Does a scientific explanation prove that there is no God?

Science shows us how these things happen, therefore there is no God.

I can’t count how many times recently I have read or seen something on TV or the internet where a scientific explanation of a natural phenomena is claimed to prove that God or other spiritual phenomena do not exist. For example, I saw a investigative documentary show on TV a few years back on the 10 plagues of Egypt. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this account from the Biblical book of Exodus, the Israelites were enslaved by the Egyptians. When Moses, the leader of the Israelites, asks the Egyptian Pharaoh to let his people go, Pharaoh refuses. As a result of his refusal, God says to Moses and Pharaoh that He will send plagues to the land of Egypt until Pharaoh changes his mind. These plagues include darkness, locust infestation, water turning to blood, and 7 others for a total of 10 plagues.

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The premise of this history/documentary show was to bring in experts to explain scientifically how these plagues could have happened. The investigators on the program demonstrated how it is possible a plague of locusts could have led to water turning to blood, or darkness, which would lead to other plagues, etc. I found the show really interesting, but their investigative conclusions really irked me. Experts were saying things to the effect of “So yes the Israelites THOUGHT that the darkness was caused by God, but in reality it was just a result of the plague of locusts darkening the sky”.. or other similar comments.

OK, so since you can explain scientifically how one plague led to another, that means God must not have had anything to do with it? So an all-knowing, all-powerful God couldn’t have set things in motion that abide by the laws of physics and nature which He established, and create the plagues in a way that we could explain scientifically? Because we can explain HOW God did it that means He didn’t do it? I hope you see where I’m going with this, and it isn’t the only example.

A scientific explanation of how things happen does not eliminate the possibility that there is a God. I love to look at science as an opportunity to explore how God did things. How was life formed on Earth? How is this universe working that God set into motion? Many religions and belief systems look at purpose and reason behind natural phenomena. I think that explaining the processes by which things happen is very different from thinking about the reasons WHY things happen or who if anyone is behind them. Because we can explain how earthquakes or volcanoes happen, does that mean God doesn’t know they will happen or didn’t cause them?

It’s time for science to allow for religious and spiritual people the opportunity to look for and explain natural mechanisms and phenomena in a scientific manner without being threatened when we embrace a spiritual meaning behind them. Maybe a scientist has the worldview that there is no purpose to life besides the fight for survival. That is not my worldview, so don’t push yours onto me.

Science doesn’t fit your worldview better than it does mine. Science doesn’t disprove God. For me, it explains how He works.

 

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About doctorstg2020

I am both a scientist and spiritual enthusiast. These two things do not need to be contradictory. I attempt to reconcile these two trains of thought, and also present my thoughts on following God without being a self-important judgmental jerk about it.

32 responses to “Does a scientific explanation prove that there is no God?”

  1. insanitybytes22 says :

    “Science doesn’t fit your worldview better than it does mine. Science doesn’t disprove God. For me, it explains how He works.”

    Oh, amen! Great post. Science and God are not in opposition to each other. In fact, the more we study science, the closer we come to understanding God.

    • doctorstg2020 says :

      It’s time for the science community to see this too. What a spiritual battle we struggle with! Thanks for reading.

    • humptydumptymuralmagic says :

      I agree completely. I recently found a movie on netflix that was right along these lines. I am sure you have heard of it as well, but if not go check it out. The movie is “The Genesis Code”
      The premise of the movie is that Science is FINALLY catching up to an understanding of how beautifully complex God actually is.

  2. Dena says :

    I am curious as to where you put the story as far as historical context being that there isn’t any evidence for an exodus following the plagues. Do you take that into account or is it an entirely separate issue?

    • doctorstg2020 says :

      I think this is a separate issue, but would be interested in your sources on that statement. I was under the impression that an exodus following the plagues was not really disputed historically or archeologically. It is a different topic from discussing the science behind the plagues, however.

