Science as evidence for Christianity (Summary and Conclusion)

This is the summary and conclusion post for the "Science as evidence for Christianity" series. It contains links to all other posts in the series. Please view the individual posts for a more thorough discussion.

We consider the whole of science as evidence to decide among various worldviews. This evidence overwhelmingly supports Christianity against its rival worldviews, and against atheism in particular: Christianity explains all the major features of science, while its rivals cannot explain science at all.

What is "evidence"? What counts as evidence for a certain position?
I use the Bayesian definition of evidence: something counts as evidence for the worldview that better explains or anticipates that thing. More formally: between two worldviews, a new piece of information counts as evidence for the worldview that predicted it with higher probability, and against the worldview that predicted it with lower probability.

Science as evidence for Christianity against atheism (introduction)
We will look at four broad features that characterize the entirety of science: its axioms, its trends, its limits, and its possible future course. We use these broad features, because it's only at this level that the different worldviews make predictions with different probabilities. When we examine these features, we'll see that Christianity provides the best explanation for each of them.

The axioms of science as evidence for Christianity against atheism
Like any logical system, science has unproven starting points. They state that the universe is a consistent, logical place, and that we humans can learn about it. Atheism has no explanation for these axioms. It in fact it has no explanation for anything, because nothing comes from nothing. Christianity, however, states that the universe was made by God as a reflection of his character to teach us about him. This naturally leads to the axioms of science. Since Christianity explains these axioms, these axioms are evidence for Christianity.

Answering objections: science as evidence for Christianity against atheism
A common error is to simply assume that science and atheism go together. This makes the mistake of assuming your conclusion: since atheism cannot explain science, it simply adds science - the thing it's supposed to explain - as an assumption to its worldview. However, atheism then becomes a parasitic postulate to science that adds nothing. Science doesn't function any differently with or without atheism, therefore atheism must be cut out according to Occam's razor.

Another possible objection to Christianity is that miracles violate the laws of nature. This is a simple straw man. The laws of nature, understood in the deepest sense as God created them, are not violated in miracles. In fact God is the one who created these laws and called them good. However, this objection does eliminate other rivals to Christianity, such as animism, or parody versions of Christianity with a "magic genie" God.

Another possible objection is that the Christian God is too complex and nebulous, so he could be used to explain any outcome, including science. This is a historical and theological error: Christianity and its major tenets were established far before modern science, and the Christian God is infinitely simple - without parts, free parameters, or contingencies.

The trends in science as evidence for Christianity against atheism (part 1)
Science is now old enough to show clear trends in its discoveries. We have continually discovered that the world is just awesome. Consider the vastness of the universe: if the universe is the creation of an infinite God, this makes perfect sense, but atheism has no explanation for it.

It's true that there were some Christians on the wrong side of specific scientific issues. But Christians were also on the right side on those issues as well. This is only what's expected from people doing science, because science progresses by being wrong. This is the reason we use big trends in science as evidence, rather than individual discoveries.

The trends in science as evidence for Christianity against atheism (part 2)
We look at other big trends in science: science is perpetually advancing in creative ways, and discovering the universe to be an interesting place. Simultaneously, it is ever finding that its underlying laws are more elegant than previously conceived. Science is also constantly enabling humanity to become more powerful. All of this makes perfect sense in the context of Christianity, whereas atheism has no explanation for any of it.

The limits of science as evidence for Christianity
Science, being just one of the fields of human discipline, has limits. Some questions it cannot ever hope to answer, and other questions it cannot answer yet. In these categories are the questions of meaning, morality, beauty, and consciousness. Any "science only" worldview would be paralyzed into inaction in the face of such questions, but Christianity easily provides answers to some of these questions and actionable guidance on all of them, in addition to providing for science itself.

Christian predictions on the future of science (part 1)
Christianity has explained everything else about science, so we move on to making predictions of its future: science will never end Christianity, either through new evidence or through physical catastrophe. The "edge" of the universe will always lie beyond our grasp even as our reach continually increases. Science will continue to discover new depth in the universe, without ever exhausting it. Our understanding of the fundamental laws will become simpler and more elegant. And humanity will grow in power and knowledge. All these are natural consequences of Christianity.

Christian predictions on the future of science (part 2)
I make two more predictions: science will discover more about morality, without ever fully explaining it. These discoveries will reveal God's moral character, imprinted in the universe. In particular, love will be found at the center of all moral truths. These discoveries will become a new big trend, like the other ones I mentioned. I also predict that science will not fully understand humans, despite making continuous advances in simulating and characterizing them. Humans, as beings made in God's image, will turn out to be far more complex than we think.

In conclusion: Christianity explains the axioms, trends, and limits of science, and makes predictions on its future. It thereby completely explains science, whereas its rivals (atheism in particular) can generally explain nothing. Therefore, the whole of science is overwhelming evidence for Christianity and against its rivals.


You may next want to read:
The Gospel: the central message of Christianity (part 1)
How physics fits within Christianity (part 2)
Another post, from the table of contents

2 comments :

  1. Great post! Interesting and glorious. My head will explode if intake so many great ideas within a short time.
    But for those who besieged you at Reddit, either TL;DR, or don't know what you're saying or focus on particular spots or even attack with their insolence and ignorance, which resembles me (before I was converted to Christianity).
    I'm just talking about my feeling about your posts. Before reading them, when I read the lines in Bible about God's creation and mysteries, they are only printed lines to me. But now, through this open door, I see unspeakable glory. Hooray, his glory is not only manifested in spiritual world, but also manifested in this material world through his great works. The whole thing he's created is glorious, then I see how fallen we humans are, which I partially disbelieve before. How can the unholy live in the glorious creation of God, and think filthy thoughts and do filthy things?
    There are too many things I want to talk with you, but my mind is at the edge of explosion.
    One thing is getting me confused, the link between the universe, science and Jesus Christ. How the formers serve as pointers to the Christ?

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    1. It really is amazing, the difference in me between understanding and not understanding God's thoughts, and the even greater difference between what I understand and what I have yet to understand. And to top it all off, the promise that we're given that one day, we WILL know fully, even as we're fully known.

      But if you're interested more in the relationship between God and science, or God and all other fields of study, might I recommend the following two posts?

      http://www.naclhv.com/2014/01/how-physics-fits-within-christianity_23.html
      http://www.naclhv.com/2013/12/how-is-god-related-to-all-other-fields.html

      I have some more coming up along these lines soon too. I'm excited about writing it!

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