Evangelicalism and Science. Do the Facts Matter?

By Nancy Virden (c)2020

Assumptions are dangerous little weasels that infiltrate thought and reason for the sole purpose of digging holes in the truth. Assumptions destroy relationships, social function, and politics, as well as everything else.  Assumptions shape beliefs based on feelings or rumor, biases, and interpreted experience. Assumptions do not embrace facts. 

So let’s address our assumptions before we begin. What does the term Evangelical bring to mind? What about Science? Despite the fact that Evangelicals as a whole do not reject science, the myth continues that they do. Science itself is not anti-faith, yet many people seem to think it is.

I am evangelical

I love science. Global medical care is eons beyond what previous generations had. Medications are part of the maintenance of my wellbeing. Technology as a byproduct of science allows me to send out this blog; my phone talks to me. Travel, space and ocean exploration, trade, sustenance – is there much of anything untouched by scientific advancement? 

Yet I do not place the assumption of fact on what others may call scientific proof. History and experience teach me that science is fluid. A hypothesis is based on possibility, studies produce its likelihood, and we make decisions from there. From beginning to end, this process is undergirded by the premise that the hypothesis might be correct. 

As a person of faith, a specific sacred text is where I build my premises. One could say I make assumptions of its reliability, however, evidence points overwhelmingly to its trustworthiness if one is willing to look. Faith is not about sight or proof anyway,  although both play a part. Faith is the evidence of things unseen, confidence in what we have not yet received.

The Bible and science

Since this sacred text, (The Bible) is unchanging, and I worship a Savior who the Bible says is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, I find faith a more solid foundation for truth than is science. If scientific hypotheses directly oppose the Bible,  I will not accept the premises. On the other hand, I often find modern science supporting the book. 

There are those who will always disagree. Not everyone will embrace faith as worthy of attention. Does that rejection of faith prove faith to be false? Of course not. No one can prove it is false. As much as nonbelievers might accuse believers of irrationality,  no one can prove there is no God.  It takes a type of faith of its own to put one’s complete trust in science.  

Climate change

Evangelicals and science are companions more often than not. How can I claim this? Most of us (I hope) believe in the Master of Science, the creator who made everything out of nothing, and who continues to guide human efforts as we discover more of his miraculous inventions.

Speaking from my small corner of an evangelical denomination, my perspectives are mostly drawn from people I know.  One may not easily find an evangelical who buys into the panic surrounding climate change, but you will find people who thoughtfully do not panic because they know who holds the future.

We understand that humankind has harmed the natural order of climate regulation, however, we do not view humankind as powerful enough to destroy God’s plans. We trust in God to make wise decisions beyond our understanding at the moment. This does not mean we can flippantly ignore taking care of the earth, and I do not know an evangelical who thinks otherwise.

These concepts bother people without such faith. Some call us stupid or unthinking because to them faith sounds like foolishness. In their case, faith and science are like oil and water. I do not believe this to be true.

Today’s Helpful Word  

Job 42:1-3  (NIV)
 Then Job replied to the Lord: “I know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.”

 

Nancy Virden Seminar, May-2016
Photo Joe Boyle Photography

Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair. 

*** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME

NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional, and speak only from personal experiences and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!

*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright (c) 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.., Carlo Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despite Scientific Evidence, Most People Believe These Myths
8 reasoning “zombies” that you should fear.
Posted Jan 10, 2020

many people who describe themselves as intelligent make poor and regrettable decisions, often because they harbor false beliefs and rely on misinformation.

Beliefs are considered false when the views are contrary to established scientific evidence. Examples of generalized and prevalent false beliefs include the notion that suicides are more likely during the holiday season, that most women’s moods worsen during their premenstrual cycles (PMS), and that vaccines cause autism.

Despite what you believe, each statement above was proven false with scientific data.

why “smart” people reject facts    the reasons often include the influence of culture and personal experience, inability or unwillingness to examine the evidence, and  group acceptance supports believability). People are also resistant to surrendering false beliefs when they perceive no compelling reason to change or when they fail to realize the consequences of embracing a false belief.

In reality, there is no such thing as being unmotivated. People (and even zombies) are motivated by different things at different times and motivations change according to the context, social circumstances, and task at hand.
2. Willpower is limited.
For years researchers were adamant that willpower, like physical exercise, had endurance limits that affected self-control. A great example is a reticent dieter who, after avoiding sweets for weeks, breaks down and consumes a box of donuts (probably when no one is looking).
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While there is evidence to support the limitations of self-control, goal persistence, and resisting temptation over time (Muraven, 2012), recent findings suggest otherwise. Job et al. (2010) observed that during the completion of folding-box problems found on IQ tests, participants who believed (or were told) that they had unlimited self-control outperformed a comparison group of individuals who thought their ability decreased over time. In other words, despite mental exhaustion, our minds can be tricked into believing we have the power to endure.

the ability to multi-task without impacting performance is vastly overstated

any people swear that optimism is positively related to avoiding illness as well as an effective strategy to overcome sickness.
a recent aggregate of experimental studies (meta-analysis) revealed that people diagnosed with clinical depression are NOT at increased risk of developing cancer (Ahn et al., 2016). Most studies that indicate optimism is related to disease resilience and quicker recovery often fail to reflect the influence of having quality health care available. It is quite possible that when one has limited care options that other factors besides psychological disposition account for recovery perspectives.

8. We accurately judge our capabilities.

Do you harbor any of these false beliefs? The most likely answer is yes and according to the research, you will continue to embrace your beliefs despite the evidence presented here.

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