Science is both a process and a body of knowledge acquired through that process. When a scientist experiments, analyses data or publishes interpretations of that data he or she does so based upon the work of others. For example, Fact A and Fact B may be known based on research published in scientific journals, so a scientist then tests for Fact C: he discovers this and then publishes it for other scientists to read. Based upon A, B and C, they can draw inference D, but all scientists must trust one another’s work. In science many more facts are needed than just three; and the multitude of data from experiments is not often repeatable by a single scientist due to the enormous quantity of it. That scientist must trust the word of others about their work, and even trust the reviewers to have engaged in rigorous review of the publications.
This process continues as science develops. While experiments and data need to be repeatable, a scientist will not have tested all the prior research he cites as given in his paper, upon which he has based his experiments and through which he will have interpreted his data. If a scientist had tested and verified every prior experiment already performed by another scientist she cites to interpreted her own data, she would have no time to perform her own experiments – let alone publish her own data.
This obviously means she has a great deal of faith in the scientists who have gone before. If this process of each scientist trusting the word of those who have gone before them did not exist, we would not have the incredible development of science today – all thanks to faith.
The Public Believe Science by Faith
In fact, when scientist say they have discovered something, they ask us to trust their word since most people don’t have the skills or knowledge (let alone resources) to repeat their experiment and reproduce their data. This means scientists do need some faith to be believed.
The Truth is Science is Nothing Without Some Kind of Faith
The problem, when people claim that science and faith are opposed, is the profound ignorance those people have of both science and faith. As shown above, scientific progress and publication requires faith – because we cannot each completely verify all of the scientific facts we accept and believe. It also requires faith because science is based on unprovable metaphysical, logical and epistemological assumptions that presuppose science. It also gets the idea of faith wrong, because faith is trusting the Word of another without needing to verify it constantly.
It is important to note that science developed mostly through Christian thinkers who wanted to exercise their faith in science.
A Different Kind of Faith – Saving Faith
There is a more wonderful faith that leads to a better knowledge than the richest treasuries of scientific progress. The eternal reward of knowing God based on faith in Jesus his son, his finished work on the cross and resurrection. We can trust the all-seeing, all-powerful, all-knowing and truthful God more than we can trust sinful limited humans. Read His Word, trust His Word, today.