My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue: "O Lord, make me know my end and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting I am!"

02 September 2008

Science, Scripture, and the people stuck in the middle

Recently, I had a conversation with a fellow believer, who's also a scientist, about creation, evolution and the many gray areas in between. One thing he said stuck out to me, so I thought I'd toss it out for discussion:
When the Bible and science disagree, the Bible is always right. When Christians and scientists disagree, scientists are usually right.
Do you agree? Why or why not? What the implications?

27 comments:

Brad said...

Oh my. You really opened up a can of worms here.

BamFam said...

I tend to agree with that statement. There are too many Christians arguing for creationism using anecdotal evidence. Things like "evolution could never have produced the bombardier beetle or the thyroid gland." Well, maybe evolution couldn't have, but experts in the field have scientific explanations as to how such things came into existence. We need to be careful regurgitating some of this stuff because we come off as ignorant and reflect poorly on Christ.

An aside: I noticed your Bon Iver link, Jared. Good stuff, that. Shutting oneself up in a cabin in Wisconsin for the winter makes for some good music, eh? Might I also suggest the Fleet Foxes if you haven't already got on to them? More woodsy-good tunes.

Brad said...

I agree with Brandon, at least the part about when Christians and scientists disagree that scientists are usually right.

I have been back and forth on this issue, and right now I don't come down on the biblical creation side and I don't see ever being convinced of it given the current evidence. To put it bluntly, what I have experienced is that people who argue for biblical creation generally don't know what they're talking about. It requires at least a general understanding of all the sciences to be able to take part in debate over these things. In many of my debates over this it's all to easy to refute many of the points creationists make. That doesn't mean there aren't any good ones to make. It's just that all the ones that I seem to come across are either totally wrong, or just gross generalizations that you can't analyze.

Also, you need to have a decent background in a field in order to be able to be critical of the ideas often promoted in it. It's also just as important to have that background in order to be critical of your own ideas in that field.

And on another note, it is quite possible that the general scientific field has blinders on with respect to ideas that contradict evolution and the big bang. It seems unlikely that it could be so pervasive, but it's technically possible.

I'll have more say later on the first part of the statement of the scientist that Jared quotes.

Jared said...

Part of the reason this has been on my mind is due to a book I read-The Language of God by Frances Collins-which outlines an updated version of theistic evolution. Collins is an evangelical believer and also a scientist committed to Darwinian evolution. He makes the point Brandon made: for most scientists, even Bible-believing Christians, it is next to impossible to not buy into some idea of evolution.

My problem with Collins' book is that I don't trust his reading of God's Word (which allows him to allegorize the first two chapters of Genesis) and I don't think he wrestles long or hard enough with the theological implications of an evolutionary development of humanity.

Because of exegesis and theology, I still understand Scripture to teach a literal, six-day creation... but I am coming to realize the difficulties many Christians have who are interacting in the scientific world on a regular basis. I want to be a good pastor to them! So I continue to wrestle along with them.

andyfest said...

Finding Darwin's God (Kennith Miller) is another interesting book on the subject but the author's arguments for evolution are much stronger than his arguments for creation. Still, he tries to reconcile the two and has some interesting things to say.

I'm with Brad on this one, I tend to want to leave the debate to people who know more about science than I do. I certainly believe God created everything but think He probably used evolution as part of that creation, at least in some form.

I might have to pick up that book you're reading, Jared... Sounds intriguing if nothing else.

Anonymous said...

If one further clarifies evolution as macro or micro, it's not as hard for a Christian to "not buy into" the real it: macro-evolution

Kurt

Anonymous said...

“Consolidation Is Not The Answer To More Efficient School Spending”

Brad said...

To address the first point of the "scientist," here it goes. You cannot let belief dictate the conclusions you make in science. If a scientist says that they will not accept something no matter how strongly the evidence points in that direction because it conflicts with their beliefs, then that person is not a very good scientist.

Brad said...

Jared, you said the following:

"My problem with Collins' book is that I don't trust his reading of God's Word (which allows him to allegorize the first two chapters of Genesis) and I don't think he wrestles long or hard enough with the theological implications of an evolutionary development of humanity."

