Regarding “Truth” September 16, 2009Posted by Treehopper in astronomy, catholic, opinion.
Tags: astronomy, catholic, christian, evolution, faith, opinion, religion
Who’s Truth Is It Anyway?
As I’ve stated elsewhere, I’m neither a scientist nor a theology scholar. I do, however, have my feet solidly in both camps as a serious student of both astronomy and Catholic Christian theology. This often leads to a precarious balancing act, especially when in full view of the prevailing academic atheism that has been so popular in our institutions of higher learning for the past several generations. So to echo Pilate’s rather indelicate question, just what is truth? Does one side or the other have an exclusive claim to truth? Does a person of faith today have to travel incognito with regard to his religious beliefs or be prepared to take one on the chin by his irreligious peers?
At the very end of the August 2009 issue of Sky & Telescope in the “Focal Point” editorial article (page 86), a trio of astronomers from the University of Texas at Austin collectively penned an opinion piece titled, “Keeping Science Safe.” These authors use such charged terms as “insidious” to describe the efforts of so-called “Intelligent Design” proponents, and referred to their worldview as “antiquated” and “antiscientific.” To these astronomers and their “worldview”, one must flash their skeptic’s credentials at the door before being admitted to the halls of “true science.” The irony here is that while accusing the opposing camp of running an agenda, their own pre-conceptions are laid bare. To wit, there is no room in modern academia for faith in a Creator.
Such a notion runs face-on into the historical record of such luminaries in the field of astronomy such as Copernicus, Galileo, Brahe, Kepler, Newton, et al. Go beyond astronomy into other fields, and you’ll find a small army of equally notable names; all whose contribution to science is undisputed, and all of whom expressed a religious faith. One need not argue too vehemently that the scientific method itself owes a great deal of its foundations to men whose consciences were formed by fervent faith in God.
Who owns the deed on truth?
Certainly if you approach many of today’s scientists and scholars, they will boldly assert that the methodology and modes of science are squarely in the territory of the learned skeptic. Many of those in the scientific community who do have a latent belief in the supernatural are encouraged to keep it buried, if for no other reason than job security. If you happen to be so brazen as to suggest equal time or fair treatment to the “keepers of the truth”, you’ll be broadly painted with the pejoratives (and worse) such as used in the S&T article referenced above.
There should be more than ample territory for both science and theology. When you get down to it, there isn’t (or at least shouldn’t be) scientific truth over there, theological truth over here, and never the twain shall meet. Truth is truth. The two camps have slightly different aims and purposes, and while faith can’t answer the very pointed scientific questions, it’s equally true to say that science cannot address the broader questions of existence (why are we here, what is our purpose, etc.?) Like faith and reason, science and theology almost need one another to compliment and complete one another.
Who’s Side Are You On?
Brother Guy Consolmango, author of best-selling astronomy volume titled “Turn Left At Orion” and himself a man of both science and faith, made a statement in a video I recently viewed. He said, “Science does not seek to prove anything. Science only observes.” Assuming for the sake of argument this statement is accurate, then it seems to me that a great number of assertions are made by the scientific community that do not fit this criteria. Among these are evolutionary mechanics; while I don’t whole-heartedly embrace the “irreducible complexity” model, there is merit to some of their protests—namely, how can evolutionary processes (which many state take hundreds or even thousands of generations to take place) adequately address the environmental requirements of species before they die off waiting for those changes to take place?
Now geneticists are quick to chime in on how much DNA we have in common with primates, and how this “proves” Darwinian-flavored evolution. What often gets left out is that we also share a great deal of DNA with certain flora as well…neither of which is prima facie evidence that I am a monkey’s uncle or a distant relative of the rutabaga.
My point is, there’s enough wiggle room on the scientific side of the scales for honest inquiries (and yes, even protests) from folks who have alternative theories (many of which fit the observations of the established sciences better than the accepted models.) No one is suggesting that we shoe-horn flat-earthers into the classrooms in the interest of equal time. What is being put forth is the notion that, in the absence of irrefutable empirical evidence, other theories (even opposing theories) be allowed to be aired for consideration without a prejudiced rush to label opponents as “antiscientific” or “antiquated.”