God and Science - Incompatible?

Part 7 of a 7-part series with Dr. Eugenie C. Scott: The Bible, the Flood, and the Grand Canyon. Dr. Scott believes that affirming science and believing in God are compatible. However, claims by creationists that the Grand Canyon was created by a flood

John Connolly: Do you think that a belief in God and an affirmation of science are incompatible? Eugenie Scott: Well I don’t have to address that as a philosophical question; I can address that as an empirical question. It’s obvious that it is [compatible] because there are many people who are scientists, who are also people of faith. There are many theologians whose job it is, whose life it is to think about religious issues who are enthusiastic acceptors and supporters of science and who are excited by the things that scientists discover. So it’s empirically obvious that there’s no necessary conflict between science and religion; when a religion makes a fact claim, such as the creation science people will talk about how Grand Canyon was laid down for example. They believe Grand Canyon was laid down by the waters from Noah’s flood, that somehow you got 4,000 feet of layers of different kinds of rock, all laid down in that approximately one year time that the Earth was covered with water; not bloody likely. And they also claim that Grand Canyon was cut catastrophically; a huge amount of water came sleuthing through this 4,000 plus feet of sediment and produced this big canyon in 2 weeks; that is a fact claim. You can examine that scientifically and we can look at the geological evidence of Grand Canyon, and we can find lots and lots of evidence why that is simply incompatible with the idea, for example, that all those layers were laid down by water; [it] can’t happen given what we know about modern geology, so we can reject that statement. Now if a creation science person came back and said “Well God did it that way, I believe God did it that way because I believe in the literal truth of the bible and so that must be true; God did it that way but he just made it look like it was laid down by other kinds of processes.” Ok, now you’ve stepped outside of science; science can’t say that’s wrong because science can’t test statements having to do with god, and the only statements that we can test are those having to do with the natural world, so if you step completely outside of that and bring God in as an explanatory, you’ve gone outside of science. So science can accept or reject fact claims made by religion, but the basic idea that a supernatural exists which is foundational to the religions we are familiar with, and I would argue as an anthropologist, foundation to the idea of religion across the planet, tribal religions as well. That basic idea of does a supernatural exist or not is not something science can measure.

creationism, intelligent design, creation science, henry morris, darwinism, evolution, darwin, Genesis, eugenie, scott, dnalc, cshl

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