That is a perfect example of where one can go astray scientifically. What you wrote above, I know must be a common apprehension among Christians with regards to evolution. But that consideration does not belong in hard science. One must not let the philosophical implications of a conclusion sway one from making that conclusion. We would still be living under the delusion of geocentric model of the universe if everyone did that. In science one should set out to establish what we can best determine the facts to be based on observable evidence alone, literally ignoring those things you believe that are not based on actual physical observation. Physical implications may be considered before hand, because these often provide a means of testing a conclusion, but philosophical implications do not provide any such means. One can ponder the philosophical implications before a conclusion is drawn, but they should not affect the conclusion itself. Good science is cold and calculating.

jmark said...

Brad said, "Good science is cold and calculating."

Is that statement observable or philosophical?

Brad said...
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Jared said...

Brad,

I should have made clear that my problems with Collins' book were not in the scientific realm. With Andy, I acknowledge my very limited knowledge and expertise in that area. My problem is because his book isn't merely scientific, but also theological and Biblical. I don't know much about science, but I do have something to say about theology and Scripture :)

It's when Collins digs into Scripture and theology that he comes up short. For example, to accept some form of theistic evolution, one has to read Genesis 1-2 as a metaphor/analogy or something other literary device other than history. But...there's no literary break between the accounts of creation and the account of the fall and the account of Caan & Abel. That is, the text of Scripture doesn't show us when to start taking Genesis "literally" and not analogically. Collins doesn't address this problem, though he feels free to consider other parts of Genesis as literal history.

By the way, Collins does a good job reminding scientists that science has absolutely nothing it can say about the foundational origin of creation. The beginning, whatever and whenever it was, it outside the realm of cold, hard science.

On to another point made: science as cold, hard pursuit. Are scientists really able to do this? I would argue that scientists themselves (as well as religious nuts who believe the world is flat) have presuppositions so deeply ingrained they cannot see them.

Also, your argument, Brad, reflects something I heard from another friend: that, given enough time, the scientific process will always arrive at the truth of the matter it is seeking. I have a problem with such trust in the scientific process--though it serves us well, there's no way to know the foundations of science won't be shaken by uncovering some presupposition or another rule-changing law.

-----
I really do appreciate this discussion. I think for the sake of scientists under the church's care, we need to openly discuss these things.

BamFam said...

I think Jared said most of what I have been thinking.

Some additional thoughts: Science seeks to find a repeatable, rational and natural explanation for everything. At some stage this is going to conflict with the idea of a super-natural God who performs miracles. Naturalism scoffs at the idea of a being who has always existed and who created all that we see in six days. It just does not compute. I don't think Christians should go on about how there's some "conspiracy" within the ranks of secular science to do away with God. God simply does not fit the equation in a naturalist view. And so we get a theory like evolution over millions of years because thats the best natural explanation of how things got to be the way they are.

I personally see a literal six-day creation as the Biblical view. Even if one were to take the first two chapters of Genesis allegorically, its difficult to get around the explanation of the 4th Commandment (Exodus 20:8-11). I think it is clear that God is claiming to have made the world in a working week.

Jared said...

To go along with what Brandon said: even if some Christians in science need to accept Darwinian evolution, all Christians must reject naturalism.

Naturalism is one of the highlights of the new atheism and, if I remember correctly, Tim Keller does a good job dealing with it in his book Reason for God. I think Frances Collins would reject naturalism (he accepts the validity of miracles) while still holding to macro-evolution as the best explanation of the current state of life.

...this, too, is helpful. The church ought to be strident in her condemnation of naturalism as a worldview (which is what it really is), while perhaps taking a more nuanced, or at least more informed, position regarding science and creation.

Brad said...

We need a better forum for discussing this. Blog comments just don't flow very well, and this page will become a mile long. But I'll keep it up anyway.

Brad said...

Also, I take a different philosophical view, and it is that all ideas and beliefs are fair game - that nothing I believe should be prohibited from challenge.

Brad said...

Jared said:
“By the way, Collins does a good job reminding scientists that science has absolutely nothing it can say about the foundational origin of creation. The beginning, whatever and whenever it was, it outside the realm of cold, hard science.”

