Can Science Prove God Exists?
Can science prove God’s existence? Absolutely not. Just take a look at the scientific method. A scientist’s job is to experiment to constantly confirm or deny their formulated hypothesis or theory. The theory itself is (or should be) based on observable facts and/or previous experimental data, but it could still be wrong. There can always be another way to interpret the data. And if you think about it, to say that a theory is true because it is confirmed by experimental data is a logical fallacy.
1. If my theory is true, then I would expect a certain result from my experiment.
2. I did get that certain result from my experiment.
3. Therefore, my theory is true.
In this argument, I have affirmed the consequent (the ‘then’ statement in proposition ) to prove the antecedent (the ‘if’ statement in proposition ). This is comparable to:
1. If I never water my houseplant, then it will die.
2. My houseplant died.
3. Therefore, I never watered it.
But this may not be the case; I may not have placed it in enough sun, or in too much; the cat may have assumed the plant existed for its own use; I may have overwatered it. This fallacy, known as affirming the consequent, is essentially what the scientific method is based on!
Thus, science cannot prove anything. It can only show something to be very likely to be true, or to show that something is false altogether. The more experimental data, fulfilled predictions, and fitting observable evidences confirm my theory, the more likely it is to be true. If just one experiment fails, however, my theory is most definitely false.
That being said, the more a theory has been confirmed by experimentation, the more wary scientists tend to be if a negative experiment proves otherwise. They will go over the experiment itself and how the data was collected very carefully and make sure nothing went wrong. Then again, they might not.
Take the Miller-Urey experiment, which was purported to have proved that life can come from non-life. This denied all the evidence collected over the last hundred or so years ever since Louis Pasteur showed this idea (first known as spontaneous generation, now called Abiogenesis) to be not possible. (Or rather, considering the nature of science, it is not very plausible.) But there are many scientists who simply desperately want to believe that Abiogenesis is possible. After all, how else could naturalistic evolution begin? They over looked all these problems with the experiment:
1. The scientists used controlled amounts of electricity in the experiment. They did not allow things to get out of control.
2. There was no oxygen involved (the scientists knew oxygen to be deleterious to forming amino acids). Had no oxygen been in the early atmosphere, however, UV rays would have hit the earth relentlessly, and would have had the same affect
3. The scientists immediately sorted the left handed amino acids (which are necessary for life) from the right-handed amino acids (which are toxic to life).
4. The scientists immediately removed the good amino acids from their environment, knowing that they’d quickly break apart if left in the harsh chemical mixture necessary for the experiment.
5. The experiment never produced life, but only a bunch of amino acids, which are only among the building blocks of life.
Had this experiment been reputable, it would have proved once and for all that Pasteur was wrong. This is the only thing science can prove – that a hypothesis, theory or law is without a doubt absolutely wrong. In the arguments above, if you could deny the consequent (my houseplant did not die), then that would prove the antecedent (I watered my houseplant). This is a valid form of argument known as modus tonens, or, the ‘method of denying.’ However, the Miller-Urey experiment had a lot of problems, and no scientist (secular or otherwise) really admits its validity. After all, a logical argument can be wrong, even if it follows a proper chain of reasoning, if it has false premises (I couldn't argue that my houseplant lived after salting it with the premise, "If I put salt in the flower pot, my houseplant will live"). The Miller-Urey experiment is still used in textbooks, however, along with Haeckel’s embryos drawings (which were discovered to be frauds almost immediately after their publication), the horse evolution progression (secularists now are coming to terms with the beaver status of Eohippus, the ‘dawn-horse’), and Archaeopteryx (which has been found above fully developed bird fossils living alongside the dinosaurs they are supposed to have evolved from). All are presented as irrefutable evidence for evolution.
But as we’ve seen, there is no such thing as irrefutable scientific evidence for a given theory. Which means that science can’t prove God’s existence any more than it can prove evolution to be true.
So if scientific evidence and experimentation can’t be used, but what about science itself? What is science?
Science is a means by which we study and interpret the world around us. Every time we experiment and study science, we assume a few things. We assume that the world is rational, for example. We assume that the future will behave like the past – when I do my experiment tomorrow scientific laws will work together in the same way they did yesterday, and so produce the same results. We assume that our senses are accurate and that our perceptions of the world around us correspond to real things. And we assume that these are all reasonable assumptions to make.
But in a naturalistic universe, where matter and energy is all there is and ever will be, these assumptions make no sense at all. To believe in a Big Bang is to deny known laws of logic and science. How do you get something from nothing? How can something create itself? If our universe began with a suspension of the laws of nature, and all is random, why would we assume that those laws are constants? Why should gravity work the same tomorrow as it does today? Why should our senses, which are the result of millions of years of genetic mistakes, accurately give us a picture of the world? Why should our mind interpret them properly? How can we really know anything at all? Not only is outside knowledge, made by observing and watching the world around us, brought under scrutiny, but mental knowledge, like mathematical proofs we can do in our head (we all know inherently that 2 + 2 = 4 and 2 x 2 = 4, so 2 x 2 = 2 + 2), becomes suspect since we have no way of testing whether our minds are working properly.
If naturalism is true, we have no reason to believe that the world is a logical, scientific, and orderly place, and we have no reason to believe that even if it were, our mind and senses could interpret it properly anyway. If naturalistic evolution were true we could not know anything, and science itself would be impossible!
But the world is a rational, scientific place, and our senses are in touch with reality. This is because a rational God made the world, promised in His Revelation to us that He would uphold it consistently, and made us in His image to observe and reason in the world He has given us. Only the God of the Bible makes science possible.
So while scientific speculation cannot prove anything, including God’s existence, the very fact that science exists, and works, and is even possible in the first place, proves that God is there.