The Art of Raising Kids Who Will Not Bow to the Idol of Science

The Art of Raising Kids Who Will Not Bow to the Idol of ScienceThere’s a new hero in town. He’s thought to be all-powerful, always right, and everyone’s best friend. If anyone says something that could possibly be construed as being opposed to this hero, they are to be quickly shamed and put in their place. You see, if the world wants to move forward productively and intelligently—or so the story goes—they must get in line behind this hero.

He is today’s “way and truth.”

His name is science.

And tens of thousands of people marched for him last weekend in the “March for Science.”

If it sounds funny to give human attributes to the concept of science, don’t blame me. I’m only talking about science in the same kind of terms that the secular world effectively does.

To be sure, this hero isn’t actually new. He’s been promoted as such for a few centuries. But his popularity is skyrocketing today. He’s become a mainstream idol and he’s literally being paraded as a replacement for God.

In this post, we’ll look at how the secular world has turned science into an idol, and how we can teach kids not to bow to it.

To be clear: This post is about combating the idol of science…not science itself. In fact, if you read this and conclude that I’m opposed to science because I used the words combat and science in the same post, it’s a good sign you’ve fallen prey to the very mentality I’m describing.

 

Understanding How the Secular World Has Turned Science into an Idol

Before we can understand how to combat the idol of science, we have to understand how the secular world has created the idol in the first place. Here’s the basic strategy.

 

1. Proclaim that science is the only reliable way to determine what’s true about our world.

The Huffington Post featured an article with “19 of the Cutest and Funniest Kids from the March for Science.” One picture shows a boy holding up a sign that says, “Make America Think Again” and is wearing a shirt that says, “In Science We Trust.”

One man bluntly stated that science is truth:

Science is Truth

Similar examples abound.

This idea—that science is the only trustworthy way of learning about our world—is the key philosophical starting point for those who want to replace God with an idol of science. (Note that this was exactly the thinking behind the ridiculous Scientific American article on the resurrection that I critiqued in my last blog post.)

If you can convince the masses that “science” is synonymous with truth, it’s quickly implied that no other sources of truth are necessary. Who needs the Bible when we can figure everything out in test tubes?

 

2. Promote a false dichotomy between “science” and theism so people feel they have to make a choice.

With point 1 firmly in place, people are ready to start believing that science and theism (belief in a personal God) are a trade-off. You pick one as your source of truth. But don’t think for a minute the choices are being hailed as equally viable. Those who pick God are to feel ashamed for being backward and unscientific. After all, it’s assumed they rejected science.

So choose science and join others who made the obvious choice for truth at the cool kids’ table.

That’s the message.

 

3. Use the word science in a such a variety of ways that people stop trying to clarify what exactly is meant by “science” in any particular context and accept whatever is claimed in its name.

March organizers said they were doing it to encourage “scientists, educators, and advocates, as well as social service workers, artists, trade workers, business people, our elderly population, and families to come together for science.”

Sounds pretty harmless, right? As one 8-year-old said, “Trees make oxygen. It helps us breathe. Who doesn’t like that?” Other kids held up similar non-controversial posters that said, “I love my microscope”; “Future scientist”; and “Science: Experiment, Learn, Fail, Repeat”; and “Science Matters.”

There’s basically no one who would have a problem with any of those statements. In fact, you might even begin feeling a wee bit silly for ever casting a skeptical eye on the March in the first place. But that’s precisely the problem. Non-controversial statements are a smokescreen for the myriad other pieces of secular worldview being promoted under the umbrella term “science.”

If the March was only about science as a field of study, as these examples would imply, no one would need to march at all.

People march because they want something.

They want you to believe something or do something. And if you take a survey of the statements made by marchers, it’s clear they are using the word science interchangeably to mean a variety of things:

  • A field of study (as in, science is the systematic study of the natural world)
  • Scientists (the people who engage in that field of study)
  • Findings of scientific research
  • Interpretation of the findings of scientific research
  • Consensus on the interpretation of the findings of scientific research
  • Policy decisions that in any way touch on any of the above

It’s an effective strategy that you can see everywhere in media today. Establish that science is the only reliable way to gain knowledge about the world, convince people they need to choose science or God, then smuggle in whatever you want to put forward as truth under the generic label of “science” and make everyone think disagreement is for the uneducated fools who didn’t make the smart choice.

Don’t believe it for a minute.

 

The Art of Raising Kids Who Won’t Bow to the Science Idol

As Christian parents, we must help our kids understand science as nothing more and nothing less than what it is: an extremely important field of study that can give and has given us a wealth of knowledge about the workings of God’s creation.

We can modify the three points above to see what our kids really should know.

 

1. Scientific research is one (important) way to determine truth about our world.

Scientific research reveals the mechanics of the universe at a level of detail far beyond what God has revealed to us in the Bible. There’s no verse in the Bible, for example, that states the force of gravity. Science complements our knowledge of God because it reveals the workings of the world He created. Christians need the field of science as much as those with any other beliefs.

