We have seen in my past posts that there is objective truth that can really be discovered, but that discerning what is true and what is not true requires a measure of faith in some criteria for discerning truth based on a selected paradigm made of a set of selected axioms that ultimately appeal to an individual’s thought processes that they assume are correct. Therefore, as much as any one may desire otherwise, we cannot remove an element of faith. I have argued, and will continue to argue, that the best, most rational faith deciding what paradigm, or worldview, that should be used to interpret data and discern truth is placed in the revelation of God. But, of course, that in itself assumes that there is a God, an assumption that I am arguing is actually more reasonable than any other starting assumption. However, this assumption is often rejected as being impossible. We do not assume, for instance, that reality is best viewed through a paradigm accepting the existence of Norse gods and legends. We must first establish the possibility of God’s existence or any further discussion is futile or even absurd.
The existence of God is often deemed impossible based on a naturalistic-materialistic worldview based on a particular philosophy of science, what many label scientism. This philosophy rightly begins with the fact that science deals with the physical world by the process of careful systematic observation. Science, then, deals with what can be observed, directly or indirectly, and either repeated or compared to something that can be repeated (forensic science). Scientism, however, takes this one step further by stating that this is not so much a limitation of science as it is a limitation of reality itself. Strong scientism states that all reality can be studied by scientific methodology: anything that cannot be so studied is not real. This leads to a procedural commitment to materialism, the idea that all that exists is that which is made of matter and energy, and naturalism, the idea that all processes are natural following the laws discovered by scientific study so that there is no supernatural activity. Scientist expect natural explanations which make predictions that can be tested by repeated experiments. From this practice of naturalism in the methodology of science is derived the idea that there are no spiritual, supernatural realities. If that is the case, then there is clearly no God possible.
However, There are a number of serious problems with this line of reasoning. Many others have pointed out that the strong form of scientism is actually self-defeating. If only what can be derived by scientific methodology can be true, then scientism itself is false for its premise cannot be derived by scientific methodology. Proponents of scientism respond by pointing out that the premise is a presupposition, an axiom, and so does not have to be derived by scientific methodology. However, they will not admit to the fact that their presupposition is then necessarily and act of faith (as I have previously shown) with no means of determining that such a faith is more rational than any other faith. They cannot argue philosophically against postulating God’s existence as an axiom while postulating that God’s non-existence is an axiom. They may support their assumption by pointing to a complete lack of evidence for supernatural activity or spiritual reality. However, any talk of a complete lack of evidence for any spiritual or supernatural reality is based on circular reasoning. Any evidence or testimony is automatically rejected and given a different interpretation based on the very premise they are trying to prove. In fact, scientific methodology cannot establish the non-existence of anything especially something that is outside of its scope. To do so, it would have to see all reality at once. A person, therefore, can claim that there is no God, but they cannot claim that science proves that there is no God without using circular reasoning or appealing to a presupposition accepted by faith and not based on science.
That either the existence or non-existence of God cannot be proven by scientific methodology ought to be obvious. Even many evolutionists will admit this statement. A number of years ago I spent many hours speaking with a biophysicist who was an assistant to Roger Sperry, a Nobel Laureate, This lady admitted to me that science cannot prove that God does not exist but then stated that she thought that the probability of God’s existence was so slight that it was not worth the effort to investigate, something on par with investigating the existence of unicorns. This, however, is a different statement than saying that God cannot possibly exist and demands a different answer. In my next post, Lord willing, I will discuss whether or not the existence of God is worth investigating.