In this age in which fake news seems to dominate the public domain, how do we know what is really true? How can we trust any news? That is a legitimate question today, one that people in my generation didn’t ask as often as we have to ask now.
Skepticism that was once the esoteric tool of elite, fringe intellectuals is now, perhaps, as a hammer in the intellectual toolkit of the common person. What years of intellectualism was not able to accomplish has been achieved in less than a generation by the constant barrage of biased and untrustworthy “news outlets” in the Internet age.
Such an atmosphere of skepticism might cause despair of ever knowing, or being able to know, what is really true. Perhaps, the only thing we can trust is skepticism itself.
Many people have retreated to science and what can be known about the world that we observe with our five senses. It’s kind of a last bastion of truth in a world that can’t be trusted without concrete evidence.
Some people even hold to a position that science is the only way we can know the world: the five senses are the only way to know truth. These people discount philosophy, theology, psychology, sociology and “soft” sciences.
The people who take the position that science is the only way of knowing truth are actually proposing a philosophical position – one that can’t be proven by science – in making that statement. Not even science, then, is the safe harbor we wish it was.
Frankly, mathematics might be the only certain way of knowing things, if the truth be told, but mathematics doesn’t tell us anything about the most important questions that people ask. Why are we here? Where does life come from? Whether life is good? How to treat our fellow humankind, animals and the planet?
We try to rely on science, alone, to answer these big questions, but we can’t do that without sneaking philosophy, or theology or other “soft” sciences into the equation. What we observe with our five senses can’t answer those questions without help.
That leaves us with the more difficult talk of synthesizing and harmonizing all the ways we analyze truth and reality, including science, philosophy, theology, psychology, sociology, etc. It would be more convenient, and may seem like an easier task, to eliminate one of more of those disciplines from the mix, but we would be missing nuances of truth and reality in the process.
In the end, the best we can do is strive for honesty, integrity, objectivity, knowledge, understanding and humility in our efforts to understand the nature of reality and truth. Humility is important because it recognizes and factors into the equation the fact that we are finite creates with limited perspective and capacity.
With that introduction, I am providing a link to an interview with Dr. Hugh Ross who has spent his life trying to synthesize and harmonize what he knows about science, which is a lot, with philosophy and theology. I like him because of his humility and commitment to science, logic and understanding.
He takes the same approach to the Bible as he does to science. In fact, his story is unique. He was raised in a home without any religious connection, and he grew up with no religious experience. Science was his first love, and he knew from a very early age that he wanted to be an astrophysicist.
At the same time, he had a curiosity about religious claims, especially as they related to the science of cosmology. He didn’t attend religious services or talk with religious people, though. Rather, he read the creation stories of dozens of world religions and philosophical disciplines and compared them to the science he knew.
The interview provides us a window into the process and methods by which Hugh Ross developed his views of the science and religion, in particular, and how his thinking has evolved over time to his present understanding, which continues to develop. I hope you find this discussion as interesting as I have.