I don’t dispute that in the least. But an identical problem faces religion. What is the foundational origin of God? That may seem like a different problem, but from a logical perspective, it is identical. It’s a problem of first cause. Neither religion nor science can ever tell us why there is something rather than nothing. Saying that God is without cause, that God exists apart from time, and that He requires no creator is no less outrageous than making the same claim of the universe. Neither claim makes sense to us, nor do I think anyone will ever find an explanation for this that “clicks,” so that they can have that epiphany and say, “Ah, now I see.” This is not a flaw of science any more than it is of religion.

Jared said:
“On to another point made: science as cold, hard pursuit. Are scientists really able to do this? I would argue that scientists themselves (as well as religious nuts who believe the world is flat) have presuppositions so deeply ingrained they cannot see them.”

No one can ever completely get rid of all biases or presuppositions. At least I don’t think it is possible. But, it would appear that scientists are generally better at this than non-scientists. Scientists, upon revelation of new evidence will give up an old claim in favor of what is supported by the evidence. It might take a very long time and a lot of infighting, but it is essentially inevitable. History basically proves this to be true. Anyway, I could reverse your statement. What if I were to say that you have presuppositions to deeply ingrained that you cannot see them? Do I have any less of a basis to make that claim of you than you do of scientists?

How do we know that those religious nuts are not correct? We follow the evidence. This claim that the earth is flat is no different in principle than the claim that the earth is 6000 years old. It bears scrutiny. If it does not stand up the scrutiny it should be discarded, or at least put on the back burner. If you are willing to consider the evidence that the earth is a sphere why not consider evidence that the universe is billions of years old? To put it another way: What exactly makes those nuts, well, nuts?

What you guys seem to be saying, is that short of having a time machine and watching creation take place with our own eyes, no evidence can be convincing enough to prove to you that the world is billions of years old. If we are that skeptical of evidence, how can we ever claim anything whatsoever? Why would I not require the same level of proof for all other claims on absolutely every subject matter?

Though, for the record we do have something like a time machine. Telescopes peer into the past. Heck, you can see a galaxy that is 2.5 million light-years away(hence 2.5 million years old) with your naked eye if you know where to look.

Jared said:
“Also, your argument, Brad, reflects something I heard from another friend: that, given enough time, the scientific process will always arrive at the truth of the matter it is seeking. I have a problem with such trust in the scientific process--though it serves us well, there's no way to know the foundations of science won't be shaken by uncovering some presupposition or another rule-changing law.”

Science is subject to change. Few will dispute that. But that is why science works, and as you say, serves us well. Science functions on the basis of asking questions relentlessly, sometimes even questions that we do not like. I think the statement you reference is mostly true. The use of the word “always” does neglect the fact that there might be questions that we cannot answer. My personal opinion is that it is likely that there are things in the universe that observation and calculation can never reveal. In that case science will not arrive at the truth of those matters no matter how long it seeks. But generally the above statement is true, and history very, very heavily favors that view.

jmark said...
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jmark said...

Brad said: "Saying that God is without cause, that God exists apart from time, and that He requires no creator is no less outrageous than making the same claim of the universe."

But scientists aren't making that claim, they claim the universe has an origin. If they claimed the universe was eternal and unchanging that would be different.

Brad said: "Scientists, upon revelation of new evidence will give up an old claim in favor of what is supported by the evidence. It might take a very long time and a lot of infighting, but it is essentially inevitable. History basically proves this to be true."

That's often true - but my question would be - how do we know that we arent at the start period when the infighting should begin and we have to wait for scientists to accept a different position? Even Dawkins says that the abandonment of evolution is a possibility.

Brad said: "you can see a galaxy that is 2.5 million light-years away"

Assuming that it has always been 2.5 million away, assuming speed of light constant, assuming constant expansion of universe, assuming they weren't created there with light in transit by God who created light before the sun - if you take a literal reading of Gen 1. Thats a lot of assumptions for one example.

I think Jared's opening statement is true - Christians need to know their science a lot better. But scientists need to know their presuppositions a lot better.

Unfortunately Christians are often loudly wrong on an issue, and scientists are right about the issue in question. And because of that they think they are right across the board, when they have unfounded presuppositions that really need to be looked at.

Brad said...

BamFam said...
”Some additional thoughts: Science seeks to find a repeatable, rational and natural explanation for everything. At some stage this is going to conflict with the idea of a super-natural God who performs miracles. Naturalism scoffs at the idea of a being who has always existed and who created all that we see in six days. It just does not compute. I don't think Christians should go on about how there's some "conspiracy" within the ranks of secular science to do away with God. God simply does not fit the equation in a naturalist view. And so we get a theory like evolution over millions of years because thats the best natural explanation of how things got to be the way they are.”

