Now that we have a definition of "evidence" (from the previous post in this series), and a clear idea of the relationship between science and Christianity, we can start evaluating some of the evidence for Christianity. Over the next few weeks, I intend to show that science as a whole counts as evidence for Christianity against atheism.
Now, one question that we must ask at the onset is "what kind of evidence would allow us to distinguish between the two positions?" Our evidence must be such that the two camps would give two different probability values for that evidence being true. For example, if we wanted to decide between the idea of a round versus a flat Earth, we cannot say that since our driveway is flat, the earth must be flat. That would be using evidence that does not allow us to distinguish between the two theories, since both theories would predict with equal probability that the Earth has negligible curvature on the size scale of a driveway. In order to judge between a round and a flat Earth, you must go to a much larger scale, and look at the whole earth across many miles.
So we cannot use any specific piece of scientific data to judge between Christianity and atheism. It would be too "small". As an example, the fact that the star Antares is a red supergiant cannot distinguish between Christianity and atheism, for both would presumably use science to arrive at an answer about Antares (despite some atheists claiming "science, therefore atheism!"). Even most fields taken as a whole, such as psychology or evolutionary biology, are too small to allow us to distinguish between Christianity and atheism. In order use science itself as evidence, you must look at it at a much broader scale, and look at the whole discipline at a very fundamental level.
What are these fundamental ways of looking at science? The following is the list of things I'll be considering in the coming weeks as evidence in evaluating Christianity and atheism.
1. Assumptions of science: science operates under certain philosophical assumptions, such as the uniformity of the laws of nature. I will show that these assumptions are best explained by Christianity. That is to say, these assumptions are predicted with higher probability by Christianity.
2. Trends in science: science has now advanced enough to the point that we can speak of the direction that science is heading in, or of trends in science. I will show that these trends are best explained by Christianity.
3. Things that science cannot explain: science is a powerful and useful tool, but it is still limited in its applicability. I will examine the things that science cannot explain, and show that many of these things are explained quite easily by Christianity. And this will not be a "god of the gaps" argument - instead I will examine things that science cannot ever hope to explain even in principle, such as the efficacy of mathematics and the nature of morality.
4. Predictions about the future of science: predictions are always tricky - even Einstein was off by a factor of two in his general relativity predictions, before he corrected it - but I will venture to make some predictions about the future of science. If I'm right and Christianity explains science, these predictions should turn out to be true, although they may be difficult to test.
Lastly, I must counter a particular error that I mentioned in passing above - that science automatically implies atheism. This is clearly wrong; if there in fact is a scientific proof of atheism, I would very much like to see it. If such a proof does not exist, then the atheist must examine his presuppositions, and distinguish where his science ends and his atheism begins - what is the non-scientific presupposition that he has added on top of the scientific presuppositions that make him an atheist? Those are the very presuppositions that we will be evaluating against Christianity. If the atheists objects, "I don't have any atheistic presuppositions! I start with only science, and although I can't scientifically prove atheism, it's still the best answer that the evidence leads to!" Then good: where "the evidence leads to" is exactly what we'll be examining.
We start with the next post of the series, on the assumptions of science.
You may next want to read:
The axioms of science as evidence for Christianity against atheism (Next post in this series)
How physics fits within Christianity (part 1)
"Proving" God's existence
Another post, from the table of contents