Free Course: Science, Superstition, and Faith

Modern science has wrought so many technological miracles for us that one does not need to stress the value of science for man. Diseases which were assumed to be very difficult to control are now treated  successfully by novices. The pocket calculator that we can purchase today for less than 400 rupees is more powerful than the first computer costing several million rupees and weighing several tons. CAT scanning makes any part in the interior of our body visible to doctors from any angle that they want. The once mysterious atom has become an object of school curriculum.

Science: The sudden growth of science and technology in the past century or two was initiated by the work of certain Christian men of learning. The Greek, Roman, and Eastern views of this Universe were based more upon intuition and less upon observation. This gave impetus to speculation but not to controlled experimentation or observation. The Protestant Reformation changed the whole situation. Martin Luther came out with strong support for unbiased and objectives study of nature to  replace speculation. For example, people then believed that all kinds of injurious creatures and parasites could be born when rags and wheat are put together in a dark place. Based on his study of the Bible, Luther opposed this idea of spontaneous generation as both unscriptural and unscientific. This statement was latter confirmed through many experiments, and has become established into what is called the Law of Biogenesis. According to it, life comes only from preexisting life. This Law is the basis of all modern disinfecting practices.

Robert Boyle and Sir Isaac Newton took initiative with other scientists of their time because of their firm conviction that Nature should be studied objectively. They arrived at this conclusion because of their understanding of Bible. Most of the leading scientists of that generation who joined them and continued to make the greatest discoveries were men who were motivated by the Bible. James Clark Maxwell never hid away his faith in the Bible and the way  it had motivated his to study the foundations of science.

Before this there was a group of people who came together to form a body to study the Universe. They called themselves as Virtuosi, and  their belief in the Bible motivated them to start a systematic study of the physical world. This group became the forerunner of all the royal societies and scientific bodies devoted to research. Many historians of science who have re searched into the origins of modern science have concluded that were it not for the Protestant Reformation, modern science would not have born and progressed so much.

Superstition:  Superstitions have always been with mankind. Ascribing everything beyond his understanding to good or bad omens and  is a common practice. Once an idea becomes embedded in the minds of people, they see it taking place everywhere. Contrary events are overlooked, and only subjective evaluation is left. The case of the number 13 is a universal example. Once  accepted as an evil number, people remember only the evil incidents associated with this number. All the good incidents are overlooked. This is not science.

An objective investigator considers all events whether they conform to  his expectations or not. He does not allow his feelings to play any part in the investigation. Nor does he accept or reject a statement based on his feelings. He bases all his acceptances as well as rejections on solid, unshakable evidence. This is how the investigation of science proceeds in an ideal situation.

The objective scientific enquiries of the natural world and its events have brought many things into light. Contrary to the initial notion of people, no set of investigative methods is equally valid for all fields of study. Each discipline of research has to develop its own methods of verification and refutation. The methods used in one branch of study are often inadequate for a different branch of study. The methods of physics are not of history, and that of mathematics are not of sociology. They all might have certain logical assumptions in common, but they are not identical in all respects.

Faith: Faith is the building-block or foundation of all disciplines of study. It is something entirely different from superstition. Superstition is a blind faith. It is different from objective faith. Objective faith, whether it is in science or in God, is followed by objective results and demonstrations. Objective faith can always be demonstrated to be true or of value.

Science questions superstitions, but not objective faith — a faith which lends itself to investigation. Science recognizes the difference between superstition and objective faith. One should do away with all superstition, but one has to retain faith. Without it no science or logic is possible.

The Christian faith is an objective one. Its claims can be examined. Faith can be shown to produce results. Bible can be demonstrated to be a book not conflicting  with any known laws of science. In fact a right kind of attitude towards the Bible produces the right kind of knowledge. This is why sciences were suppressed when the Bible was also suppressed in the dark ages : this is why modern science was born when the reformers opened up the Bible to the world.

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