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I Just Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be a Scientist

Aug 19, 2011

Real science, properly done, has been, and will continue to be, a real boon and blessing to humanity. But when scientists allow themselves to become mere propagandists for some trendy activist agenda, then we need to be very worried indeed. And the history of science tells us that this happens far too often.

Instead of sticking with hard, cold data and facts, scientists can just as likely fall prey to ideology, agendas, bias, peer pressure, financial interests, cravings for fame, popularity and status, and so on. And scientists can be just as gullible as anyone else.

That scientists are mere humans, and are therefore just as susceptible to fraud, deceit, ego, bias, and publicity-seeking as anyone else, should be not hard to comprehend. Simply putting on a white lab coat does not transform ordinary human beings into totally incorruptible, completely neutral, fully objective, and totally rational super-beings.

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Indeed, plenty of books have documented all the pretty lousy things done in the name of science over the years. As but one example, consider the helpful 2001 volume by Daniel Greenberg which I review here: www.billmuehlenberg.com/2004/08/22/a-review-of-science-money-and-politics-political-triumph-and-ethical-erosion-by-daniel-greenberg/

Indeed, some of the things scientists come up with most normal people would find just too hard to swallow. Indeed, it would take too much blind faith to buy some of the nonsense they can push at times. On such occasions they have clearly taken leave of their scientific senses, and instead simply have both feet planted firmly in midair.

I have written before about examples of this. But a news item in today’s press probably takes the cake on all this. Consider the headline for starters: “Aliens may destroy humanity to protect other civilisations, say scientists”. I kid you not. I am not making this up folks.

As reported in today’s Guardian, here is how the story begins: “It may not rank as the most compelling reason to curb greenhouse gases, but reducing our emissions might just save humanity from a pre-emptive alien attack, scientists claim.

“Watching from afar, extraterrestrial beings might view changes in Earth’s atmosphere as symptomatic of a civilisation growing out of control – and take drastic action to keep us from becoming a more serious threat, the researchers explain.

“This highly speculative scenario is one of several described by scientists at Nasa and Pennsylvania State University that, while considered unlikely, they say could play out were humans and alien life to make contact at some point in the future.

“Shawn Domagal-Goldman of Nasa’s Planetary Science Division and his colleagues compiled a list of plausible outcomes that could unfold in the aftermath of a close encounter, to help humanity ‘prepare for actual contact’. In their report, Would Contact with Extraterrestrials Benefit or Harm Humanity? A Scenario Analysis, the researchers divide alien contacts into three broad categories: beneficial, neutral or harmful.”

So there you have it folks: our hard-earned taxes being put to good use by the scientific community. Gee, with eggheads like these guys, no wonder so many ordinary people do not exactly give science the highest of marks. Just what sort of moonbattery is this?

Indeed, it might be far wiser to say that we should put scientists into three broad categories: beneficial, neutral or harmful. In this case, it seems that harmful is the most obvious category for these fruitloops. Delusional might be another category. Or whacko.

And we are all supposed to bow down and worship at the altar of science when these folks come up with zingers like this? Atheists like Dawkins regularly chide people of faith, claiming they are out of touch with reality and living in la la land. We are instead to put all our trust in science, he and others insist.

Sorry bub, but I’m just not buying it. Sure, we can just dismiss this particular case as a few nutters going off the planet here. But the troubling thing is, so often those who defend science as the only source of objective knowledge and truth will go on and on about how religious folk depend upon nothing but faith, superstition, and incredulity.

If this bizarre episode is not an example of just that, then I don’t know what is. And as I mentioned, this is not the only case like this which can be cited. The sad truth is, science is not the saviour, scientists do not have all truth, and scientists can and do get it wrong – often.

Appreciate science – yes, within proper limits. But hold up science as the end all and be all, and the only fount of knowledge and truth? Sorry, not me. It often takes far too much faith to hop on board the latest “scientific” bandwagon. I would rather deal with reality, not science fiction.

www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/aug/18/aliens-destroy-humanity-protect-civilisations

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30 Responses to I Just Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be a Scientist

  • Hi Bill. When I saw the article title I thought, “Hey I just read an article which makes me think of this subject,” and then of course realised we’ve been reading the same thing.

    This ‘study’ seems to have failed to consider that any hypothetical alien equivalent of the Greens wouldn’t be developing the technology for interstellar travel, let alone burning the impossible amounts of energy required.

