The Scientific Method
In this last post, I had explained a little bit about how using scientific methods to try and answer Christian claims makes no sense. When someone says “I am a man of science” in response to a Scripture reference, they show how little they actually know about science, and specifically the scientific method. But what exactly is the scientific method, and what makes it so incompatible with Scriptural analysis?
The scientific method doesn’t have a definition so much as a series of steps. I remember learning these steps in grade school; they are very basic and easy to remember. In general, they are as follows:
- Ask a Question
The method begins when somebody asks a question about something they observe.
- Form a Hypothesis
Make an educated guess as an answer to the question in step one.
- Research and Collect Data
Find relevant data by researching the topic, preparing to test your hypothesis.
Run multiple experiments to support or disprove the hypothesis. This step is extremely important, because without repeatable results, a hypothesis can’t be proven.
Review results and make a judgement about the hypothesis, based on experiment results.
It’s actually very surprising that so few people know the scientific method because of how simple it is. It does, however, explain why people throw around the word “science” to make an argument.
As you can read above, this method relies entirely upon observation. The proving or disproving of a hypothesis requires shareable observation: repeatable results from an experiment. This is why a “scientific community” is so important. A verifiable hypothesis is completely reliant upon others being able to repeat the success of an experiment.
Now let’s try switching gears to history. Is there any way that this method can be applied to claims or questions about an historical event? Since many think that somehow science disproves the claims of Scripture, certainly they must have applied this basic, fundamental method to them and found the Bible’s claims to fail experimentally, right?
Of course this sounds silly. Nothing about history can be observed and tested, so therefore using scientific methods to try and prove or disprove historical claims is absurd. The main way that we can know what has happened in the past is by evidence. The more reliable the evidence, the more likely the historical claims actually happened.
Let’s take this a little further. Have you ever wondered why evolution is a theory? So many people regard evolution as undeniable fact, and yet, using observational scientific methods, it is actually impossible to confirm the theory of evolution. The claims of evolution say that changes from species to species happen over very long periods of time, so therefore we cannot observe evolution.
However, there have been attempts to observe evolutions in living cells that have very short lifespans. Namely, E. Coli bacteria. Scientists can observe generations and generations of bacteria living and dying in a relatively short span of time. Thousands of iterations can be observed, passing traits and characteristics down from their ancestors.
This is all well and good; millions of generations, changes in DNA, observed mutations, and the like. Except as these experiments progressed, the ancestors of the first bacteria were still just bacteria. They were radically different, no doubt, but there was no change in what they were. The bacteria had evolved in a micro-sense, but not in a macro-sense (that is, there were changes in the bacteria itself, but no changes from bacteria to something else).
The one big problem with all of this is that evolutionists are doing exactly what we have been talking about: trying to mix scientific and historical methods! Because we cannot observe and test history, it is not possible to use standard scientific methods to find out what has happened in the past. What they’ve done is extrapolate current observations into the past to try and figure out what happened. It’s great for guessing, but it is hardly scientific! This is why evolution cannot be proven by scientific methods, and why it certainly takes faith to believe in something that cannot be observed.