      • stace8383 says :

        The Egyptians did expel a group of people into Canaan around 1570 BCE, these people were called the Hyskos. However there are some problems with dates that make it unclear if the Hyskos were the Israelites. Studies of regnal dates, comparing Biblical kings and reigns with extra-Biblical sources, puts the “Exodus” at around 1440 BCE. But the Bible mentions the construction of Raamses as a forced labour project, whilst the first pharaoh called Raamses didn’t come to the throne until 1320 BCE. The general consensus among biblical scholars is that the Hyskos were not Israelites, and that the Israelite identity grew gradually in Canaan towards the end of the 13th century BCE. There is no recognisable archaeological evidence of Israelites in Egypt before that time. I hope that helps. 🙂

      • doctorstg2020 says :

        Interesting. I think I’ll read into this topic a little more. Thank you. Is there an online source I could go to?

      • stace8383 says :

        I’m not sure, sorry, my information comes from a couple of books on Ancient Israel, the Bible, and some lecture notes from when I was studying it.

      • stace8383 says :

        Probably the best thing, if you’re interested, is to get a copy of “The Bible Unearthed”, a book by Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman.

      • fairlycirrus says :

        I usually prefer not to give references to wiki sites but I’m busy this morning … no time for further research. So here’s a start on the ‘Exodus never actually happened’ thing with links to historians working in this field of expertise:
        http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Evidence_for_the_Exodus#Mainstream_historical_consensus

      • doctorstg2020 says :

        Thank you, although I would be wary of quoting an opinionated wiki site as a source. I could send you just as many sources on the other side of your argument. I think the general consensus on this topic remains open, and no credible scientific reference would make claims on either side of the Exodus existence argument. It seems there is not much evidence either way, and lack of evidence is not evidence against an event happening.

  3. realsimplefaith says :

    I saw a documentary like that years ago called ‘Exodus Decoded’ and I had the same conclusions you did. It’s too easy to make everything God versus Science, But they are best understood together.
    thanks for writing this.

  4. stace8383 says :

    I simply presume the plague stories are entirely fabricated, negating the need to explain them. 🙂

  5. Louise says :

    Love it! I think somewhere along these lines too, but never wrote a post about it. Thanks for following!

  6. Tom Schultz says :

    I don’t see any reason that science has to be incompatible with religion. However, I do think in today’s generally angry public conversation, many people see science as another weapon they can wield against people they disagree with. My admittedly modest understanding of science allows me to enjoy a greater appreciation of His Creation.

    • doctorstg2020 says :

      Thanks for reading. I think many people are unfortunately afraid to read up on science topics for fear of judgement or attack. We CAN research these topics without the fear that what we find will threaten our worldview or understanding of God.

  7. Allallt says :

    There is a big difference between probability and possibility. When the question is laid out plainly, it becomes more apparent: is it more likely that completely natural phenomena occurred, or that naturally explicable phenomena were actually set in motion by an undetectable being who “exists” is a manner completely different from anything anyone has ever confirmed.
    (Also, thanks for the follow.)

    • doctorstg2020 says :

      I think “undetectable” is a matter of opinion, and in my mind the existence of God has definitely been observed and confirmed through my scientific studies. However, I understand that this is not the typical view from a scientist, and we are taught NOT to think this way or to allow for the possibility for another worldview when looking at science. I may see purpose and reason behind nature that tells me there is a God, but I don’t push this view, for example, on students. I think the science classroom has become a place where a worldview is being push rather than simply the science. That is my reasoning, thanks for reading!

      • jamesbath says :

        Two quotes from one of the most respected members of the human race supports your (and my) view. Mr Albert Einstein:

        “My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.” – Albert Einstein

        “Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.”
        – Albert Einstein

        (BTW, thanks for the follow. I returned the honor).

      • doctorstg2020 says :

        Thank you, and thanks to Mr Einstein! God bless.

  8. philipcoulter says :

    I’m not a religious person, but I agree with your post. It is quite frustrating to see people conjure up needless clashes between religion and science. Religion may not be needed for the simplest explanation but it’s not really testable, and that strikes me as quite different from God being disproved.

  9. fairlycirrus says :

    “Science shows us how these things happen, therefore there is no God.”

