“History Highlights the Fundamental Limitations of Science”

A paper Ken Caviness presented during the 2015 Biblical Foundation of Faith and Learning Conference has been published in the Journal of The Biblical Foundations of Faith and Learning (JBFFL), Volume 1, Issue 1, Article 1:http://knowledge.e.southern.edu/jbffl/vol1/iss1/1/

This material formed the core of presentations made on the campus of the Ukranian Adventist Center of Higher Education and churches in Ukraine and Moldova, and has now been integrated into the class Issues in Physical Science and Religion, offered winter semesters at Southern Adventist University.

Abstract

The idea that science is the only valid guide to truth is not itself a scientific statement, but rather the fundamental dogma of scientism. It is the purpose of this paper to show this claim to be unwarranted and scientism untenable, through a consideration of what science can and cannot say, illustrated from the history of science itself. Discussion of criteria for selecting among models making equivalent predictions is highlighted by examples of common reactions of the scientific community when new observational data conflict with well-accepted theory: to deny the observations, to adapt or replace the theory (often at the expense of added complexity), or to seek factors not yet taken into account. Although it excels at providing possible explanations for phenomena, science is inherently incapable of proving that an explanation is true, and thus the foundation of scientism is flawed. In contrast, the Biblical worldview provides a consistent foundation for knowledge and a rationale for the extent to which science is a viable means of learning about the universe, although incomplete and contingent on revelation.