I do not think scientists scoff at the idea of a god. Scoffing is essentially mocking. I think most scientists who do not believe in a god, as there are certainly many who do believe in a god, would not mock the idea of a god. I think they would take the following view: It as a possibility, though one for which there is as of yet, no real evidence. Until and unless that evidence presents itself, we can go on studying the universe on the presumption that things can be explained through natural processes. After all, this has been very successful in the past, and many things we now understand were once attributed to the divine, so it is reasonable to assume that things we might still attribute to the divine likewise have some natural explanation that we simply have not yet found.

jmark said...
”But scientists aren't making that claim, they claim the universe has an origin. If they claimed the universe was eternal and unchanging that would be different.”

That is an incorrect statement. Yes, people claim that the big bang was the start of our universe. But I highly doubt there are many scientists our there who take the view that our universe is all that ever was or will be. Most would take the view that there could be other universes. The medium out of which universes form would then be the eternal and relatively unchanging entity, not the universe in which we find ourselves. Yes, this would be hard to prove, if it is even possible.

jmark said...
”That's often true - but my question would be - how do we know that we arent at the start period when the infighting should begin and we have to wait for scientists to accept a different position? Even Dawkins says that the abandonment of evolution is a possibility.”

We do not. But the ability we have to manipulate the world is evidence of our relatively accurate understanding. Yes there are things we still have to learn, and yes there are things we will find we were wrong about. But saying we could be wrong is not evidence that we are. You could be wrong about everything you have said so far, but that is not evidence that you are wrong.

jmark said...
”Assuming that it has always been 2.5 million away, assuming speed of light constant, assuming constant expansion of universe, assuming they weren't created there with light in transit by God who created light before the sun - if you take a literal reading of Gen 1. Thats a lot of assumptions for one example.”

I am not sure I am the one making the assumptions here. To put it another way, here are your assumptions:

The speed of light is not constant.
Light was created in transit.

The first and third assumptions you list do not really matter. That galaxy is moving towards us, and I do not think whether or not it is moving has any bearing on our discussion. If it were not moving when the universe was created then it would slowly (very slowly) start moving as gravity acted upon it. In regards to the third assumption, a constant expansion of the universe, no one claims a constant expansion. Expansion yes, just not constant. And expansion itself is not an assumption. It is what appears to be a likely conclusion given our observations of the universe. If you really want to dispute the expansion of the universe first investigate the idea of red shift. Red shift essentially proves expansion.

So really there are only two assumptions. And there is no more reason to say that I am making the assumptions you listed as there is to say that you are making the assumptions I listed. In fact the assumptions that you have made seem strange. They technically could be true, but it seems a bit more of a stretch to make the assumptions you have, especially in regards to the last one, as that would involve a deliberate attempt to fool us on the part of God.

jmark said...
”I think Jared's opening statement is true - Christians need to know their science a lot better. But scientists need to know their presuppositions a lot better.”

Also, I think Christians also need to know their presuppositions. You cannot say that it is any less valid for scientists to have presuppositions than for Christians. And if you do examine the presuppositions of each, upon what basis do you objectively compare their merits?

jmark said...
”Unfortunately Christians are often loudly wrong on an issue, and scientists are right about the issue in question. And because of that they think they are right across the board, when they have unfounded presuppositions that really need to be looked at.”

What makes a presupposition unfounded? What are your presuppositions? Are they founded?

BamFam said...

I do think many scientists scoff at the idea of God. Dawkins would be one example. Maybe we only see the emotional reactions of those naturalists who become frustrated with the foothold religion has on the masses, but scientists are not all even-keeled gracious human beings that you seem to give them credit as being.

“When the Bible and science disagree, the Bible is always right. When Christians and scientists disagree, scientists are usually right.” When I say I agree with this statement, especially the first part about the Bible always being right, I realise I'm coming with quite a few presuppositions. Recently I've started to read through the Westminster Confession of Faith for the first time. I came across Chapter 1 article V:

“We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the Church to an high and reverent esteem of the holy Scripture; and the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God; yet, notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.”