    As for Dawkins, I remember hearing him say that he’d be okay with “intelligent design” if we were designed by aliens rather than God, or something to that effect. *sigh*

    Dominic Snowdon

  • Thanks Dominic

    Yes quite right. Plenty of other winners could be cited here. What about the atheist scientist Francis Crick, who developed the idea of “directed panspermia”? He said – presumably with a straight face – that life might have been intentionally spread throughout space and seeded on the surface of other worlds by aliens.

    He evidently thought it took less faith to believe that foolishness than to accept the concept of a creator God.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • G’day Bill,

    The search for extraterrestrial life is a multi-million dollar business. It has gone on for 50 years and counting, with some of the best minds in the business. Evolutionary scientis are desperate to find life out there, because statistically, given evolutionary presuppositions, and the billions and billions of stars and planets, that must be out there, life must have arisen somewhere, sometime. The only trouble is that so far they’ve found nothing. This doesn’t prove the existence of God, but it does put a question over evolutionary science that insists that there’s no God. I too don’t have enough faith to be that kind of scientist.

    Andrew Campbell.

  • Thanks Andrew

    Yes there are many reasons why scientists who are naturalistic (atheistic) in orientation want to find life elsewhere. A major reason is to downplay the uniqueness of human beings, and therefore undermine the biblical doctrine of the creation of man as being in the image of God.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I would have checked to see this was not April 1st. I remember seeing the film many years ago ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still ‘made in the 1950’s. The theme from memory was our atomic weapons that were a threat to the universe; I think the Earth faced annihilation from our alien neighbours if they didn’t do something about it. I think some of these guys have watched too many films.
    Carl Strehlow

  • With the space shuttle missions winding up, these particular NASA scientists will all have to move to Hollywood as script writers for sci-fi movies. Tom Cruise, Operating Thetan level 7, and his Xenu followers in TCoS, will welcome any sci-fi tripe they promote as ‘science.’ Or religion.
    Operational scientists cringe when they hear of the media hype that follows the theoretical scientists’ latest ‘hallucinogenic’ ravings.
    The media lap it up and regurgitate it as though ‘the science was settled,’ as one politician puts it.

    Some scientists need to ‘dream’ outside the box, but most science is droll or repetitive. Hypotheses tested and rejected is the most common form of practical science, but because of it, science generally advances slowly, sometimes in the right direction.
    Sometimes it only chases the research grant money or PC agenda of the government research grant system, hence we have had the equivalent fantasy with ‘Global Warming’ advocates.
    Shalom.
    Michael Evans

  • Bill,
    This would be so laughable if it wasn’t so serious. The first thought that occurred to me, was , “Here is someone else to be afraid of !” There is no end of people we are to be afraid of “offending”. There’s “world opinion”, so we must uphold our international obligations! Then there’s the “threat of sanctions if we don’t have a carbon tax. Now there’s aliens whom we don’t know exist, but we know they might get really cross with us if our atmosphere threatens other interplanetary (implied) civilisations, so we better stop the AGW.

    Please excuse me for a minute or two, as I need a stiff drink from my Sanity Six-pack reserve to go another paragraph or two.

    But do you see a pattern here? I do. We are all being pushed by a threat and its fearful consequences if we don’t knuckle under to some deprivation of power and liberty.
    It’s no wonder that “men’s hearts (physical and personal) are failing them for fear.”
    God has been replaced by World opinion, International obligations, Science, the UN, etc, and now non-existent aliens. With these substitute authority figures, there is no mercy or grace, or love, only conditional existence. It is also striking that the concept of an authority figure cannot be gotten rid of, but the nature of it and the relationship with it has changed.
    You’ll have to excuse me again, I need another charge before I go out ‘an do my bit to save planet earth, and throw back the aliens, but I dunno wot to do about the excess hot air comin’ outta Canberra and NASA. Any helpful suggestions would be really appreciated.
    Robert Greggery

  • The important thing to these militant atheists is the need to “establish” that they themselves are not, and will not become, subject or subservient to anything. No one and nothing is “above” (in any sense) them, and there can be be no consequence to their actions (providing they make sure to evade – or change – the law of the land); “Consequence insulation”. This is why they’re atheists.
    I call this “science” Politically Driven or Ideologically Determined science.
    John Thomas, UK

  • Hi Carl, I was about to make a reference to “The Day the Earth Stood Still”, but you beat me to it! One of the best sci-fi films of the 50s – or any decade, for that matter.

    And yes, a very bizarre claim, to say the least.

