Monday, February 17, 2014

Christians are confused about science

Science: knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation

Pseudoscience:  a system of theories, assumptions, and methods erroneously regarded as scientific 

When I was in the military back in 1987 one of the things I took with me was that when it relates to military conflict you must know your enemy. Before entering into battle you must first try and gather all the information about your enemy as possible. What weapons does he have in his arsenal? How many men does he have in his infantry? Does he have a powerful and formidable air force and navy? All of these same principles apply in my opinion when debating theists. 

For as long as I could remember I was always big on going to the source for information about other religious groups or sects that were not the one I belonged to. I never read books by Pentecostal evangelists that were written for instance to denounce the Jehovah's Witness church as a false belief system. When I wanted to learn what the JW's believed and taught I went to the source. I got a copy of their translation of the scriptures. I read their witnessing materials, etc. 

This reminds me of a time when I was in Bible seminary and was very excited to go to class that week because it was the week that we were going to discuss the theory of evolution. At the time I had not read any secular material on the matter nor any scientific books or articles about evolution. That evening when I arrived at the class room eagerly awaiting the instructor to commence the class I remember feeling excited about finally learning something new. When the class began the instructor asked us to open our text books to  the chapter which dealt with evolution. Here we go, I thought to myself all giddy like a kid in a candy store.  

Nothing could have prepared me for what happened next! The instructor said: "If you want to believe that you evolved from an ape then go right on ahead. I know that this is not true because I am a child of God!" He then skipped the chapter and moved on to the next subject in the book. I felt deflated and angry in that moment and this is what motivated me to learn about evolution on my own. The church was not going to help me. I went to the source and began reading books on evolution from my local public library. I devoured it all and analyzed it as I studied it I tried to criticize it and even compare it to the biblical version of creation. 

It's no wonder most theists are confused about science they are being fed pseudoscience in its place and led to believe that that is science! If you wan to learn anything about anything the best way to do so is go to the source. You can't tell if an apologists is misrepresenting what science says about anything if you yourself are not informed about the actual position of science on the matter. For instance if I had a penny for everytime a theist said to me about evolution  "it's only a theory" I would be a millionaire.  

The reason for this confusion is quite simple. When apologists talk about evolution they fail to differentiate the different meanings of the word theory as it is used in a scientific context as opposed to its use in common parlance. Here is a brief description about the difference between the usage of the word theory both inside and outside of a scientific context.

Scientific theory
When used in non-scientific context, the word “theory” implies that something is unproven or speculative. As used in science, however, a theory is an explanation or model based on observation, experimentation, and reasoning, especially one that has been tested and confirmed as a general principle helping to explain and predict natural phenomena. 

When arguing with theists about these matters they tend to immediately expose their lack of scientific knowledge due to misinformation or relying on questionable sources for information on scientific matters. In closing I would like to leave my atheist and theist friends with a couple of reliable links and book recommendations where you can read about evolution and honestly review the evidence.

For good books on evolution and the evidence presented by the various fields of science for evolution I recommend the following. 

The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins

Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne

Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin

Evolution For Dummies by Greg Krukonis and Tracy Barr

The Fact OF Evolution by Cameron M. Smith 


  1. wow that's sad that he didn't even parrot the textbook's take on it.

    Equivocation is one of their favorite tricks -

  2. This whole theory and scientific theory word game really drives me insane as it shows someone is either ignorant (for which I have sympathy) or blatantly dishonest (which I have absolutely no time for).

  3. The average xian needs to learn the meaning of "hypothesis" (an unproven idea serving as a basis for further study), as opposed to the more rigidly applied term "theory." Unfortunately a large fraction of our population don't understand the difference, and continually confuse the two. Perhaps "hypothesis" just has too many syllables for the average fundie to grasp.

  4. Christian and Paul, I don't think that theists don't know the difference between the usage of the word theory in common parlance and how it is used in scientific circles. I just think that it is one more of their dirty tactics in their semantic games arsenal.

  5. do you own a bible, and do you celebrate divine events....?

    1. I pretty much know most of the Bible by rote. I used to be an evangelist from 90'-94' and at the time owned several Bibles of different versions. Now I just utilize internet bible websites for biblical quotes. No I don't celebrated divine events whatever that means.

      Christmas for instance is a celebration of the winter solstice not the birth of Christ. Easter I don't bother with at all. In fact, I don't celebrate any religious holidays and the same goes for secular holidays as well. To me all holidays are just another day.