    Sorry Doc but you can’t put words in others’ mouths. I know of no scientist nor any atheist who claims that because science explains many phenomena there is no god.

    Science, as you ought to be aware, doesn’t attempt to prove or disprove the existence of god.

    And atheists – unless they’re gnostic atheists – don’t say “There is no god” but rather, “I’ve seen no evidence for the existence of any gods”.

    Given the content of your post I’m not sure you understand either of these notions.

    When there is an unusual phenomenon which we seek to understand Occam’s razor suggests that the least complicated ‘solution’ tends to be the correct one.

    That’s not a difficult concept to understand; the more variables there are in an ‘explanation’, the more complexity is introduced and the more ways there are for the explanation to fail.

    The problem with biblical accounts of events is that they were written well after the event and by people who weren’t present at the time. Haven’t you heard accounts of events that, having been retold a number of times, have acquired details that were added to the story to make it more impressive to the listener? Someone goes to a street march and wants to impress their friend with the number of people present. They claim there were 2,000 people there when perhaps there were really only 1500. Your friend exaggerates a little too. And so does the next person who hears the story. By the time the account of the rally has done the rounds there were at least 5,000 people on the streets!

    So, first, I see no reason to give biblical stories any credence.

    Genesis gives an account of ‘creation’ that, even if it bore any resemblance to reality, demonstrably gets the order of events wrong within itself.

    Secondly, how is saying “therefore god did it” a rational explanation for anything? Not knowing how an event occurred is one thing but filling the gaps in knowledge with the notion of an omnipotent, omniscient, eternal being solves nothing. It opens a huge can of worms because it raises more questions rather that giving a rational answer.

    Your blogpost errs in not knowing where the starting point of the discussion really lies.

    Contrary to what many people think – and going back to my first statement – it is not the job of scientists or non-believers to prove that your supernatural being does not exist.

    First, non-existence cannot be proven.

    Second, the burden of proof lies with those who claim the being DOES exist.

    If I write to you to tell you that I own an unusual pet that has the head and wings of a parrot and the hindquarters of a kangaroo, I imagine you would say you didn’t believe me. You could be reasonably expected to tell me that my letter proves nothing (except, maybe, that I have an over-active imagination). It would also be reasonable for you to say that, since photos are so easily ‘shopped these days, that photographic evidence would not be enough proof for you. Since the existence of my parrot-roo is such an extraordinary claim I would expect you to request that I visit you, bringing my pet with me for you to examine for yourself.

    The existence of a supernatural being capable of creating a universe is, I would suggest, orders of magnitude more unlikely than my parrot-roo.

    You have all your work ahead of you.

    Before you get narky with scientists and doubters I suggest you need to provide solid evidence for the existence of your deity. [And no, the bible is no more acceptable evidence of your supernatural being than my letter would be ‘proof’ of my parrot-roo, or the Harry Potter books proof that Dumbledore really exists.]

    Only when you’ve done that can we begin to examine whether the phenomena you describe are the work of this being.

    • doctorstg2020 says :

      I am not putting words in others mouths, because being in the scientific community I have heard those exact words. Maybe you do not know a scientist or atheist who would say that, but I know many and work with those who have said things exactly like this (or very similar) to me every day.
      I am not asking you to believe the Bible, but from a scientific standpoint there is nothing in observed science that would disprove God’s existence. In my own life, there have been many experiences that have proved His existence to me. I don’t expect others to agree with me, and I am sure many people see God as a “parrot-roo” as you have suggested. Having never seen it yourself, you would not likely believe it. However, even in science many things used to be considered impossible, improbable, or ridiculous and were later shown to be true. The giant squid for example used to be a creature of legend, and now we have seen it and many scientists are studying it.
      Thank you so much for reading and for expressing your thoughts and opinions! I like to hear everyone’s thoughts whether you agree with me or not.

