The Myth of Apolitical Science

Science, like all other human pursuits, is done by humans. This should be self-evident, right? Scientists are not different kinds of humans than anyone else, and are subject to the effects of the fall just like everyone else.

I was recently re-reading one of my old discussions regarding the subject of evolution and whether it could be fit into the narrative of Genesis 1-11. One of the assertions made by my opponents in these kinds of discussions is that scientists are neutral, not concerned with the promotion of agendas but only concerned with the pursuit of unvarnished truth. It is almost as if scientists in the pursuit of science are not subject to the effects of the fall the same way the rest of us are.

I happened to notice a story on Ace of Spades regarding the persecution of a scientist for promoting a theory about the nature of transgender disorders which did not fit the political agenda. From the NYT article:

To many of Dr. Bailey’s peers, his story is a morality play about the corrosive effects of political correctness on academic freedom. Some scientists say that it has become increasingly treacherous to discuss politically sensitive issues. They point to several recent cases, like that of Helmuth Nyborg, a Danish researcher who was fired in 2006 after he caused a furor in the press by reporting a slight difference in average I.Q. test scores between the sexes.

Ace applies the issue to climate studies, to the promotion of the anthropogenic global warming theory. But if this kind of pressure for conformity to certain acceptable views exists within some fields of study, it simply proves the fact that science is done by humans, and humans have biases, agendas and presuppositions and that science is subject to the same kinds of groupthink pressures as exists in any other field.

Why would a Christian advocate of the Darwinist view protest this seemingly indisputable point? The Bible makes clear the point that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; that the truth is not in man in his natural state; that in our natural state, we are sons of the devil who is the father of lies. But if the supposed neutrality and openness to any truth on the part of the scientist can be brought into question, then one of the major planks of the Christian Darwinist is undermined. There is then no reason to accept the conclusions of scientists, even a great majority of scientists, as being indisputable.

They would agree that it’s disputable, but only by other scientists. Until scientists come to a given conclusion, nobody else is allowed to have any other views. If there is consensus on any given question within the scientific community, then it must be true, at least until a different consensus is arrived at. But this story is a great example of how that consensus is often reached- by browbeating, slander, ruining careers, denying funding and tenure, and in general suppressing any views that deviate from the orthodoxy.

I’m not down on scientists. I’m writing this on a computer that is the product of amazing scientific discovery. All I’m asserting is that scientists are humans, and act like humans, and we need to keep this in mind when we compare the claims of science with the claims of the Bible.

Let God be true, and every man a liar.

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