    Scott Buchanan

  • As others have hinted at above, the idea that life exists in other parts of the universe is a corollary of belief in evolution. If life arose spontaneously here on Earth then by simple extrapolation it must have also happened elsewhere in the universe. The problem for this kind of thinking is that life didn’t spontaneously arise here – it was specially created by a God who also created the rest of the universe simply for our benefit. So it’s highly unlikely that there is life anywhere else in the universe, especially not any ‘intelligent’ life.

    The other thing is, these ‘scientists’ haven’t explained how the imaginary aliens would from their distant observations that might indicate a small rise in the CO2 component of our atmosphere, differentiate the increase as being due to anthropogenic causes and not natural ones?

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria

  • Since when did Aussie tax dollars go to NASA???! 🙂

    Jereth Kok

  • Thanks Jereth

    Hey, I used “our” in a very generic sense, seeking to show some solidarity with our overseas friends!

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Saw a good response to this recently: the nearest planet where intelligent life (ie similar to man) could exist (which I do not believe in anyway) is so far away, that it would take many hundreds if not thousands (the details are not important) of years, for light from the earth to reach it. So it would be, say, a thousand years from now before they could detect any imagined effects of “global warming”. The whole concept is utter nonsense. Haven’t people anything better to do than spout this sort of nonsense?
    Jerome Gonzalez

  • Research science is driven by government funding, which in turn is driven by trendy and political causes. So much for objectivity in science.
    Gary Morgan

  • I too read that article on the way home in the train. When I arrived home I announced to my Better Half (yes she truly is) that I had become a Greens supporter due to this very disturbing article I had just read. She was somewhat confused. I handed her the article and went through to the next room. Her rising laughter soon filtered down the hallway.

    Quite coincidentally, earlier the same day I saw a funny cartoon on an office wall. Two little guys standing near a cut-down tree, with cans and rubbish lying around. One says “the best proof I have of intelligent life on other planets is that none of them have ever bothered to contact us”.

    David Williams

  • Aliens…hmm, this PhD on CNN reckons a fake alien attack would improve the economy. Here With the proliferation of alien flicks at the movies at the moment you would have to wonder what they are up to. Priming the people for something.
    Jeffrey Carl

  • Man created in the image of god? Goodness me, the sheer arrogance of you religionists never fails to impress me!
    Harry H Corbett

  • Thanks Harry

    Man created in the image of man? Goodness me, the sheer arrogance of you anti-religionists never fails to impress me!

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • We aren’t “created” in the image of anyone or anything. We have evolved into this physicality. Oh right, you don’t believe in science….
    Harry H Corbett

  • Thanks again Harry

    I certainly believe in science, but not scientism. Indeed, I am aware of how modern science historically arose out of the Christian worldview, and most of those early scientists were Christians.

    But no I certainly don’t believe in mindless speculation which says something came from nothing, life came from non-life, personhood came from non-personhood, meaning came from non-meaning, purpose came from non-purpose, and intelligence came from non-intelligence. Sorry, I just don’t have enough faith to believe such nonsense.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Sorry to keep bringing back the “H” word, but I was listening the BBC news a few mornings ago and I heard that scientists in California has found a colony of finches where homosexual behaviour was the norm. The news item was not related to anything else. Out of all the scientific investigations being carried out in the World only this one seemed worthy to be highlighted. It made no mention of who or what the scientists were, or whether they themselves were gay or aliens from the Pink Planet.
    www.bbc.co.uk/nature/14479670

    The BBC has a long track record of pumping out Hegelian propaganda. Listen to the lovely Rev, Sharon Ferguson explaining how modern science has shown that children brought up by lesbians are better off than being brought up in normal homes:
    www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00bqcs2

    Indeed Professor Dawkins lays out his own theory for the genetic justification of this evolutionary development:
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHDCAllQgS0

    Finally listen to the gay primary school teacher, John Harold, enthusiastically telling teachers of the same feather how he wrote a play for his kids based upon the “true,” story, “Tango makes Three” about two gay penguins raising a baby chick, in a zoo. The only scientific aspect of this presentation is the evidence it shows for the gay brain having become totally degraded.
    Slide the bar to 3 minutes 20 seconds.

