Science, Thinking, and Religion

I’ve posted thoughts about our culture’s emphasis on scientific findings. I’ve even alluded to an old Star Trek episode where an alien asks Captain Janeway if she believes that science will eventually explain everything, which she affirms. The alien then tells her that she has great faith indeed.

There are so many limitations to scientific research:

  • Human error and flaws,
  • Pressure from research sponsors,
  • Ego and the desire to be right,
  • Superficial reporting by those who really don’t know what they are talking about.

In the past few months, I’ve found several articles that have reaffirmed and validated some of my reservations, including one following psychology on ScienceNews.org.

Many have claimed that it’s ok for there to be errors in science because the scientific process is self-correcting. A reporter who has followed science stories for years doesn’t exactly agree.

Still, it’s hard to argue that science isn’t useful. Without science and the innovation that follows it, we wouldn’t have cars, airplanes, computers, refrigerators, modern medicine and medical devices, etc. Science has improved our lives!

How I View Science as a Latter-Day Saint

  1. Science is inspired by God but flawed by men. I believe that science with its laws and principles originates from God. God lives by eternal laws and principles and created the earth using the same. If we, as the researchers, could understand correctly and run experiments perfectly, then science would be perfect. Even so, there is a great benefit to having science in our lives, and great men and women of God have dedicated their lives to science.
  2. Science is not a tool to determine the worth or the sum total of people. I think the greatest disservices I have seen committed by science have been in the area of social services — especially when scientific findings contradict the gospel in declaring that people are forever stuck with character traits and limitations. The Lord has declared that those who truly come unto him and work their way through the repentance process can be made new creatures. I have seen that principle work in my life and in the lives of others, and I believe it is truer than anything social science “proves.”
  3. When science of any kind directly contradicts what the gospel teaches, adopt a “wait and see” approach. Often, the research is corrected. Until then, I pray and ask the Lord to help me know what to do with my concerns. I have always received answers that bring peace — something science cannot do with consistency.
  4. Continue to learn spiritual and temporal things. The Prophet Joseph Smith declared that we cannot be saved in ignorance.

 

Do you have questions about scientific findings that contradict the gospel? How have you handled them? Comment below.