Secular Science

As I read the excellent post by John Mark Reynolds on how a conservative Christian reacts to the Ferguson report, I noticed this curious aside: “the joys of secular science!”

What the heck is the meaning of that?

Well, it turns out, secular science is what the defenders of creationism call “science.”  Or, more specifically, science as it relates to evolution.  But what it seems like they do here is really to use creationism as a litmus test, and then make a whole bunch of assumptions about anyone who raises questions about creationism, especially those who think that evolution is a pretty strongly established theory.  Here’s what “All About God,” a 501c3 corporation, has to say about it:

Secular Science – Introduction
The core of Secular Science is well-summarized by George Gaylord Simpson, “Man is the result of a purposeless and natural process that did not have him in mind. He was not planned. He is a state of matter, a form of life, a sort of animal, and a species of the Order Primates, akin nearly or remotely to all of life and indeed to all that is material.”1

Belief in evolution is as crucial to Humanism’s worldview as are its atheistic theology and naturalistic philosophy. In fact, the Humanist’s ideas about the origin of life can be considered a special dimension of these disciplines. Without the theory of evolution, the Humanist would have to rely on God as the explanation for life, which would necessarily destroy his atheism. Therefore, every Secular Humanist embraces the theory of evolution.

The Humanist Manifesto I states, “Humanism believes that man is a part of nature and that he has emerged as the result of a continuous process.”2 This belief is echoed in the Humanist Manifesto II, which claims that “science affirms that the human species is an emergence from natural evolutionary forces.”3 And in Humanist Manifesto 2000 Kurtz says, “The theory of evolution and the standards of ecology should also be studied.”4

For the Humanist, atheistic evolution is not one option among many, but rather the only option compatible with their worldview. Creationism, or Intelligent Design, is considered an enemy of science. – See more at: http://www.allaboutworldview.org/secular-science.htm#sthash.qGHW6vP8.dpuf

This is a false dichotomy, and one that is harmful.  Albert Einstein was a pretty good scientist, and he thought a great deal about the philosophy and epistemology involved.  Here is a website about his philosophy.  Here is one about his religions thoughts.  He did believe in God, and only saw a conflict when a religion applied a dogmatic belief to facts that can be observed and described by science.  Generally, those dogmatic beliefs are really not a part of the main goals of the religion anyway, and might better be described as symbolic rather than literal.  Einstein:
It is this mythical, or rather this symbolic, content of the religious traditions which is likely to come into conflict with science. This occurs whenever this religious stock of ideas contains dogmatically fixed statements on subjects which belong in the domain of science. Thus, it is of vital importance for the preservation of true religion that such conflicts be avoided when they arise from subjects which, in fact, are not really essential for the pursuance of the religious aims.
It seems to me that what is important to those who use this kind of terminology is not really the facts, or the science, or even the aims of the religion, but mostly the dogma.  And the reason is that they use that dogma in a lot of other ways as well, so if they allow for the possibility of evolution, then it’s open season on all their beliefs.
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