I love science. I mean, I REALLY. LOVE. SCIENCE. My earliest, most vivid memories of school go back to my kindergarten class at C. Wayne Collier Elementary School, watching film strips (remember those, children of the 80s?) about dinosaurs, volcanoes, or the solar system, being transfixed by the awesomeness. My deepest desire in the sixth grade was to attend Space Camp. To this day, I am a sucker for a good science book or documentary–when it sticks to the actual science. Unfortunately, many productions these days promote a deeply philosophical agenda that isn’t scientific in the least (think of the recent TV series, Cosmos, hosted by atheist Neil DeGrasse Tyson). The tragic result of such propaganda is that some impressionable Christians end up questioning the rationality of their belief in God.
However, the statement, “God does not exist,” has never been, is not now, and never will be a scientific assertion. (See what I did there, Sagan?) This means that science, by its very definition, cannot be the epistemic justification for atheism. Yet how often do we see popular atheist writers (Dawkins, Harris, Dennett, et. al.) base entire books on the claim: “God doesn’t exist! Let me show you the science!”
Really? Science investigates the matter (including the physical bodies of living organisms), energy, and relationships/dynamics of matter and energy in the material universe. But if God exists, He is immaterial and transcends the material universe. Science, no matter how far it ever advances, cannot rule Him out because it can never reach beyond the physical.
To be fair, not all materialists are trying to say that science DISPROVES God. But even arguments that simply attempt to discredit theism by rendering God superfluous point to material mechanisms and then make a philosophical leap. “Look how wonderfully creative and powerful evolution is! Nature is the designer! Therefore, God isn’t necessary! There is no goal, there is no purpose behind it all! Religion is dumb!”
This has always struck me as a ridiculous position. First of all, no matter what the “powers” of evolutionary mechanisms happen to be, there is no scientific method that can rule out an immaterial engineer of said mechanisms or any immaterial influence acting through natural processes to make them so [allegedly] powerful. To say that there is no transcendent mind orchestrating what we are able to observe in the material realm is to make a purely metaphysical statement. Unfortunately, very few scientists are trained philosophers. Perhaps this is why they don’t notice the fallacy or the enormous amount of faith required by their paradigm.
The fundamental question is: What does the World include? By “World” I mean all things material AND immaterial. The theist says that there is, in addition to all things physical, a realm of the immaterial. This realm includes God, upon whom the material universe is dependent for existence. The materialist/atheist says that there is no immaterial realm; but it is a category mistake for him or her to say science itself produces such a conclusion.
Essentially, anyone who makes the claim that science has destroyed or undermined theism is trying to piggyback their materialist philosophy onto scientific theories that cannot support the weight of such a piggy.