A Pastor Reflects on the Scientific Method with Daniel Harrell

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In this video, Daniel Harrell reflects on the rigors of the scientific method, reminding us that what gives scientific discoveries their weight is not the individuals who make them, but the methods of science themselves, which instill in us a level of confidence.

Video Transcription

It's also important to remember that science is a human endeavor and that part of understanding 'what is' goes through a very rigorous methodology so that when a particular discovery is made, it's not enough that one person said, "Oh, look what I found?" There has to be innumerable others that find the same thing. Once enough people have found the same thing, there is then some confidence that this is a scientific finding, or as we like to say, a scientific fact.

What gives that such weight is not that scientist or person who has found it, but that the method they use instills a level of confidence that gives the rest of us an ability to trust that. The places where we see that most obviously are in areas of medicine, where the drugs that we put into our mouths and the things we let doctors do to us, we do with a fairly strong level of confidence, even though, obviously it's not perfect. We do this because there have been trials; there's been collaborating evidence that shows this is the case.

By using those analogies, you can help Christians who struggle with evolution to perhaps relax a little bit because the thing that makes evolution so strong is not that a few evolutionary biologists have found some things, but that biology, paleontology, chemistry, cosmology, and anthropology are cross-disciplines. There has been medicine. There has been a recognition of the robustness of this theory that has made it dependable enough that all sorts of other research have come from it. It's as close to a scientific fact as we can have in theoretical biology. Thus, to dismiss it is just irresponsible without taking a good, hard look at that sort of evidence.

John. R. W. Stott, Understanding the Bible

What may we say about the ‘how’ of God’s creative activity. Not many Christians today find it necessary to defend the concept of a literal six-day creation, for the text does not demand it, and scientific discovery appears to contradict it.  The biblical text presents itself not as a scientific treatise but as a highly stylized literary statement (deliberately framed in three pairs, the fourth “day” corresponding to the first, the fifth to the second, and the sixth to the third).  Moreover, the geological evidence for a gradual development over thousands of millions of years seems conclusive. …“ “It is most unfortunate that some who debate this issue (evolution) begin by assuming that the words “creation” and “evolution” are mutually exclusive.

- John. R. W. Stott, Understanding the Bible