The Truth Matters – Understanding the Limits of Science

Everyone likes to harp that if science ruled the day all would be well. The problem with this popular view is that science is more than simply collecting data and making a decision. Here’s an example of what many think science is: You want to find the lowest price for a gallon of gas in your town. So you drive around and record the prices. And bam! You have the answer. Elementary my dear scientists.

But as one begins to investigate things at a larger scale where you can’t possibly count everything or observe every factor, you must make assumptions about the data you collect and then if you use inferential statistics, you must make even more assumptions. If you are investigating historical events prior to recorded history, then you must make presumptions in order for you to make those assumptions.

Then this scientific gumbo simmers and in the final analysis one must interpret the results and the resulting catch phrase reads, “The results of our study strongly suggest that….”

What is never said, but is always present, are the biases – personal, organizational, statistical..etc – These should never be ignored. Often research conducted by industry is suspected to be tainted by the opposing side because money allegedly taints objectivity. But what about the bias of a person who has spent their whole life studying a creature because they fell in love with it as a kid? Can that person be as objective as someone who is indifferent to the creature being studied?

Then there is the bias in publications. Journals – yes even scientific journals – compete for readership just like TV networks. Scientific manuscripts that show some affect (or are controversial) are more often published than those that are done with equal rigor but have no sexy findings to show.

While Malevolent Tide has a lot of faith in it, it has a lot of science too and the characters deal with data, assumptions, and biases as they run the gauntlet. The Enemy – the Prince of the Power of the Air – the Lion who roams about seeking those whom he may devour – doesn’t want people to think, period. To sleep through this life without considering the likelihood that there is an eternal life and an eternal realm where all the wrongs of this world are righted is one of the most depressing things I can imagine. The greater tragedy is when pride and capriciousness prevents a person from getting into heaven because they were too much of a “free thinking, progressive intellectual” to seriously look into Christ. Alas, Christ himself said many will hear the Word but only a few will believe.

So as a follower of Christ, my job is simply to tell others what he’s done for me and why I believe and to help others and respect others whether they agree with me, or not. And more are likely to disagree than agree, but my prayer is that God can use me to prepare them for when the Holy Spirit knocks on the door of their heart.

Thanks and God bless – Have a great Sunday!

R.H.

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