ICR: Theology Makes Science Possible

It’s time you straightened out your thinking, dear reader, and the creation scientists at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom — are going to help you.

Their latest article is How Theology Informs Science . It’s by Jake Hebert, described at the end as a “Research Associate” for ICR. They say he has a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Texas at Dallas. Jake says, with bold font added by us:

Since biblical skeptics claim that God doesn’t exist, they would argue that theology — unlike “real” disciplines such as physics, chemistry, and mathematics—makes no meaningful contribution to human knowledge. For example, physicist and professing atheist Lawrence Krauss states:

[Alleged quote from Krauss:] Indeed, I have challenged several theologians to provide evidence contradicting the premise that theology has made no contribution to knowledge in the past five hundred years at least, since the dawn of science. So far no one has provided a counterexample.

We haven’t verified that quote, but it sounds reasonable. Jake says:

Contrary to this assertion, counterexamples do exist. Not only is good, Bible-based theology essential for a proper relationship with our Creator, but it also contributes to our understanding of the natural world. Usually its contributions are subtle, but sometimes they are surprisingly direct.

We’d like to see some specific examples. But first Jake tells us this:

The Christian worldview makes science possible [footnote citing something by Jason Lisle]. Because science relies on observation, scientific studies are pointless unless the information about the world provided to us by our senses is trustworthy. How do you know that what you are observing is truly real?

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! If an organism’s senses didn’t function, it wouldn’t survive. Jake continues:

How do you know that you are not actually a disembodied brain being fed electrical stimuli to make you think you are reading this article? Because God is faithful and truthful, we would expect our senses (which He created for us) to be generally reliable sources of information about the world around us. Likewise, with the relatively infrequent exception of miracles, one expects the universe to behave in an orderly, predictable manner, since “God is not the author of confusion” [scripture reference].

Okay. So we have functional senses and the universe is orderly (except when it’s incomprehensible because of all those miracles). Is that it? No, there’s more:

Good theology provided crucial insight that led to the discovery of conservation of energy, one of the most important laws in physics. Intuitively, we think of energy as the capacity to make something happen. This rule states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, although it can be transformed from one kind to another.

For some reason, Jake didn’t give us a scripture reference for that one. Instead, he tells us:

James Joule discovered that the amount of friction needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit consistently resulted from the same amount of mechanical work: 772 foot-pounds. This was an important step in the development of a formal statement of conservation of energy. … In honor of his discoveries, physicists measure energy in units called joules. It is well known that Joule’s studies in this area were motivated by his theology.

Motivated by theology? Not informed? Motivated? Jake gives us what we think is an accurate quote from Joule:

Believing that the power to destroy belongs to the Creator alone I affirm…that any theory which, when carried out, demands the annihilation of force is necessarily erroneous.

That appears to be the best example Jake has for us. Actually, it’s his only example. He concludes with this:

So, contrary to Krauss’ assertion, theology (particularly good theology) makes practical contributions to our understanding of the natural world. The Lord Jesus Himself said, “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit” That the Christian worldview led to modern science provides additional evidence for the use of theology in our modern age. [Oh yeah! See Did Science Originate with Creationists?] A right understanding of God and our relationship to Him yields practical benefits in both this world and the world to come.

So there you are, dear reader. We owe it all to theology. Jake says so.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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14 responses to “ICR: Theology Makes Science Possible

  1. Oh, for God’s sake! What a steaming pile of tortured, circular reasoning! Beyond belief that any educated person could have written this.

  2. michaelfugate

    I thought Joule was motivated by economizing (or economising since he was a Brit) his brewing business.

  3. Theology [i.e., religions] in many instances do their best to suppress science and its often inconvenient results when those results contradict religious beliefs. Creation “science” and intelligent design are two examples where creationists have tried to force their religious beliefs into school systems. There are many other examples from the not too distant past just in the US. [Texas schoolbooks…]

    So no, theology does not make science possible. Rather the weakening of theocratic rule/domination makes science possible.

  4. @retiredscienceguy – An educated person didn’t. Someone who attended university did. Not synonymous. Pearls before swine and all that.

  5. @Ken Phelps: Ah — good point. Still, Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Texas… he must have been wearing theocratic blinders.

  6. Charles Deetz ;)

    To refer back a couple posts here, theology influenced science by providing completely unscientific ideas like the firmament splitting the waters, thus, once discovered as completely useless, allowed science to advance unabated.

