Merry Christmas: science isn't all it's cracked up to be...
(Tim, w/thanks to Pastor Curell) The scientific method is coming in for some hard knocks, recently, as efforts to replicate a number of critical studies fail. Some would prefer to put it that "replication is proving difficult," but after reading some of the stats, "failure" seems the right description. In discipline after discipline, scientists doing experiments over again find themselves unable to replicate earlier findings that minted academic superstars and set the standard for medical practice, for instance.
Some of the inability to replicate is likely attributable to the very old problem we all fall into of looking for proof that we're right. The problem is too widespread, though, for that alone to be the answer. Thus the New Yorker subtitled its article reporting on this crisis under its Annals of Science: "The Truth Wears Off: Is There Something Wrong with the Scientific Method?"
After reviewing hundreds of papers and forty-four meta-analyses, Australian National University's Michael Jennions found "a consistent decline effect over time, as many of the theories seemed to fade into irrelevance. ...Jenions admits that his findings are troubling, but expresses a reluctance to talk about them publicly.""...'This is a very sensitive issue for scientists,' he says. 'You know, we're supposed to be dealing with hard facts, the stuff that's supposed to stand the test of time. But when you see these trends you become a little more skeptical of htings."
Stanford epidemiologist John Ioannidis wrote a paper frequently cited by his peers that was titled, "Why Most Published Research Findings Are False."
Again and again, I exhort young scholars working toward their doctorate that God is true though all men are liars. It may be a bit harsh to use the word "liar" in the context of the replication crisis, but there's been no shortage of scientists who deny and ridicule the Word of God. Creation is their favorite whipping boy, but they're not averse to attacking the precious blood of Jesus Christ as Richard Dawkins did in the Guardian this Christmas holiday:
The creator of the universe, sublime inventor of mathematics, of relativistic space-time, of quarks and quanta, of life itself, Almighty God, who reads our every thought and hears our every prayer, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God couldn't think of a better way to forgive us than to have himself tortured and executed. For heaven's sake, if he wanted to forgive us, why didn't he just forgive us? Who, after all, needed to be impressed by the blood and the agony? Nobody but himself.
Ratzinger has much to confess in his own conduct, as cardinal and pope. But he is also guilty of promoting one of the most repugnant ideas ever to occur to a human mind: "Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Hebrews 9:22).
That's the eminent British scientist, Richard Dawkins of Oxford--the one God calls a fool.
The scientific method has been quite helpful in saving hundreds of millions of lives, but it has its limitations.
Meanwhile, we should beware of confusing the scientific method with science or scientists.
Science and scientists are in for a fall from the divinity status the Enlightenment bequethed them and I'll be happy to lend my hand to the godly work of toppling them from that pedestal. The godless ideological commitments of many men claiming the mantle of "science" as their authority has intimidated the simple and weak and trusting and child-like for too many years and it's time to call an end to it. Thus I find this replication problem delightful. It's one more nail in the coffin of the foolish idolatry of science that has sent too, too many souls to denial of the Word of God, the Son of God, the Blood of Jesus Christ, and Hell.
So as I said, a very merry Christmas to all!