Science and Religion

Not Contradictory at All

A widely believed urban legend declares that science has disproven religion—that God was only ever a myth, and now he’s been shown to be no more real than Santa Claus.

Not so, say scientists.

Neil Thomas calls attention to this in his review of a new book by the brilliant Michael Denton, who not only is an MD, but also holds a PhD in biochemistry. Thomas writes:

Recent advances in biological science, a subject formerly proclaimed to be corrosive of metaphysical beliefs, have somewhat unexpectedly become a stimulus to the emergence of new advances which endorse many of the older observations of natural theology. As astronomer Paul Davies remarked some four decades ago, “It may seem bizarre, but in my opinion science offers a surer path to God than religion.”

Supporting this contention—that science itself leads the charge toward a fresh theistic turn—Michael Denton makes the firm observation in his new book, The Miracle of Man: The Fine Tuning of Nature for Human Existence, that recent studies of the way the terrestrial environment appears to be fine-tuned for humankind are “not based on the Judeo-Christian scriptures or classical philosophy but on evidence derived from advances in our scientific understanding of nature.”

These scientific evidences don’t contradict the Judeo-Christian scriptures; they simply arrive at the same conclusions independently of those scriptures. In other words, the book of specific revelation (the Bible) and the book of general revelation (Nature) tell the same story.

Thomas evaluates Denton’s book from the perspective of someone who once believed the urban legend of science disproving God. A university professor and longtime member of the British Rationalist Association, Thomas was “a committed Darwinist and agnostic—until an investigation of evolutionary theory led him to a startling conclusion: ‘I had been conned!’ As he studied the work of Darwin’s defenders, he found himself encountering tactics eerily similar to the methods of political brainwashing he had studied as a scholar.”

That quotation comes from the back cover of the 2021 book Thomas wrote as a result of his revelation: Taking Leave of Darwin: A Longtime Agnostic Discovers the Case for Design. (You can hear a series of interviews with Thomas on the ID the Future podcast.)

As for Michael Denton, The Miracle of Man is the culmination of his Privileged Species series of books. He can be heard on the ID the Future podcast discussing the scientific insights he wrote about in those books.

In The Miracle of Man, Denton gives massive amounts of evidence that, far from being the haphazard and unanticipated result of mindless forces, humankind was planned for in advance. The universe was made ready for us in myriad ways. As Thomas notes:

These modern findings stand in implicit but conspicuous opposition to that “de-centering” of the Earth brought about by the Copernican Revolution, and Denton points to many points of contact linking modern cosmology and biology with the distinctly anthropocentric medieval view of the human estate as it has been articulated by the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Humans might not stand at the physical center of the universe, but science increasingly indicates that we stand at the center metaphysically.

(Full disclosure: I work for Discovery Institute Press, which published both Taking Leave of Darwin and The Miracle of Man. I’ve read them both and highly recommend them.)

Recommended Reading:

PhD, is an editor for the Discovery Institute and the author of four dystopian novels and many shorter works, both fiction and non-fiction. Before turning to editing, she taught as an adjunct English and humanities professor. She and her husband homeschooled their three children.

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