  7. If I lived in a world filled with sheeple I too would have put some godbot statement in my research…Joule wasn’t an idiot!!!
    God is not the creator of confusion??? Has this dimwit never seen an illusion??? How confusing can gawd get!!!
    And he still never gave an example of anything good religion has given to humanity, which is not surprising as any dogma by its nature is evil.

  8. Because God is faithful and truthful, we would expect our senses (which He created for us) to be generally reliable sources of information about the world around us.

    Actually, if “God is faithful and truthful” (an unwarranted assumption), then we should have superpowers. Genesis states that God created us in his own image. The biblical God is invisible most of the time, but also appears as a burning bush, a creature that cannot be safely looked upon, he had eyes that flamed, his face was like the sun, etc. Also, of course, he was omnipotent, with senses far greater than ours (or any possible material creature.)

    We fall far short of those capabilities. So when God said he made us in his own image, he was clearly lying. Our senses are better explained as evolved and adapted to our environment. Ergo, Jake should use his physics degree for something more productive.

  9. L.Long, your opinion that dogma is by nature evil is overstated. It is an exaggerated manifestation of a general human tendency toward enforcing cultural norms.

    We need those because we are a social species and need to establish and maintain unity within our group. In religious ritual we vocalize together, like troops of howler monkeys or mated pairs of cranes. We dance, like turkeys strutting or dogs bowing in the “let’s play” posture. We follow rules governing the distribution of resources and social privilege, like macaques or lions. These tendencies were not decided on by committees; they developed in the form of appetites, like cravings for salt, fat, and sugar. Animals who had those cravings survived better than ones without.

    Like cravings for nutritional requirements, cravings for behavior can become counterproductive when we overindulge. And the social norms that we need so everyone knows what to expect from other members of our troop are especially easy to intensify into dogma, which can make individuals so miserable that the group falls apart (as Scientology seems to be doing now). And dogma is almost always bad news for nonmembers, especially for those whose membership has been revoked.

    “Evil,” however, seems too strong a word. But maybe it’s just my definition of evil; I reserve it for hurtful actions carried out just for the sake of the hurt.

  10. Christianity did give us the science of human torture. They researched it, did their own experiments, and produced the documentation of their findings. Their studies resulted in great advancements in technological devices and effective methods of tormenting and carving up their fellow man. They certainly advanced this science, and they completely abandoned morality in order to to do.

  11. Eric Lipps

    How do you know that you are not actually a disembodied brain being fed electrical stimuli to make you think you are reading this article? Because God is faithful and truthful, we would expect our senses (which He created for us) to be generally reliable sources of information about the world around us. Likewise, with the relatively infrequent exception of miracles, one expects the universe to behave in an orderly, predictable manner, since “God is not the author of confusion” [scripture reference].

    How can you verify all these scriptural references if you’re a disembodied brain and don’t know that the Bible you think you’re reading is real?

  12. docbill1351

    The Krauss Challenge holds. No theologian, even the so-called, self-proclaimed “sophisticated” theologians have ever offered up any knowledge that could be derived through theology alone and not science. Not a single shred. The so-called “other ways of knowing” it total [edited out]!

  13. docbill1351 says:

    No theologian, even the so-called, self-proclaimed “sophisticated” theologians have ever offered up any knowledge that could be derived through theology alone and not science.

    Oh yeah? What about the watchmaker analogy and the god of the gaps theory? Without them, there would be no theory of intelligent design.

  14. Mike Elzinga

    Hebert thinks he has the ultimate challenge to “godless knowledge:”

    How do you know that you are not actually a disembodied brain being fed electrical stimuli to make you think you are reading this article? Because God is faithful and truthful, we would expect our senses (which He created for us) to be generally reliable sources of information about the world around us.

    He is copying the mad, mad, mad “mind” of Jason Lisle.

    How does this line of “thinking” exempt Hebert and his supposed knowledge of a deity? If he thinks his deity feeds him the “correct” information about the universe, how does he know his deity is not a creation of his own mind projecting human traits and artifacts made by humans onto the universe?

    Evolution in our universe explains far better why any sentient creature that forms out of the condensing matter of the universe would find that the universe makes sense. Such a creature would have neural networks and hierarchies of memory that follow the laws of physics that led to its existence.

    Not one ID/creationist – especially the crackpots at the ICR and AiG – understands enough science to get fundamental concepts right. Not one of them can do even an elementary calculation at the high school level. Their “PhDs” are essentially fake; every damned one of them has gamed the system to get those “prestigious letters” after their names so that they can waggle them in front of their rube following

    I have dug into the “physics” of Jason Lisle and the rest of them; they’re all just plain nuts. One has to wonder how people like that can have enough neural activity to even walk.