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Meditation 350
Required Knowledge

by Maarten van den Driest

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In Meditation 343, I made a passing remark about how much knowledge or intellectual capacity is actually needed to be a Christian. It lately occurred to me that the same could be said about science. Further more, science may require an effort of will as well.

Most agnostics posting on this site are easily able to explain the scientific method in easy one-syllable words. For some reason, some people still fail to grasp the concept. They simply don’t see the difference between the ‘truth’ of science and the ‘truth’ of their religion.

These are two different concepts of truth and you have to be able to understand the difference between them to even begin the understand the debate on Evolution versus Creation.

It is clear that we cannot expect all people to have the intelligence and/or education needed to understand all this. It simply isn’t so.

Why should not the God of the Bible have Created the world? It plainly says so here in my Bible. Why shouldn’t those fossil dinosaur bones be a test from the Almighty to see if we rather believe some grubby scientist rather then Him? Why do we actually have to accept those unnatural homosexuals? We shirk from the prescribed death sentence maybe, but still. Why should be accept those long numbers as truth when we have the Book that safely guided our ancestors through twenty centuries?

Personally, I can answer all these questions without too much effort but not everyone can. Also, why should anyone believe me? I have found a comfortable synthesis between the two systems but is there a strong reason I should have?

My point is that there is really nothing in the whole of science that forces anyone to accept it. It is a fact that scientific explanations don’t really fit perfectly all the time and usually theories describe only a tiny part of reality. The Bible does actually offer answers to the big questions in life. They may look like easy cop-outs and that is because they are but they do explain. (An example would be: That is God’s will.) It takes a continuously enquiring mind to make this easy explanation lose its appeal.

Contrary to popular belief, science cannot answer those big questions. While psychology may be very good in curing mental illnesses, it can never tell us ‘why we are here’, ‘what our purpose is in life’ and such things. Physics can maybe describe what happened right after the start of the universe but it can not explain why there is a universe.

Moreover, I can quite easily do without the theories around Evolution in every day life, and without quantum mechanics and psychology and non-standard analysis. The point could be made that I wouldn’t have one light bulb functioning in my house without science but this can be ignored pretty easily.

My point is that a person has to want to look further out than the tip of his nose and further, that science isn’t naturally and obviously more true than any other way of looking at the world. This is especially true for people who don’t have to intelligence and/or education necessary to grasp basic scientific concepts.

For those with a rationalistic outlook on life (I include myself in this group), it would be a good idea to keep this in mind. It saves time and aggravation when talking to others, especially those with a magical-religious view. I now believe that is easier to point out the deficiencies and inconsistencies in the views of believers than trying to prove science should reign supreme because of itself.