This sums up very well what I had been thinking in regards to this discussion. The Holy Spirit bears witness to me personally (and not only me but to all Christians) that the Bible is the Word of God. If that is a true assumption then you could see why anything science comes up with as a strictly natural explanation of our origin is trumped in my mind by the Bible. That being said, should I expect a naturalist to buy into my presupposition? How then do I interpret current observations made by scientists? These are difficult questions I'm still wrestling with.

Pastor Brad Johnston said...

Hey Jared:

Great statement to get this discussion started! One book I've found extremely helpful in bridging the theological and scientific disciplines is "The Age of the Universe:What Are The Biblical Limits" by Gorman Gray.

The guy is a retired tooling engineer, but he's said the most sensible stuff I've heard so far. He argues for the distinction between the matter of the universe and the biosphere. He stakes out a "literal" reading of Genesis (and Job, interestingly)that is basically what I would call a modified "gap position".

He treats the Scriptural exegesis with great care (although I'm not sure I agree with it all), but also does good work in articulating the scientific issues.

Good stuff to throw into the pot.

Brad said...

Brandon said:
“I do think many scientists scoff at the idea of God. Dawkins would be one example. Maybe we only see the emotional reactions of those naturalists who become frustrated with the foothold religion has on the masses, but scientists are not all even-keeled gracious human beings that you seem to give them credit as being.“

I would like to see examples of scoffing before I concede that point. From what I have seen of Dawkins, which is very, very little, he is more taken aback by the arguments people make, not so much scoffing idea itself of a god. But I do not think this is a critical part of the discussion, so if scientists in general do scoff at the idea itself of a god, then so be it.

Brandon said:

This sums up very well what I had been thinking in regards to this discussion. The Holy Spirit bears witness to me personally (and not only me but to all Christians) that the Bible is the Word of God. If that is a true assumption then you could see why anything science comes up with as a strictly natural explanation of our origin is trumped in my mind by the Bible. That being said, should I expect a naturalist to buy into my presupposition? How then do I interpret current observations made by scientists? These are difficult questions I'm still wrestling with.

This last paragraph is what gets me. What you are saying is that evidence does not matter. No matter how strongly the evidence points in one direction you will draw the conclusion of your own choosing. This vexes me. I am greatly vexed.

Here is how I approach this problem. Imagine yourself as a person who never had contact with civilization. Somehow you grew up apart from it. Maybe you were a nomad – perhaps what once would have been called a savage. Also consider the possibility that your tribe had no mythology. Your tribe was just concerned with survival and did not dabble in mythology as your tribe did not see it as beneficial to survival. Basically, apart from how to survive, you know nothing. Then you encounter civilization and discover mathematics, biology, chemistry, astronomy. You also learn of the religions and religious books of the world. From there you try to figure out what is going on in the world. This is how I try to approach this. In theory – a clean slate. I do not go through the whole nomad/tribal thing, because I know what I am thinking. It is just an example, and it might not be an excellent illustration. Of course once someone is conscious enough to start trying to figure out what is really going on in the world they will have beliefs of some sort. You cannot really go back to knowing nothing. Instead of starting from scratch, you just consider all possibilities – even those possibilities that conflict with your beliefs. Consider the possibility that everything you ever thought you knew/believed was wrong. I can kind of understand not wanting to do this, or not considering it an option. And maybe it is not a good thing to do to challenge people to do this, but personally, anything else does not seem like a reasonable option.

Jared said...

Wow, this is a great conversation.

I'd like to pick up on something Brad just wrote. If I understand you correctly, you're advocating a starting-from-scratch, evaluate-all-evidence-and-options approach to the question(s) at hand.

In response, I would say that though this sounds entirely reasonable at first, it contradicts what Scripture tells us about ourselves. Specifically, this approach is built upon the idea that we ourselves are neutral in our thinking and have every ability to evaluate evidence and engage our reason without anything getting in the way. The problem with this, says Scripture, is sin. Specifically, the noetic (mind) effects of sin.

According to God, we are not neutral, we do not have the ability to look at the world rationally, dispassionately and with accuracy to evaluate every option.

This brings us back to what may be the heart of this discussion: presuppositions. My presupposition is the same as Brandon's: the inspiration and absolute inerrancy of God's Word. The presupposition behind Brad's approach could simply be naturalism.

