Does Science Equal Truth?
Well, this has been a long time coming, but if I am being completely honest with all of you, I am positively giddy about this article. Some of this is due to the fact that I am a giant nerd…but most of it is because today I begin working through a body of work that I have been meandering through for close to a decade. So without wasting anymore time let’s get down to business.
In school, we are taught time and time again that what is real is what we can sense. Our five senses become indicators of truth and anything outside of those indicators are pushed within the boundaries of myth, exaggeration, or imagination. As we grow older, these ideas are pounded into our brains with increasing frequency and intensity. With age the arguments become more complex and nuanced which only increases their potency. Without exposure to other ways of thinking, a K-12 education will make you and your children effectively indoctrinated into a myth even more pervasive than the boogie man.
To answer the question above the simple answer is a resounding NO. Science (at least today’s understanding of it) does not, cannot, and never will equate to truth. Anyone stating otherwise is not only dishonest in doing so, they are woefully ignorant of the philosophical under pinnings of such a thought. Before we go any further it is important that we define the word science. Now this may seem to have a simple answer, but I assure you it is not. The definition of science is complicated, multi-faceted, and politically driven. So science is defined in Oxford’s Dictionary as, “The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.” Seems simple enough, right?
The unfortunate reality is that the above is NOT the used or understood definition within the scientific community. According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, science is defined two fold; 1) Science is human’s honest and earnest pursuit of knowledge about nature-which includes human and (living or nonliving) non-human systems, i.e., all simple and complex systems- without bringing in God or any supernatural (entity). 2) The essence of science is its secularity and the required reality check (which differentiates science from other forms of knowledge).
Quite the divergence isn’t it? In the original definition we see that it is defined as the systematic study of the natural and physical world through observation and experimentation. This definition shows that science is unbiased in its attempt to understand how the physical world works. The definition given by AAAS is quite different. Within their definition there is more concern for excluding God than in affirming what science actually is. Now, please know, AAAS is not some backwater crazy atheist organization…it is the single LARGEST scientific organization in the world. If this is shocking to you, that’s ok it was shocking to me too. Now this dogmatic, closed minded, arrogant, dare I say religious stance does not come out of thin air. It is something that has been fostered by atheists for centuries as they have worked to systematically cut God out of our society (a feat they have been quite successful in).
Two driving philosophies behind AAAS’ understanding of science are naturalism, and empiricism. Empiricism is, “The theory that all knowledge is based on experience derived from the senses.” In other words knowledge is derived from what we can taste, touch, smell, hear, and see, if that sounds familiar then it should. This is the philosophical worldview that we begin learning at a very small age. Naturalism is, “A philosophical viewpoint according to which everything arises from natural properties and causes, and supernatural or spiritual explanations are excluded or discounted.” This is the philosophy that all that exists has come about by way of natural processes and ONLY natural processes. Naturalism becomes the apparent theme of science-based inquiry the higher into the spectrum of science you go.
These two concepts are the driving force behind the modern understanding of science, and to be honest they are both completely and totally unfounded. Both concepts restrict knowledge into such a small window that anyone claiming objectivity ultimately makes themselves out to be a liar as neither of these philosophical worldviews are objective. It is a power grab where those holding to these philosophical predilections close off other avenues of inquiry in order to ascertain and understand ourselves, each other, and the world that we live in.
After looking at the etymology (study of words, their formation, and their origin) of science I was interested to find that even the Oxford Dictionary’s definition strays considerably from the word’s actual meaning. The word comes from a few different places most notably from the Latin word scientia meaning knowledge or a knowing. Another form of scientia, scire holds with it the inference of separating or distinguishing one thing from another. The old English root of the word sceadan means to split or divide and is the linguistic cousin to the Greek word schizien, which is where we get our term schizophrenia from (just an interesting tid bit). In an honest understanding of the word science according to its history is representative of all studies attempting to systematize knowledge into identifiable, knowable patterns. For much of the 18-19th centuries the word was used consistently in conjunction with systematic theology and biblical interpretation practices. As secular naturalists co-opted the word and the Church began using other terms.
So does science equate to truth? No, not by a long shot. In fact we’ve seen that the definition of science has become so jaded that it has essentially begun pushing for a secularist worldview as the ONLY worldview worthy of intellectual honesty. The reality however is that science is just as slanted, dogmatic, closed minded, and ideologically driven as religion. If this was not the case, then the definition now used by AAAS would not exist and the term would still retain some of its etymological meaning. The reality is, it doesn’t. In my next article I will work through how science can be a part of the equation which helps us find truth but is far from the best litmus test for it. I hope you have enjoyed reading this and that you learned some things about how science has been taken hostage by secularists and atheists. Peace and blessings and as always thank you for reading.
All definitions beside the definition presented regarding AAAS’ definition of science come from the Oxford Dictionary. AAAS definition can be found here.