But science can say nothing about the ultimate meaning or purpose of our universe, or where all those laws of nature came from in the first place. You can study how a marble maze works, and describe those actions and mechanisms fully, but that doesn’t answer the questions of how the maze came together, why it’s there, and what we should do with it.

To answer these kinds of questions about the universe, we need the input of the One who created it. In that way, the Bible complements science.

 

2. There need never be a choice between science and God.

Far from being polar opposites, science needs God.

The goal of science, broadly, is to discover the order of the universe. But the feasibility of that goal depends on the assumption that the workings of our natural world can be discovered. We often take that for granted, but we shouldn’t.

Our universe is both understandable and logical. These characteristics allow us to do science in the first place. If the universe was just a hodgepodge of chaotic events, ungoverned by structured laws, science would be a hopeless task.

But why is the world intelligible rather than chaotic?

If the universe is truly the product of unguided evolutionary forces, as atheists claim, there’s no reason to expect that an elegant ordering of nature would happen on its own. But if the universe is the product of intelligence, as Christians and other theists claim, we would expect it to be orderly—a reflection of its rational designer.

Much more could be said on this, but the bottom line is that there is no trade-off between science and God. It’s a false dichotomy. You can pretend you’re “choosing” science, but your choice has no legs to stand on its own. You need God and science.

 

3. Thoughtful conversations about “science” must be nuanced enough to determine which meaning of science we’re talking about.

Let’s revisit the various meanings of science to see just a few questions that could be asked about any statement like, “Science says X.”

 

  • A field of study: Science, as a field of study, can say nothing. Only people say things. So, no, science doesn’t say X.

 

  • Scientists: Which scientists? Which field are they in? What are their credentials for speaking on this particular subject? What is the context for what they said? Who disagrees? Why do they disagree?

 

  • Findings of specific scientific research: How was the study designed? What was being tested? What was assumed? Who conducted it?

 

  • Interpretation of the findings of scientific research: What have prior studies on the subject found? What further research is needed to understand or test these findings? Is there a reason to believe this particular study is authoritative in some way? Where is the line between the findings of the study and what people are saying should be done with those findings?

 

  • Consensus on the interpretation of the findings of scientific research: When consensus is claimed, who is included in that consensus? How is consensus measured? Who has determined that consensus has been reached? What reasons do we have for believing the consensus?

 

  • Policy decisions that in any way touch on any of the above: The questions here are literally endless. Even if 100 percent of people agreed about the interpretation of 100 percent of scientific findings, there could be endless (legitimate) discussion on what the best policy measures should be based on those findings.

“Science says X” is an authoritative statement built on a foundation of hundreds of assumed answers to questions like these. What happens when we get tricked into believing that anything labeled science is authoritative?

This.

This is from Bill Nye’s new Netflix show, Bill Nye Saves the World, in which he “educates” the public on science issues.

This is being promoted as science.

I apologize for posting something of such a graphic nature, but this needs to be seen to be believed.

Incredible.

 

So, to the little boy who said, “Trees make oxygen. It helps us breathe. Who doesn’t like that?” the answer is no one.

Absolutely no one.

But that’s not the science the secular world wants us all to “like.” That science is an idol made by hands of people who want God off His throne.

Do not bow down.

 

Enjoy this post? Subscribe below to receive my 3-5 blog posts per month via email!

14 Comments

  1. Andrew Basile on April 27, 2017 at 2:46 PM

    This is a good post because science alone cannot answer humanity’s most important questions about our existence and the meaning of life.

    Regarding the March for Science, however, my only regret as a Christian with a science education is that I didn’t make the time to join the marchers. While some of the individual messages like “science is truth” might be off, the overall purpose of the march, I think, was to encourage our politicians (and voters) to strive for policies based on good science. I am appalled at the climate science denial that has been so prominent in the current administration, and I’d like to see the President listen to Republicans like Bob Inglis who, as “climate realists”, respect the scientific endeavor and advocate for free-market-based approaches to addressing climate change.

    As Christians, we need to be good stewards of Creation, and we need science to inform us in this. If we don’t do our job, the poorest and most vulnerable in this world will continue to be the ones suffering the most as weather patterns shift and sea level rises.



    • Natasha Crain on April 28, 2017 at 9:49 AM

      Hi Andrew,

      I think you are right in saying that the purpose of the march was political. But that’s where I take issue with calling it a “March for Science.” It was a march for specific policies. To use your example, two people can agree completely on climate change but legitimately disagree on the best policies to deal with that. A Christian can want to care for the Earth but not think the EPA needs the budget it has had (I’m not suggesting they do or do not need that budget, I’m just giving an example). Those examples don’t touch on morality per se, but there are many others that do and get promoted as “science” when they aren’t science at all (see the Bill Nye video). This is all why I feel it’s so important for people to stop talking in generalities (marching for “science”) and start talking in more nuanced terms so productive conversation can happen.



      • Andrew Basile on April 28, 2017 at 11:54 AM

        Wow, I admit that I had not viewed that Bill Nye video, and your reply motivated me to finally have a look. “Just do whatever you feel like doing” is his message, as presumably we are just animals anyway. This is secular moralizing, pure and simple, and it gives real scientists a bad name.

