Can science contradict the Bible?
In the origins debate, the assumptions one brings to the evidence determine the possible interpretations of the evidence we will entertain. Many people think that it is just biblical creationists who work this way, but everybody works this way regarding the deep past. Jeff C. from the United States writes:
Hello. First, I want to say thank you so very much for all you do. Evolution is truly changing societal views for the worse and CMI is definitely a valuable tool for the times! (1 Peter 3:15) I’m writing because I have a friend who believes creationists have a God complex. I would answer this challenge of his, but I know Creation Ministries could answer it much better and more clearly as it is somewhat of a “loaded” question: “I’m just trying to say that it doesn’t matter what science or geologist or historians or anybody find … If it contradicts the belief system of the Creationists they’ll find a way to disprove it and move on … It’s true and I can prove it … Give me ONE just ONE example of anything in science that contradicts the Creationists beliefs that they admit too … You can’t do it. They won’t allow it but yet scientists have many things that they honestly say they don’t know or don’t have answers fo…the Creationists have an answer for everything.”
CMI’s Shaun Doyle responds:
Your friend’s argument doesn’t follow. Just because someone doesn’t think anything will ever contradict a belief they hold doesn’t mean they have an answer for every objection to their belief. Biblical creationists confess ignorance on a lot of things, and we readily admit that there are unresolved issues in our interpretation of the physical evidence (see Unsolved mysteries for more information).
Moreover, we readily admit that there are plenty of interpretations of scientific evidence that conflict with biblical creation, though we would reject the interpretations, and not the data that they are based on. The question is not whether there are unresolved issues and debates within the creationist community; there is plenty of both (as a member of the editorial team for our peer-reviewed publication Journal of Creation, I can definitely say that there are many unresolved issues and debates in the creationist community; I edit many of the articles that discuss them!). The question is whether the physical evidence would contradict our understanding that Genesis 1–11 is historically accurate.
Well, Jesus believed and taught that Genesis 1–11 is historically accurate. Was God incarnate wrong on the basics of history? Christians are clearly bound to believe what Jesus taught. So yes, we are committed to the notion that no ‘scientific’ fact will contradict the Bible or Jesus (Though please see It’s not science for more information about the definition of ‘science’). But does this mean we have an answer for every objection raised against biblical creation? No. It just means that we believe there is an answer, even if we don’t know it yet. See Biblical history and the role of science for more information.
A parallel situation for secular scientists is abiogenesis. All ‘origin of life researchers’ believe that life spontaneously arose from non-living materials. If they didn’t, and thus believed that first life was designed, they’d stop looking for naturalistic explanations for the origin of life. However, they don’t know how it happened. Does that shake their faith in abiogenesis? No, it just means they believe the answer will come in the future. That strikes me as extreme gullibility; there is every evidence in the world that entities with coded information systems, such as first life had to have had, are only caused by intelligent agents. But does this fact dampen the evolutionists’ enthusiasm for abiogenesis? No. If anything, it galvanizes them into research, since they have an ‘obstacle’ to overcome. So why are they so confident that life had a naturalistic beginning? We know that no human designer could’ve done it (since that presupposes the very thing needing explanation), and natural causes are the only other causes we know of in our everyday experience, and all other possible causes are ruled out before the evidence is considered, so natural causes must have done it! This is spurious reasoning, to say the least, but it does give the impression of getting the secular scientist out of having to face an extraordinarily inconvenient fact against a fundamental thesis for his worldview. For more such problems for the evolutionary deep time worldview, please see Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels.