I’ve had a lot of conversations and experiences lately that have led me to the conclusion that in the debate between religion and science, science will always have the upper hand.
The key here is objectivity. The religious side in any argument simply can’t be objective. From the very start they’re biased by a belief in God that taints every single piece of evidence they see. When confronted with a new piece of evidence, the objective scientist will ask, “Hmm, now how does this work?” When confronted with the same piece of evidence, the religious person will ask, “Hmm, now how can I use this to prove the existence of God and the veracity of the bible?” See the difference?
I’m an atheist. I’m an atheist because of science, whereas I think that a lot of religious people tend to think that most people are scientists because of atheism, that atheists become scientists in order to disprove God. In reality, I think that most religious people simply don’t understand why people are atheists. I’m an atheist because I see no current evidence to support the existence of a deity. That’s it. I’m not an atheist because I “hate God” or am on a mission to prove He doesn’t exist. Science objectively informs me about the universe that I live in, and I base my beliefs on that evidence.
But that also means that my beliefs are subject to change, because I have no subjective stake in them, unlike a religious person. In any debate with the religious, I have zero stake in the actual outcome. If science proved tomorrow that God unequivocally exists, then I would believe in God. If science ultimately explains the workings and goings on of the universe without God (the current paradigm), then I shall continue to not believe in God. It’s that simple. As a practical example, I believe in evolution because there’s physical, tangible evidence for it. I don’t believe in creationism because a) there’s no way to objectively measure or test it, and b) there’s zero evidence for it.
But the same cannot be said of a religious person. It’s impossible for them to be objective in their views, because they have a subjective stake in the argument. They’ve already started with this conclusion–that God created the world in six days, that woman was created from man’s rib, etc. So when they look at a piece of evidence, it’s impossible for them to be objective about it; they automatically have to try to fit it into their religious worldview. The beliefs of a religious person aren’t objective and therefore aren’t subject to change. Jesus himself could descend from a cloud in the sky tomorrow and tell an evangelical congregation that evolution is real, that God flipped the switch and the universe worked itself out, and they’d all probably claim that it was a trick by Satan.
And that’s why I don’t put any stock in “creation science.” Firstly, it’s not a science because it’s not objective. There’s a ridiculously huge bias there that influences everything. Secondly, they’ve set their own terms in the debate. Rather than objectively follow the evidence, they’ve conveniently redefined what constitutes evidence. That’s pretty handy, isn’t it? To be able to dictate arbitrarily and subjectively what is and what isn’t evidence? Who could possibly lose a debate when they get to dictate all of the terms? And if all else fails and objective fact starts to seep in, there’s the always the old, “Well, God works in mysterious ways/it’s impossible to comprehend His glorious plan,” fallback position.
And that’s why, quite frankly, creation science is often flat out wrong in it’s understanding of the world around us. It’s not looking at anything objectively; rather it’s desperately trying to redefine the evidence so that it fits in with their completely subjective worldview. Because a belief in God can only be rooted in the subjective, it’s automatically incompatible with the objective.
So of course science is winning the argument. I’m not arguing from the conclusion and working backward. I don’t have to do mental gymnastics to try to make the world fit into into a box I’ve already put it in. I’m arguing based off of a rational evaluation of evidence. I don’t care which way the evidence leads us. As of right now, it does not lead us in the direction of a God. That’s just how it goes. I have no emotional investment in that. If tomorrow that changes then it changes and that’s the new objective reality. The same, however, cannot be said of the religious side of the coin, a side that can only exist so long as only certain evidence exists. And if that evidence doesn’t exist or points to the contrary? Then it’s all a test of faith by God, obviously.