by Albert Mohler
it is important to recognize that many people around us are confused between science and scientism. Let's think about those for just a moment. Science is a way of knowing. It's a way of knowing certain things. The scientific method as it developed in the modern age, modern empirical reason and the very power of observation, the scientific method. All of these came together such that modern science grew out of a Christian worldview and the affirmation of a biblical worldview of a real world that the Creator intended to be known, an orderly world that operated by principles we can discover. Modern science did emerge and with it came enormous benefits.
Science has proved itself to be an extremely effective way of learning certain truths, of detecting certain patterns, of developing certain technologies, of treating certain diseases. There are questions that modern science and the scientific method are uniquely competent to answer, and modern society depends upon scientists doing science, as they say, and learning by means of the scientific method, what becomes necessary for our technologies and for many dimensions of our lives. But not for all dimensions.
The difference between science and scientism is that science is a legitimate way of knowing. Scientism is the claim that science is the only legitimate means of knowing, the only legitimate epistemology, as we say, the only way of knowing anything. If it cannot be observed by, proved by, demonstrated by science, then it's not important. But of course that's actually now antithetical to the biblical worldview. The biblical worldview was necessary for the rise of science, but science has now been transformed in many minds into scientism. And you hear this now over and over again.
Now, one of the things you hear is that there is far too much hope that is invested in science alone. Let's just consider this about what we know concerning human beings. Human beings are frail and fallible creatures. The scientific method by the way, with its testing and experimentation, its peer review and scientific consensus, it offers many protections against wrong ideas that can be demonstrated by science, either demonstrated to be true or false or at least plausible until there is more scientific data. But again, the problem with scientism is that the adherence of that worldview argue that science is the only way of knowing. Or another form of scientism is the claim that science trumps everything else. That when it comes down to any important question, the scientists have the final say.
Now, if it comes down to the specific atomic weight of an element, well, clearly scientists should have the last word, but if it comes down to the meaning of life or for that matter, the meaning of death, scientists do have something to say. Medical scientists in particular have something to say, but they do not have the last word.