. Tyson has been, rather Caneresquely, fabricating quotes used in his popular lectures. His fabrications are scientifically verifiable as having been repeatedly observed.