here is no denying the fact that modern science has shaped our world in profound ways. Because of science, we are able to provide better medical care. We are able to travel around the world. We are able to predict the weather, and we are able to better observe the universe. In fact, the more scientific knowledge that we can acquire, the greater our ability becomes to improve the lives of humankind. For many young adults, however, it is this very knowledge that diminishes their apparent need or desire for there to exist an eternal ruler of the universe.
In a recent Poll by Pew Research Center, 31 percent of respondents under the age of 30 have doubts about the existence of God, compared to a mere 9 percent respondents aged 65 or older. Through this data, it becomes apparent that a generational divide is present in our country today. It is my opinion that much of this divide can be attributed to a shift in scientific education.
I think that everyone can agree that like religion, science is very much a belief as well. In the dictionary, science can be defined 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.” In remembering that definition, it is important to note that within the field of science, there are principles and theories, which cannot be directly or fully explained, and are generally accepted to be true. Take gravity for example. We cannot fully explain the concept, but we can observe its occurrence. Similar to gravity is the quantum theory, or the idea in which two entangled particles behave as a single physical object, no matter how far apart they are. Recently, through demonstration and experimentation, it has been found that such quantum particles seem to exist outside of space-time. The question then becomes, if we can believe in such inexplicable scientific theories, why, then, would it be ridiculous to believe in a God who exists outside of time? Why, then, would it be “unscientific” to believe that God can directly answer our prayers? If modern science can demonstrate to us that there are examples of extraordinary activities with measurable pro abilities, theologically there is no surprise that low probability events occur, performed by an omniscient God.
Firstly, it can be accepted that everyone seeks for the highest source of truth. On a daily basis, we all receive claims of things deemed to be truthful, and in fact we have ways of judging those truths. Some people may use senses, others may use logic, and still others may find such truth in theological books such as the Bible. But when we examine the basis of logic, or human explanation and rationalization, we find that logic on its own cannot stand. This is evidenced by logical fallacies. Take, for example, the story of Achilles and the Tortoise. In the story, Achilles and a tortoise are racing, and the tortoise has a head start. In catching up, Achilles keeps halving the distance between himself and the tortoise. But, because we keep adding 1/2, then 1/4, then 1/8 and so on, we get closer and closer to the number 1, but are never actually quite there. Therefore, Achilles can never mathematically reach the tortoise. But when such a race is seen in the real world, we could observe Achilles pass the tortoise and win the race.
Secondly, it can be accepted that every human being believes in an infinite start to the universe. For some this means the big bang, and for others this beginning is explained by the creation of the universe by God. As we trace scientific logicand religious belief back to this moment, we must eventually face the question of the original cause—the first uncaused cause. Such a question makes us choose between the belief in an eternal and all-powerful Creator of the Universe, or in an eternal atomic foundation composed of matter or anti-matter.
In the same way that a God cannot be scientifically proven or disproven, science also falls under that category. So then, we can determine that any assertion proved on an assumption is just as “faith based” as the initial assumption.
Keegan is a member of
the class of 2017.