Question #12 Does Science Disprove God?
QUESTION:[If science cannot disprove God], then why did Stephen Hawking [one of the brightest minds in the scientific field] write a book saying God does not exist?
I saw an article that said “Scientific proof for God’s existence”. I’ve often as well seen titles such as “Scientific proof God doesn’t exist” or “Science has shown that there is no God” and more lately, “Science shows God is not necessary”. All these, as intriguing as they sound, are quite misleading. To say science has shown God is not necessary is the equivalent of saying that rulers have shown that weighing scales are not necessary. It is simply a category fallacy. A category fallacy is asking a thing to be viewed in light of a category that it does not fall into. For example, asking the question, “How many pounds does the taste of banana weigh?” A taste has no weight, thus the question is a category fallacy.
We must first understand that God is an immaterial, non-physical being. A question of His existence is a metaphysical question (beyond physical), not a scientific question because science studies only the physical. Why then is this often used? Because of a false presupposition and worldview called scientism (I talk more about this at length in my second class in my apologetics course available in the web store). Scientism is the presupposition that the only way to gain knowledge of reality is through science. But is this true? Well the statement, “science is the only way to gain knowledge” is itself not a scientific statement. It is a philosophical statement about the nature of science. Thus it is a self-defeating statement which makes it a false one. Plus there are many more ways through which we can gain knowledge that the field of science can not touch. To name one, morality is also a metaphysical question that can not be accessed through science. To ask whether something is morally right or wrong is a question that science not only can’t answer but a question that science can’t even ask. So whether you’re an atheist or a Christian/theist we should not make these category fallacies and we have to stop acting as if science is the ONLY way to truth. Clearly we can gain truth about biology, chemistry, physics, etc. through science, but we must know its limits.
Moving on to the question of God and science, philosopher and scientist John Lennox explains how these two are different categories of explanation. For example if I were ask you to explain the existence of a jet engine and your only two options are the laws of physics/ mechanics or Frank Whittle, which one would you choose? Well its clearly a false dichotomy. Namely one explains how it works and the other explains why it exist at all. One is the explanation of mechanism, the laws of physics to the jet engine, and the other is the explanation of the agent, which is the mind that created it. Once again we must not confuse the two. It is no different when we explain the universe through science but understand the explanation is one of mechanism, not agency.
So why would a world renown scientist such as Stephen Hawking write a book saying God does not exist? Because although he is a brilliant scientist, he is a horrible philosopher. In one of his recent books, Hawkings says “Philosophy is dead”. The irony is that he devotes much of the rest of his book to making philosophical statements about God and science.
So we can see that science is neutral on metaphysical claims such as God’s existence. What science can do is provide evidence for a premise in an argument for God’s existence. The Kalam Cosmological argument is a good example which argues for God’s existence on the basis of the universe having a beginning. Cosmology can show that it in fact had a beginning and the conclusion from the argument would follow that God exist.
listen to the argument here
So just because an article reads, “Scientist have recently discovered” does not make it true. Especially when it is a category fallacy. When we can understand this we can see the absurdity. They may as well say, “Scientist have recently discovered the weight of the color purple”. So let us see science for what it is and it not and refuse to be misled by the false world view of scientism.
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2 thoughts on “Question #12 Does Science Disprove God?”
Scientism is silly. We need reason and logic to learn about the world too.
Scientists typically use methodological naturalism. This means they are going to try and learn as much as they can just by looking at the natural. Staying away from the supernatural. (this is slightly different than naturalism, which says the natural is all that there is)
The good scientists stay away from anything supernatural, although many do.
And likewise good philosophers shouldn’t try to use science to talk about their supernatural claims, although many do.
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