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=ornkc0cFrms

    David Skinner, UK

  • It is a readily observable fact that closed inbred communities degenerate – looks like those inside that little loop have become deranged, not unlikely when we consider that many among them have a level of faith which allows them to believe that the cosmos just evolved, all by itself, following a big bang, prior to which presumably there was literally nothing; except one incredibly dense speck of matter (origin not discussed) – order emerging spontaneously out of chaos and it is that way because it is and if it wasn’t we wouldn’t be here – so there! Very scientific.
    Anna Cook

  • Hi Bill,

    Christianity offers no explanation as to where all the matter (hydrogen) in the universe came from either. I suspect that will be a question that will remain unanswered for quite some time. As to all the other elements on the periodic table, a simple study of a star’s life cycle tells us the rest. There was an interesting article today where they have reported to have found a 3.4 billion year old fossil in WA. that lived without oxygen and use sulfur as their energy source. Such bacteria are still present today. Where/how did life start?? Who knows but it is interesting finding out.

    Ben Green

  • Thanks Ben

    Actually the Judeo-Christian worldview offers a full explanation for the creation of matter, the universe, life, and human beings. Whether atheists approve of that explanation is another matter. But the real question is whether naturalistic explanations come anywhere near as close to being rationally fulfilling and logically coherent.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I’m certain that the idea that everything has come from nothing, by chance, undirected accidental, processes, requires a very, very strong inner need, and the suspension of all critical/rational processes, for its acceptance. It’s much, much more likely that everything was created by my cat.
    John Thomas, UK

  • Hi Bill,

    If what you mean by explanation is Genesis, I would be most interested to read the section which explains the life cycle of stars. What did God create matter from? As you say, you cannot create something from nothing.

    From a Judeo-Christian worldview point, what will happen to our sun in the long term?

    Ben Green

  • Thanks Ben

    But you are confusing your account of origins with mine. It is your naturalism and evolutionism which seeks to argue that something came out of nothing. Or, some of your side proposes that matter has always existed. But that view is not held by many scientists today.

    My view says an eternal, omnipotent and omniscient God created the universe and all that is in it. This same God continuously sustains and upholds it as well. And a new heaven and new earth will one day be forthcoming according to Scripture. So this world is not the end of the story.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Hi Bill,

    I am personally not arguing something came from nothing. To be honest, I have no idea and I suspect my intellect does not extend to understanding it at this point in time. Neither science nor any religion for that matter can give a definitive answer to such a question as yet.

    To say God created the universe is all well and good but that does not help us understand how it was done or how it works. It also does not explain such strange things as black holes or dark matter. What about the most fundamental thing in nature… gravity, the binding force of everything. What of light?? Expanding Universe?? No religion has ever offered an explanation to any of this but we know these things exist. To say that God created it all I feel is just intellectual laziness. We know there is much more to it than that.

    We need only look upon GRB 090423 to know there is plenty of work to do in our understanding.

    Ben Green

  • Thanks Ben

    A few points if I may. Most of us live our lives without knowing much about how anything works – and so what? I don’t even know how my toaster works, let alone the solar system. But why do I need to know all the hows of the way things work?

    Far more important than knowing all the hows (of which science can provide many but certainly not all answers) is knowing all the whys. Why is there something rather than nothing? Why is there beauty, and truth, and meaning, and purpose, if we all live in a naturalistic, closed system?

    As to your concern about laziness and there being much more to things: if you come across a beautiful Rembrandt painting on the beach, you would be foolish to argue it just got there with a lot of time and waves and sand, etc. You would also be foolish to demand all the details of how it came to be. It is enough to know that a talented and creative Rembrandt could create such a thing. Enjoy it! Sure if you want to know all about how a painter applies paint to an easel, etc., you can go in that direction as well. But enjoying a work of art is sufficient in itself.

    Enjoying the amazing creation that we live in – which points to only one thing, an intelligent designer – is sufficient as well. I don’t have to know all the hows. But for those who have wanted to know about the hows it is vital to remember that modern science was birthed out of the Christian worldview, and almost all the original scientists of the recent past were Christians. It was biblical Christianity that led to the rise of modern science, so the two are fully compatible.

    But next time you see a beautiful sunset, I hope you just enjoy it instead of going on about how it all happens. That is a very reductionistic and sterile place to be in. One can enjoy life without having every single how question answered.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Years ago, scientists believed the earth was flat, until it was discovered to be a globe…. meanwhile all along, the Bible stated that the earth was definitely a globe. How long will it take for scientists to catchup again and realize the Biblical truth about creation and where we actually evolved from? Maybe scientists should read the Bible. Actually, believing in a God who created us, makes more sense. This scientific imaginary about existing aliens makes me realize scientists need a lot of faith in such speculations!
    Nais Grant

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