Faith and the Oort Cloud
Charles D. Marshall raised the following question in the talk.origins news group:
Hello. I don’t want to seem like I’m trying to put down scientific non-believers (I am a Christian and I also believe in creation [gasps in mock horror]). I just have seen many posts about how Christianity is a blind faith. I am a 16 year old male and I would appreciate any REAL questions or comments about my posts. My question is this:
This was my reply:
It works out like this. If you read talk.origins you are going to see a lot of posts slamming Christianity. That’s because there are a lot of atheists who feel pretty vehemently that Christianity is a crock. You are also going to see a lot of posts from people who feel that Christianity is the straight scoop and they want to get the word out. None of this has much of anything to do with Evolution vs Creationism except that most Creationists are Christians who insist on interpreting Genesis as literal history.
You see, scientists aren’t in the Faith business. When scientists say, as Oort said, there is a cloud of comets on the outer fringes of the solar system, it’s not a matter of faith (FAITH if you prefer). It might be true or it might not. One looks to the evidence. The better the evidence, the more likely it is true. Evidence can be either direct observation or inference. When one says a dog ran this way it might be because you saw the dog or because you saw dog tracks.
There’s another thing that scientists insist on when they talk about evidence. It has to be public evidence, something that other people can look at and verify; it’s not just personal testimony. And that has a lot to do with the difference between religion and science. There’s a powerful lot of evidence for Jesus but mostly it is in the form of personal testimony. That puts it outside the domain of science; a scientist, acting as a scientist, can’t say anything about Jesus or any other religion, one way or the other. It’s just not the kind of evidence that he works with.
Some scientists are fervent Christians, some Mohammedans, some are Bhuddists, some are atheists, and so on and so forth. What religion you are mostly doesn’t matter to science. I say mostly, because there are some variants of some religions that insist on ignoring the public evidence and insisting that things happened the way they think they happened, regardless of the evidence. That’s what’s going on with Biblical literalists. They want Genesis to be read as true literal history even though the evidence plainly says that it isn’t. The universe wasn’t created 6,000 years ago; there was no Noachian flood: life evolved. These are facts, worked out by a lot of patient research, sifting the evidence. As a Christian you have to deal with these facts. Most Christians who have considered the matter carefully don’t have a problem with that.
But there are some who do. It’s bad for them because it leads them down the path of “lying for God”, placing their own beliefs before God’s truth. Scientific Creationism is not just wrong, it’s a sin.
This page was last updated July 1, 1998.