A true scientist tests all kinds of different hypotheses to see which works best. The trouble with the scientific world today, in particular regarding evolution, is that the consideration of hypotheses different from those that are currently believed in by most scientists is positively discouraged.
If you want to undertake scientific research to test the hypothesis that the grand theory of evolution (i.e. that all life forms descend from a common ancestor) is false, you won’t get funding. If you want to do the same for a hypothesis that climate change depends mainly on non-human actions and that current carbon emissions level have a negligible effect – no funding. The same goes for a hypothesis that doesn’t fit with the big bang theory. I have heard from friends of mine at PhD level and beyond that if you are requesting funding, you try as hard as possible to shoe-horn the words ‘climate change’ into the title, as funding is then much more likely. Even if you just want to count badgers, as long as you are considering the effects of climate change your funding should come through.
So the scientific world is currently predisposed against paradigm shifts in any of these areas. The greatest advances in scientific history have been made when someone dared to question the established views of the day. Therefore, true scientists should actually encourage attempts to disprove the established theories of today. In fact, the more times an established theory withstands such a test (i.e. a contradictory hypothesis is tested but fails), the more sensible it is for scientists and others to believe in it.
I’m not saying that every established scientific theory today is wrong, but a glance through history would suggest it is arrogant to consider that all our established theories are now correct – most scientific generations have thought this, only to be proved spectacularly wrong within a few generations’ time.
This “we’ve got everything right now so don’t need to question our basic assumptions” philosophy has also affected the way science is taught to children. You never hear phrases like “most scientists now believe” with regard to the grand theory of evolution or the big bang – these are just stated as facts. A budding young scientist will want to question everything he is taught by doing experiments, and will not accept anything as fact. However, an attempt by this young scientist to start questioning an established theory will hit a dead end very quickly. The science curriculum in many countries actually bans such questioning, and as an adult if you don’t toe the established line you lose your funding and face ridicule.
Some scientific theories are more difficult to question than others. It seems to me that some of the most difficult are the grand theory of evolution and the big bang. I think there’s a good reason for this situation – alternative theories tend to imply a God. Particularly for the grand theory of evolution, evidence against it is necessarily evidence for the divine as that’s the only other sensible option (all would agree that the animals we see today would never simply pop into existence fully formed, which leaves divine creation as pretty much the only other option).
This is where many scientists stop being true scientists and show that they are actually humans with beliefs, just like everybody else. They want to discourage belief in the divine, as it goes against one of their basic assumptions – that God does not exist. Why do they have this assumption? It’s certainly not a scientific assumption, but it’s certainly one that many scientists have.
Take, for example, the recent discoveries of soft tissue and red blood cells in dinosaur bones. These were completely unexpected by atheistic scientists, as they had measured decay rates of tissue and knew that it couldn’t last anywhere near that long. The new evidence appears and, do they question their basic assumption? No – as the only alternative is for dinosaurs living recently, which would mean the creationists were right. Instead they scratch their heads, wondering how soft tissue could last so long. If they were being truly scientific, they would consider other hypotheses and would see that the “dinosaurs lived in the last few thousand years” hypothesis fits much better, as this immediately explains the presence of soft tissue – it hasn’t had time to decay yet.
This is just one example of scientists being blinkered by their basic assumptions, which in many cases they don’t realise they have.
One often hears these atheistic scientists criticising creationists by saying “aha! You’ve just admitted that you start from the assumption that the Bible is true, therefore you’re not a scientist. Scientists look at the evidence with an open mind and come to the conclusion to which the evidence points”. However, they have failed to see their hypocrisy in saying this, as they have their own non-scientific basic assumptions, in particular that God does not exist (or at least that they should seek to explain things without a God). Perhaps deep down the eternal consequences of having to face up to God puts them off. For many, science is a way to get God out of the picture. In their hearts they say, “if I can come up with a theory that sounds plausible but doesn’t involve God, then I don’t need to worry about him and can live how I want “.
These scientists only consider hypotheses that fit with their basic assumptions, and hence the best they can come up with (the grand theory of evolution and the big bang theory) might not actually be the best explanation, if a better explanation exists that doesn’t fit with their basic assumptions. For example, explanations involving a divine creator might be better, but will be dismissed without fair trial due to the clash with the scientist’s basic assumptions.
The most “scientific” thing to do is actually to test lots of different basic assumptions with an open mind (as much as this is possible) and see what the world we see fits with best. As we’re all humans, no one remains an absolute scientist for very long (if ever) – we like to make up our minds at some point and choose a belief system. This isn’t a scientific thing to do but it is a sensible thing to do (as the Bible shows there are eternal consequences for what we decide).
The trouble with many atheistic scientists is that they have never seriously considered basic assumptions outside their own. Ask such a scientist “what would you expect the world to look like if the Bible were true” and they would probably have no idea as they haven’t thought about it before. Alternatively, ask a creationist such a question and it is more likely that they will be able to answer. This is because creationists tend to be better at trying on other people’s glasses to see the world through their basic assumptions. To do this you first have to realise that you’re wearing glasses of your own, so that you can take yours off before putting a different pair on. Atheistic scientists for the most part don’t even realise that they are wearing glasses, so there’s no hope of them taking theirs off to try another pair.
I encourage these scientists to have a go at trying on the biblical glasses and asking what they would expect to see if the Bible were true. What if there was a flood that covered the whole earth? What if God had made animals in different “kinds”? What if we are all in rebellion against God? What if Jesus did rise from the dead?