This is thing that utterly gets my goat; this little phrase right here:
“Well, science has proven that . . .”
Nope. No, it hasn’t. You’re wrong. You, sir or ma’am, are very, very wrong.
Usually the ones guilty of this are high school/college age evolutionists who think they have the world figured out. However, many creationist students are just as guilty.
And I say students because I genuinely hope no scientist would ever use that phrase. If they have . . . well, science is going down the tubes . . . (ha ha . . .)
The problem is that science cannot prove anything. Prove is a bigger word than you think it is. Dictionary, a little help, please?
verb (past participle proved or proven |ˈpro͞ovən| )
1 [ with obj. ] demonstrate the truth or existence of (something) by evidence or argument: the concept is difficult to prove | (as adj. proven) : a proven ability to work hard.
• [ with obj. and complement ] demonstrate by evidence or argument (someone or something) to be: innocent until proven guilty.
So to prove something means to show that it’s true beyond a shadow of a doubt. For example, when a crime is proven to have taken place, that’s it. The criminal is guilty. Without a doubt, this man is guilty of the crime because it was proven to have taken place.
Science cannot do that.
the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment: the world of science and technology.
Basically science is looking at the world and saying, “Hey, that’s there. How? Why?” and testing and testing and testing it again to figure it out. However, science can never, ever prove the truth of something. Why? Because science is constantly changing.
Let me give you an example:
Back in the days of the Aristotle, people thought that objects naturally “wanted” to remain still. Now, in our daily experiences, that makes sense, right? Our observations tell us that’s true. If we throw a ball, it won’t keep rolling forever. It stops at some point. It must “want” to stay still.
However, a very smart (and Christian, I might add) man named Sir Isaac Newton came along and saw that this simply wasn’t true. We now know that “an object in motion tends to remain in motion unless it is stopped by an external force.” The ball I talked about earlier was stopped by gravity and friction, two forces unknown to Aristotle and the Greeks. It “wants” to keep going, but it can’t due to the forces all around it.
Now, did the world change? No. The ball always “wanted” to stay in motion. But science changed.
Science is not the world.
Science is our observation of the world.
And in case you haven’t figured it out yet, us humans is not very smartsy people. Not even scientists, really. Sure, they’re smarter than the average person, and sure, they’ve got a lot more figured out, but if I ever met a scientist who claimed to know everything, I’d smack him with a glove and say, “Just wait four hundred years until all your theories are show to be wrong.” (Notice I didn’t say proven wrong; more on that later.)
Let’s take another example.
Gravity is a scientific fact. A fact is higher than a theory because it has much, much more evidence supporting it. (But I won’t go into detail about the scientific method–unknown to many, unfortunately–right now.) A scientific fact is nearly indisputable. Notice I said nearly.
Now, you probably believe that gravity is true. After all, you don’t go randomly floating up to the ceiling. And if you drop something, it falls. So of course you believe in gravity!
The thing is, one day we may learn that gravity is not real.
What?! Impossible, you say?
Yes, quite, I say.
You see, nothing is science can be proven; not even gravity. It’s possible that one day we’ll learn everything we thought we knew about gravity is wrong. We might discover a planet–a whole galaxy!–that shows us we got this all wrong. Do I think that will happen? No. I’m pretty sure our ideas about gravity are sound. But I can never say that science has proven gravity. To do so would go against the very idea of science itself.
So what do we use to learn about science?
Well, scientists rely on evidence, not proof. Bits and pieces for and against a theory, not absolutes. That’s the only way to work things out. There’s evidence for gravity, not proof. That’s the way it works with any theory.
The thing about evidence is that while there’s often a lot in support of the idea, there’s usually quite a bit against it as well. Let’s take evolution! Is there evidence for it? Yes. Is there evidence against it? Yes. That’s true of pretty much any scientific principle. What happens next is figuring out which side holds the most weight; which side has more evidence and which side has more reliable evidence.
For me personally, after a lot of study, I’ve found the evidence against evolution to more reliable, but that’s another topic for a different time. Regardless of how you feel about this controversial aspect of science, we can at least all agree that you can’t prove evolution is true (or untrue).
Unfortunately, many people have tried. I have heard so many people say that evolution is “proven” to be true. Really? Because if you proved evolution, evolution is no longer science. I wouldn’t dare suggest that Newton’s Laws of Motions have been proven to be true. Why are you trying to convince me that something with substantially less evidence has been proven to be true?
The most annoying one is when people say, “Well, science proves that God is/isn’t real!”
Insert dramatic sigh here.
Assuming God is real (and I do assume), He’s entirely outside of science and our universe; therefore unable to be studied and observed; therefore, not a part of science in any way. Also, Jesus specifically was a historical figure. I can’t prove He existed with science any more than you can use science to prove George Washington existed.
And anyway, I think we’ve already established by now that science can’t prove anything, whether it be the existence of God or the fact that bananas are yellow.
Look, guys, I adore science. I really, truly do. The thoughtful study of our world is absolutely enthralling to me, and I love that (in most areas, at least) people are able to put aside a majority of their personal biases and look at our universe through new eyes. It’s amazing.
However, I would never have the gall to say that science proves anything. You see, science is always changing. Today’s theories are tomorrow’s trash. What we think is true now will be laughed at hundreds of years from now. Don’t put too much faith in science; it’s a pretty shaky foundation.
Remember one more thing too: Science can’t prove anything is real, and science can’t prove anything isn’t real. Double negatives, I know. Let me try again. Science can’t prove that something is false. For example, Aristotle’s ideas about motion weren’t proven to be false when Newton came along. They just provided evidence against them. You could make the case that Aristotle was right and Newton was wrong. It wouldn’t be smart, since Newton has more evidence on his side, but you still can’t prove that Aristotle was wrong.
Science must accept the possibility of all ideas. No scientist should tell you that anything is impossible. Very strictly speaking, anything is a possibility in science. That’s why we can’t rule out alien life . . . or even the possibility of a God-created universe.
So, yes, that means I could walk up to a scientist and say that the world will implode in fifteen minutes, and technically they can’t prove me wrong. They can provide evidence to counter my idea and escort me to a mental asylum, but they can’t tell me with absolute certainty that I am incorrect. Remember that next time you get into a creation vs. evolution debate–and I’ll remember it too.
Now, if you don’t agree with me and you think science does prove things, well, I’m sorry that your school system has failed you. When the theories you’ve placed your whole life on fall apart, maybe you’ll wish you’d believed it. Science is a great and fantastic tool, but it’s not a religion (like some people have made it). It’s an observation of the world, and sometimes–oftentimes–it’s wrong.
“You’re crazy! My teacher told me that science proves that . . .”
Nope. I’m terribly sorry to inform you, but no, no it doesn’t. Good day!