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Are Christians Anti-Science?

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The article below is written by E. Calvin Beisner and originally published at Cornwall Alliance. Cornwall Alliance is “a network of over 60 Christian theologians, natural scientists, economists, and other scholars educating for Biblical earth stewardship, economic development for the poor, and the proclamation and defense of the good news of salvation by God’s grace, received through faith in Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection.”

Cal and the Cornwall Alliance have been in the news lately as I pointed out in my article to a New York Times Opinion piece written by Katherine Stewart: “The Religious Right’s Hostility to Science Is Crippling Our Coronavirus Response.” You can read my original article here and the one that mentions the Cornwall Alliance here.

Those of us who keep up with arguments against Christianity, especially those related to the impact that Christianity has had on our world, we often receive emails from people who are misinformed and uninformed on any number of topics.

One that we often hear is that Christianity and Christians are anti-science. Any good history book on the topic will show this to be false. A study of the topic will demonstrate that Christianity laid the foundation for science. Alfred North Whitehead‘s (1861-1947) Science and the Modern World might help the skeptical but open inquirer.

Whoever Controls the Schools Rules the World

Most Christians have adopted the false premise that facts are neutral. They believe it doesn’t matter who teaches math, science, and history, because facts are facts. The humanists took advantage of this type of thinking by gradually shaping and controlling education in terms of materialist assumptions.

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Historian of science James Hannam‘s Christianity and the Rise of Science is filled with evidence of Christianity’s favorable impact on science. He writes:

I have often come across anti Christians who simply cannot bring themselves to accept that Christianity had anything to do with the development of their beloved science. There are, I think, two reasons for this. First, they have fed themselves an unrelenting diet of nineteenth century anti religious myths like those found in Andrew Dickson White’s The Warfare of Science and Theology and John William Draper’s History of the Conflict between Religion and Science so they cannot bear to admit a single good thing has come from Christianity despite all the evidence around them….

The second problem is that the history of science as an academic subject is still in its infancy and medieval science, which I believe is the vital period, is even more neglected due to the lack of Latin language skills….

Cal Beisner’s response to a critic is delightful reading. In a short amount of space, he shows that even people with Ph.D’s are not immune to anti-Christian propaganda. — Gary DeMar

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So, We’ve Rejected Science, Have We?
By E. Calvin Beisner

Occasionally we get hate mail. Here’s a recent example. I know who sent it but will hide his name to protect him.

I hope your alliance members have a moment of reckoning. 

Don’t feel entitled to a vaccine, a ventilator, or the electric power it runs on. Those are the products of the same science that you have rejected and accused of lying and conspiracies.

You’ve condemned the best tools we have to fight the pandemic and have misled many in subjects of prime concern to our survival. You are in no small part, the base of a federal government administration that has is proving itself inept and powerless in the least or guilty of gross negligence otherwise.

Well, gee. So we’ve rejected science. Just science, period. It’s not that we’ve found some claims by some scientists to be wanting—something scientists do all the time when scientific journals retract articles previously published. Nope, we’ve rejected science. Completely.

Which is why we publish three books by Roy W. Spencer, Ph.D., NASA award-winning Principal Research Scientist (Oh no!) in climatology at the University of Alabama Huntsville, and one by Frank Schnell, Ph.D., retired toxicologist from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. And distribute books by other scientists. And why roughly a third of our network scholars are scientists. And why we wasted our time obtaining the endorsements of roughly 185 scientists (including 21 climate scientists) to one of our open letters on climate change.

Check that. A few of those are engineers, so maybe they don’t count as scientists. Oh, but then, neither is the guy who sent us that screed. He has a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and makes his living developing flowmeters. So if he’s a scientist because he’s an engineer, so are they.

This cheerful fellow tells us that we’ve “rejected and accused of lying and conspiracies”—whom? Well, our engineer isn’t much of a grammarian, unless he really intends the object of our rejection and accusation to be “science.” But that means we’ve accused science—not particular scientists—of lying and conspiracies. I don’t know how science could lie or conspire. Science isn’t a personal agent. Scientists are. Do some lie? No doubt. Are some involved in some sorts of conspiracies? Probably. But far from accusing scientists of lying and conspiracy, we’ve self-consciously refused to do that, because we think the proper ground of argument is evidence and logic, not ad hominem.

Perhaps our critic would like to quote where we’ve condemned any of “the tools we have to fight the pandemic.” We have in fact endorsed such tools. I guess he didn’t feel any responsibility to see if his accusations were grounded in fact.

Ah, but it’s handy to use guilt by association when you have so little evidence at hand. Actually, if anyone’s not “entitled to a vaccine, a ventilator, or the electric power it runs on,” it’s someone who demands that we replace the abundant, affordable, reliable, dispatchable electricity from fossil fuels with the diffuse, expensive, unreliable, unpredictable electricity from wind and solar. Nonetheless, if our critic gets COVID-19 and needs a ventilator, we won’t call for someone to pull the plug.

And then he calls us “the base of a federal government administration that has is [sic] proving itself inept and powerless in the least or guilty of gross negligence otherwise.” Good golly miss Molly, I wish we could claim to be so influential! But we’re a small fish in a very big pond with little or no influence on the Trump administration. (If someone can help us gain that influence, please do!)

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