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The beliefs of the scientific community
article [ Dialogue ]
Is it always true science what scientists do?

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by [BEDE ]

2008-10-22  |     | 

It may seem strange to some that in the scientific community – that is in the circles of those that are called scientists – there may be some kind of beliefs that tend to be like religious faith. Does not the scientific methodology imply formulating certain hypothesis and designing models that would explain the observed phenomena, and then validate the model by experiments? And, if the experiments do not confirm the model that the scientist designed, it would be normal to abandon that model. This certainly is the principle for scientific methodology in whatever field experiments can be performed. But there are certain fields where validation by experiments is not possible. Such an instance would be the cosmologic theories, for it would be impossible to produce experiments that would demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt how our universe came into being.In such cases, where one may not produce a full demonstration, the scientists support certain theories, on the validity of which they may not all agree: one may support a different theory then another. Then, when the scientific community has to make an assessment of the validity of a theory (that is particularly for cases as the one mentioned above, when no scientist may produce a complete demonstration), they have to consider several facts and observation, some of which support the theory, while others, on the contrary, seem to be against it. When all the facts and observation do confirm a given theory, then, normally, the theory is assessed as being valid. But there are cases when some observations appear to confirm the theory, while others would invalidate it. In such cases, the scientists get to have beliefs, and this is how a scientists may have some faith, for, having faith in his favorite theory, the scientist deems that the facts would confirm it are essential, while those facts that would invalidate it are minor aspects, not really important, which would require only refining the theory (that means that no radical changes in the theory are required) in order to produce reasonable explanations. This is how the scientists do have beliefs, just like philosophers. And the beliefs that are embraced by the largest number of the scientists may well be called beliefs of the scientific community.
How, and to what extent is our society (at the turn of the twenty-first century) affected by these beliefs of the scientific community? Really much, for, after the achievements of science and engineering in the past two-three centuries, the face of the world changed pretty much and people got to trust science and technology – which is not a bad thing in itself. The biggest problem is that these beliefs of the scientific community are perceived by most of the common people as being true science and they trust them just as much as the laws of physics that have been thoroughly verified by observation and experiments and even by engineering (such as the laws based on which the airplanes or the nuclear reactors are built or those on which the telecommunications and computers have been developed) and do not think that it is possible that those theories may be invalidated by real-life facts.
One respect in which we may clearly see a faith manifested within the scientific community is the matter of the origin of life. The scientific community strongly supports the theory that life appeared by chance, that by chance combination of chemicals came into being the first living unicellular organisms. And then, also by chance, those organisms were subject to genetic mutations and some of those mutations have been so successful that they produced new species of living things. And thus, in hundreds of millions of years, by chance and natural selection the great multitude of species of plants and animals came into being.
Yet, after more then a century and a half in which it was refined in various ways, the evolutionist theory is still faced with facts that would invalidate it. In his time, Darwin said that there haven’t been found fossils that would confirm the evolution simply because in that time only a small number of fossils had been found. Now, although many more fossils have been found, no intermediate forms that would show the evolution of one species into another were found. And, admitting there would have existed intermediate forms, the problem is that those intermediate forms would not have been well-adapted for living the kind of life of their "ancestor" from which they have evolved, nor for living the kind of life of the new species into which they would evolve, and most likely they would not have survived enough to produce offspring. And the fossils found disagree with a gradual evolution, like the one Darwin imagined. But in Darwin’s time nothing was known of genetics and nothing was known of the role of DNA. Now, considering the discoveries in genetics, the theory is that evolution came by a series of successful mutations, not gradually.
But a serious problem lies in this very DNA, that is the support on which the instructions of the "program" which a living thing "runs". It is a very complex structure, which, admitting that it was formed by chance, would go against a general principle observed in nature, that is that any isolated system tends to increase its entropy, which actually means it tends to disorder, to less complex structures. Moreover, the DNA holds the “program code”, and the living cells are the “machine” that runs that code. DNA has a complex structure, and a living cell has even more complex structures. Which of those structures came into being first? It would be like we would ask ourselves what was made first: the computer or the programming languages and the computer programs? And we well know that the programming languages and computer programs were developed in parallel with the computers, for it would have made no sense to design some programming language so long as there is no machine to "understand" it and process its instructions. This would most naturally suggest that DNA and the living organisms were designed and created at the same time.
And, one more thing: suppose that such complex living things came into being just by chance, how come that having some intelligence and having the will, in some decades man could not produce a single living cell starting from inanimate matter? And any successful (or unsuccessful) genetic manipulation starts with living cells taken out of an already existing living organism? And in obtaining new breeds the scientists run against some barriers? Does this not suggest that there are some secrets that we know not and that the living things have been created by a superior intelligence and a superior power?
Still, the scientific community holds that, in hundreds of millions of years, the multitude of plants and animals appeared simply by chance. This when I know that by chance and lack of concentration, I only succeeded to make mistakes when writing programs, and sometimes, for a single-character mistake I lost even more than one hour debugging.
Despite all these aspects that go against the evolutionist theory, the scientific community holds that the evolution is the only true scientific theory and refuses to admit that the life may have been created. Is this not some kind of faith? When there is no full demonstration of this theory, and its supporters try to minimize the importance of the of all the contrary aspects and, as an argument for not being able to produce life out of inanimate matter, can only say: “Give us a couple of million years and we will succeed what nature produced by chance!”
Of course, not all the scientists have this belief, but those who have it are the most vocal, having also the benefit of the most substantial financial and political support, so that the theory of evolution is the one that is that most spread in the media and is imposed in schools as the only true scientific theory.
The very idea that life could have been created is rejected, because, were they to admit it, this would imply the existence of a Creator, and man, as intelligent being, would be responsible to this Creator. So, the most natural thing for man is to hide trying to escape this responsibility, like the Bible says that Adam, the first man, after he had sinned by disobeying God, tried to hide from before His face behind the trees in the garden.
And nowadays they want to impose this belief that eliminates God. All these prepare the moment when “that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thes. 2.4).

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