        Perhaps it would have been better if the march organizers had narrowed the focus, and called it a “March for Climate”. While many marchers did call for specific policies, much of the motivation for the event (from what I can tell) was sparked by key political leaders’ outright denial of the findings of climate scientists. Of course, these leaders’ positions have evolved, as they’ve gone from saying that the earth isn’t even warming to now asserting that humans are causing some warming, but that it’s not a serious issue. In any case, they continue to express opinions that are at odds with very strong scientific evidence. It’s hard to have honest debates over policy when key players are unwilling to even admit that there is a problem to be solved.

        In bringing up the next generation of Christians, I feel that it is critical to be honest with ourselves and avoid science denial. While we must eschew certain philosophical positions that are promoted as science, we do need to follow solid evidence wherever it leads, and thank God for giving us the tools to better understand how to care for Creation!

        Finally, on a personal note, allow me to add that I’m really not happy with either major political party right now.



  2. Julie on April 27, 2017 at 3:46 PM

    Well said. Also, let’s not forget about the alarmist predictions proclaimed by Earth Day scientists that never came to pass.



  3. Collin Mc on April 28, 2017 at 6:18 AM

    Absolutely brilliant post!



  4. Alicia on April 28, 2017 at 8:18 AM

    Just a bit of clarification – was the Bill Nye clip a “fun” segment on his show or a conclusion in musical form on the science of sexuality?



    • Natasha Crain on April 28, 2017 at 9:51 AM

      I’m sure he thought it was fun, but it was absolutely in the context of promoting a message on the science of sexuality. After her performance he said, “That’s exactly the right message, Rachel.”



  5. David on April 30, 2017 at 7:39 PM

    Bill Nye is a proponent of eugenics: The use of abortion, infanticide and other forms of birth control to limit population growth freeing the world from starving and birth defective children to conserve the Earth’s resources. Bill Nye is no scientist–he is a self-righteous elitist who knows better than the rest of us.



  6. Midweek Apologetics Roundup - Hope's Reason on May 3, 2017 at 10:41 AM

    […] The Art of Raising Kids Who Will Not Bow to the Idol of Science – Natasha Crain […]



  7. larry cloyes on May 3, 2017 at 10:53 AM

    The article pulls on the linchpin of my fall from god. After Desert Storm, I conducted a tough spiritual evaluation asking bedrock questions. What do I wish to value? Who do I want to be?

    In the decade long process I discovered the immense value of warm spirituality, or romanticism. As my faith in god faded, basic concepts like fairness and equality were push forward. I was always curious and artistic (I paint) but I began to fully recognize the wonderful value of curiosity.

    The last linchpin was my discovery that my solidifying warm spirituality was not compatible with a belief in god. It is impossible to fully embrace curiosity while believing in god. The belief in god requires everything to fall within the parameters of the bible….No fact can exist that contradicts the Bible. This fenced outlook might be fulfilling for some people but not for this person.

    I like hiking with friends . Last week our group was overlooking the valley in the foothills of the Ozarks. A lazy river was meandering through the valley. I could see and pointed out to my friends the many oxbow lakes in the valley. On the map we could see where the river had massively change directions leaving traces of its past life. To the east and west the river had created and abandoned two large winding valleys in rock. In the farmer’s fields we could see where the river once snaked because of the changes of in the color foliage….the river once lazily meandered through the fields then cut itself off then the oxbow lakes were filled.

    Looking at this valley I was awestruck. Yet, I could ignore the long history of a small river in the Ozarks….and believe in god. I could fabricate a story to explain the history of the river where somehow lazy meanders in rock take days to carve. I could be selective in accepting evidence. Or, I just could be a honest person who simply enjoys a river and its history.

    I like being an honest person. I like being curious. As parents we should absolutely empower these two traits.



    • John Attwell on May 22, 2017 at 6:10 PM

      Well said!



  8. Food for Thought #22 | The Sparrow's Home on May 24, 2017 at 11:02 PM

    […] The art of raising kids who will not bow to the idol of science … at Natasha Crain.  This is a topic that my family is passionate about.  Just this afternoon, my husband was invited to teach another seminar on Creation vs. Naturalism.  It’s an important topic, and I really appreciated her logical and well thought out piece here.  She starts with the premise that science is important field of study that can give and has given us a wealth of knowledge about the workings of God’s creation.  And she dismantles lies like this: […]



  9. Jamie on May 25, 2017 at 7:51 AM

    This is a very insightful way to explain it. As Christian parents, we tell our children over and over again that we are not opposed to (or afraid of!) science and research and are willing to investigate any scientific research or theory in light of the Bible and see what God says about it. There are no scientific facts in the natural world that deny or oppose God because He created the natural world. But we have to be very discerning when people move from facts into theories, assumptions, projections, extrapolations, etc and give each fair consideration and critical thinking before accepting or denying. And as you pointed out, we can agree on the science while still completely disagreeing on the policy.