By Abanobi Favour
“Science! The new torchbearer of enlightenment” is a common slogan that rings out in the heart of science textbooks and prestigious scientific gatherings. Science has always been portrayed as a replacement for religion considered as “schools of thought of gaps.” As John C. Lennox puts it, “God is very much on the agenda these days.”
An atheist is one who doesn’t believe in the existence of a universal creator (God). Science books give the impression of a “God of the Gaps” who will increasingly be displaced as the gaps in our knowledge are filled with scientific explanations until He eventually disappears completely. But John Lennox counters such thinking with this assertion: “Just as my admiration of the genius behind a work of engineering or art increases the more I understand it, so my worship of the creator increases the more I understand the universe he has created.”
He further asserts that, contrary to what has been broadcast by both parties, the real conflict is not between science and religion but between theism and atheism. The difference is not their education but their worldviews. Lennox, the author of God and Stephen Hawking: Whose Design Is It Anyway?, a commentary on Stephen Hawking’s The Grand Design, detailing how he formally joined the atheist train, stated that, sometimes we tend to confuse statements of scientists as statements of science and accord them the authority of authentic science.
Atheists try to trick us into believing that there is a conflict for reality between science and religion. They try to promote atheism as a necessary prerequisite for doing science. They do so by trying to replace and circumvent the questions we seek answer to, from ‘why’ to ‘how.’ They have us believe that if we know how the universe works, we don’t need to ask why it exists. They say that questions that science cannot answer are non-questions.
Francis Collins, former Director of the National Institute of Health in the USA and author of the book, The Language of God, states that “science is powerless to answer questions such as ‘Why did the universe come into being?’ ‘What is the meaning of human existence?’ ‘What happens after we die?’
One of the major flaws of the atheist’s thinking is that there is no base of morality in science. Albert Einstein in a discussion on science and religion in Berlin, 1930, said that our human sense of beauty and our religious instinct are “tributary forms in helping the reasoning faculty towards its highest achievements.” You can speak of the moral foundations of science, but you cannot turn round and speak of the scientific foundations of morality, he argued. He pointed out that science cannot form a basis for morality as “every attempt to reduce ethics to scientific formulae must fail.”
Richard Feynman, also a Nobel Prize physicist shared Einstein’s view. “Even the greatest forces and abilities don’t seem to carry any clear instructions on how to use them. The sciences do not directly teach good and bad,” he said, adding that, “ethical values lie outside the scientific realm.”
The truth that all these world-renowned scientists have tried to point out is this: atheists assign science a role beyond its capacity. According to another Nobel laureate, Sir Peter Medawar in his book, Advice to a Young Scientist, “there is no quicker way for a scientist to bring discredit upon himself and upon his profession than to declare that science knows, or will soon know the answers to all questions worth asking, and that questions which do not admit a scientific answer are in some way non-questions or “pseudo-questions” that only simpletons ask and only the gullible profess to be able to answer”.
He argues further: “The existence of a limit to science is, however, made clear by its inability to answer childlike elementary questions having to do with first and last things – questions such as: ‘What are we all here for?’ ‘What is the point of living?’ He adds that we must turn to imaginative literature and religion for the answers to such questions.
So the question is: does science point to the existence of God, away from God, or is it neutral on the issue? To be honest, that question stands as an open-ended one to everyone. After all, an idea is only viewed and understood through the bias of an individual’s opinion.
According to distinguished journalists, John Micklethwait and Adrian Woodridge of the influential world-class magazine, The Economist, “God is Back”- and not only for the uneducated. “In much of the world it is the exact educated middle class who were predicted to shed such superstitions who are driving the explosion of Faith,” they noted.
•Abanobi is a student of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Federal University of Technology, Owerri.