I just started writing a science fiction novel. With writing in a new genre comes research and new things begin to stand out more than normal. Many times, I come across either memes on social media or blog posts declaring that a person or group “believes in science.” I find this to be rather odd.
I’ve never read about, met, or otherwise known of anyone who doesn’t believe in the process of coming up with a hypothesis and testing it to see if the results are not only possible but repeatable. Despite what some may think, I am not sure there are many worldviews that are actively against believing in such processes. Of course, I’m not an idiot and know that this declaration is meant to counter what the scientific community’s stances are on evolution and climate change. More accurately, “I believe in science!” is a statement that has baggage which indirectly is sometimes used to discredit “religious” beliefs. Not always, but it is true rather often.
As a Christian who accepts the scientific findings, I am all too aware that the culture that surrounds my faith is known for rejecting things that appear painfully obvious to those who do not adhere to Christianity. I would argue that such an instance isn’t about rejecting science, but instead scientists’ findings and claims. Those who announce their love for science claim those who do not fully accept climate change and evolution to be real fail to understand or believe science at all. Those on the receiving side of those arguments say that there are things science cannot answer and can and has been wrong before. “Religious” folks do not see it as rejecting science as a process. Many of them believe science supports other ideas than what are mainstream. Instead they reject common belief due to worldviews and that history has shown that scientists have been wrong before. Do I as a Christian agree with this position? Not entirely. Yes, scientific consensus has been wrong in the past and until more information comes to light we might find out that is the case now as well. That is the nature and beauty of science. However, where I disagree is to use that as a catch all to simply justify preconceptions and therefore reject an idea even when heaps upon heaps of evidence, peer reviews, and testable evidence support a theory.
This topic ties into my previous blog post about truth. People believe what they want to believe no matter what evidence is given. One must not only be open-minded but have a worldview that doesn’t crumble simply because something is uncomfortable. This is true on all matters, not just heavy topics like climate change. Another thing that would help would be for both believers and non-believers to acknowledge that science and faith are not incompatible. Certainly, they are if either are layered with presuppositions, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Ultimately, believing in science does not equate believing in scientific claims. The process and the results are different. Political and religious worldviews shape how we interpret these claims. I would argue both political sides ignore important scientific truths. The reality is we must do our best to curb our natural human bias with discernment. This is possible, but a difficult endeavor.