Intellectual Honesty, Openness and Confidence

John C. Rankin

(January 17, 2013)

What does it mean to be intellectually honest and open to evidence as it presents itself?

One of the positive assumptions in the biblical order of creation is that of science and the scientific method. Moses, in speaking of the sun and moon, deliberately used the terms “greater light” and “lesser light” to identify them.

Why is this? Moses was bringing the Torah to the Israelites in the wilderness, as they were escaping 400 years of slavery in Egypt. Had he used common terms for the sun and moon, the Israelites could have easily conflated them with Egyptian, Canaanite or Babylonian deities. Pagan religion viewed all the astronomical bodies through the lens of sorcery and astrology, and not in scientific terms as inanimate objects.

This is the great distinction between the Bible and pagan religions. In the Bible, we worship the Creator and distinguish him from his creation. In pagan religions, the gods and the material world are worshiped in various fashions, merge easily, and the sun and moon are seen as fatalistic deities.

“Science” (from the Latin scientia) simply means observable “knowledge.” It is a discovery process that observes what is there, and is not an all-encompassing philosophy. So Moses was being “scientific” before the term was used that way, making a simple observation of physical reality. The Bible puts no trust in mythology and unreality.

In Deuteronomy, a Hebrew prophet had to be 100 percent accurate when speaking in the name of Yahweh, or else he was deemed false. What pagan religion or secular construct requires such a threshold? Yet, this is the ethical basis for the scientific method. Here, when testing theories, if a controlled experiment does not produce the same result every time, it is “falsified,” and must be reworked until no further inconsistencies occur. The ethical basis of the Bible provides for honest science.

Now too, and radically, even “proven” theories are always open to being falsified. This is intellectual openness and confidence. And the question for macro-evolutionary advocates is this: Are you as free as are biblically rooted believers to follow the evidence wherever it leads, regardless of consequences,  and thus willing for any and all questions to always be on the table?