Having said this, let me say again that being presuppositionally committed to the truth of God's Word does not relieve us from the duty of dealing well with science. This is where the whole discussion started and where I think the Christian church has room to grow. Personally, I would like to see more Christians *really* wrestling with the apparent (current) contradiction between science and Genesis. That doesn't mean I want to see us become Darwin's disciples, but to grow in our honesty about all sides of the debate.

If there is a real difference between my understanding of Genesis 1-2 and the best current science can offer, there are only a few options to pursue: Either my understanding of Genesis 1-2 is wrong or some part of Darwin's theory is wacky. And so back to the original quote: when science and the Bible disagree, the Bible wins. Period. But when Christians are at odds with scientists, we need to be more circumspect, more willing to examine our motives and methods than perhaps we have been in the past.

Jared said...

Just got off the phone with a friend who might write some more in these comments, but here are some other things I'm thinking about now (hopefully I'm not stealing his thunder):

First, Science (capital S) is truly an idol of our society and it is the church's job to call everyone, everywhere to turn from the worship of idols to the worship of God. When Science (capital S) is looked to as the infallible determiner of truth, over and against God's Word, we cannot help but worship it. So discernment is called for--we don't want to get rid of science (a mistake the church has made already). But the church should fulfill her prophetic function of exposing the idolatry.

Secondly (and this is simply trying to be more clear)-- a person has to has an ultimate allegiance to a source of truth. Either God's Word or science (or something else) will take that throne. But we cannot pretend to live with two highest sources of truth. Yes, the work of scientists serves great purpose and can often prod the church to reevaluate her interpretation of Scripture, if only to be more clear. But when science and Scripture disagree, the Bible wins--this must be the fundamental truth-commitment of every believer.

Maybe more later...

Brad said...

Jared wrote:
”I'd like to pick up on something Brad just wrote. If I understand you correctly, you're advocating a starting-from-scratch, evaluate-all-evidence-and-options approach to the question(s) at hand.”

You understand me correctly.

I am not sure there is any good reason to go any further in advocating my point of view, at least, not out in this public forum. Discussions like these go over much better face to face, and/or one on one.

MarkPele said...

Sorry to join the discussion late... I think a lot of imprecise things have been said, so I would like to clear them up:

1) Science has chosen to adopt a philosophy of "scientific naturalism". Whether it is a good philosophy can be debated, but it is a reasonable choice to make as long as the bounds are understood. As was stated before, a scientist should draw the line at the best natural explanation and say, "this is the best explanation that science can give." However, what scientists often do, in arrogance, is say "this is what happened" (i.e. this is the truth).

2) There are two arbitrary divisions I would like to make now in the scientific community. The one branch deals with phenomena that can be isolated and reproduced, while the other deals with gathering evidence to determine what happened in the past. Both are inordinately valuable, yet studying the past will always have the problem that we weren't there. This would be akin to a forensic scientist saying, "It is the truth that Mr. Jones murdered Mrs. Jones because of the following evidence." My understanding is that forensics puts forth circumstantial evidence - powder burns, estimates of time of death, cause of death, tissue samples, etc., but only an eyewitness to a murder can claim absolute certainty.

3) That said, there are often conflicts between historical accounts (like the Bible) and prevailing scientific opinion (the opinions of the scientists). An honest scientist would say that science cannot answer with certainty whether Jesus rose from the dead or not, or whether we were created or evolved or even evolved through some sort of supernatural selection.

4) My experience with Atheistic scientists is that they tend to equate all religions. So, belief in Christ or Allah or Jehovah or the Sun God or Zeus are all equivalent - people have an innate need to explain the unknown, so over time, religions have evolved to deal with the uncertainty of our existence. As the gaps have narrowed in our understanding, the scientists see that many gods become unnecessary - farmers no longer rely on fertility rituals or rain dances now that they understand crops. These scientists then jump to the end game, which is a world where there are no gaps and everything is explainable by natural cause and effect.

5) I suspect because the Bible contains a lot of historical commentary, and also claims a personal creator God, that it is a target of much research (and skepticism) in all areas of science. As a very small example, the book of Daniel was thought by Archaeologists to have been written around 160BC. The earliest copies of Daniel were from the 900's. That was until the Dead Sea Scrolls were found and dated to around first century BC. The evidence was then overwhelming that it could not have been written that late.