      • fairlycirrus says :

        How can you so clearly have missed the point I was making. Science is NOT interested in showing or proving god does not exist; it has far more interesting and productive things to research. However if you can provide links to scientific papers published in reputable journals that set out to ‘disprove’ god I’d be interested to read them.
        As for ‘experiences’ that support your understanding of a divine being, I’m sure you accept them as real and true but they mean nothing to a non-believer and without evidence they are … well … not evidence at all.
        I don’t seek to destroy other people’s faith once they already have it – although I do find belief in an unproven being an odd thing. Especially odd in a person trained in science who is – or ought to have been – trained to doubt and be skeptical until repeatable, testable, verifiable and falsifiable research/experimentation/data is available.
        What I suspect you are experiencing (in common with most religious people) is confirmation bias, taking on board only those things that appear to support what you’ve chosen to believe. I’m quite certain you’ll deny that but the conversation I’m having on my blog with a young earth creationist proves this bias over and over again.
        For the believer faith comes before the earnest search for truth. Science works – MUST work – completely the opposite way. You ought to know that. Truth above all is what matters in science, not looking for that which will support a cemented-in-place belief system.
        Yours is a ‘god of the gaps’ rapidly being chipped away at by science. I am amused by anyone who takes the bountiful knowledge science has given us and massages it to be evidence of their supernatural being. And of course each faith claims the same evidence for their own god. You can’t all be right, so what’s the evidence that the god you’ve chosen is the right one. That’s the basic problem with Pascal’s Wager; Pascal assumed he was referring to the ‘obviously right’ god but since humankind has invented more than 3000 divine beings the odds of getting the right one is fairly slim.
        If you’re born in a muslim country, there’s a darned good chance you’d be saying your god was the one true god. If you were born a Hindu, a Jain, a Mormon, a Catholica Jew or any of the myriad of other religions you’d be claiming yours was the one true god.
        And, of course, we now have the Pastafarians. Could you use your scienfitic knowledge to prove the Flying Spaghetti Monster isn’t real? I have a copy of His Gospel …. looks fairly kosher to me 😀

        The reason I speak out against religion is that it puts blinkers on young, malleable minds who are then hamstrung for life by false ideas unless someone comes along to help them free themselves.
        I’ve heard so many people say that they experience a profound sense of liberation when they finally realise there is no omnipotent being watching and judging everything they do … that there is no heaven or hell, no judgement to come but just a life of extraordinary wonder and joy. I experience that myself, every single day.
        We live in a vast universe almost all of which is hostile to human existence and on a tiny planet, much of which is also inhospitable to human life. To claim that the whole darned thing was created with US in mind is clearly to misunderstand the nature of the universe and planet earth. To see it as having been created an omniscient being just for us would mean we’d have to acknowledge that this putative creator had a very warped sense of humour 😀

      • doctorstg2020 says :

        You seem pretty opinionated about what science has proven or disproven, but anyone who is very involved in science knows that our ideas about the way nature works or has come to be continually changes based on gaining knowledge. No scientist can disprove God’s existence. Even if you point to the Big Bang, Evolution, Plate Tectonics as theories that support HOW nature has worked, it doesn’t mean a supreme being didn’t set them in motion. That was my point. Not that all scientists are out to disprove God, but it seems there is a general mentality that scientists are out to find a way to say that nature doesn’t need God to exist.

        Saying that religion is a dangerous ground on which “young,malleable minds” are given false ideas seems like a dangerous road to me. Why can’t we all look at the evidence that science and life experiences have given us and let each person come to their own conclusion about things like the meaning of life. I think it’s better to be given knowledge of everything than to try and hide facts, stories, or the beliefs of others from young minds.

        Also, to present a counter-argument to your statements about the universe being mostly inhospitable to life, to those of us who believe the Earth has been created or has some purpose would find this to be the most incredible selection of all. Here we are in the only place in the universe we know about that can sustain life. That makes me feel pretty significant… as if it were planned and purposeful. So many things hang in a delicate balance balance from a biological, chemical, geological, and astronomical point of view. The odds that all of these things would come together is pretty amazing… and from a statistical standpoint, it ventures into the realm of impossible. Wait.. with God all things are possible.

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