An article appeared in Yahoo a day or two ago. It quotes theoretical cosmologist Sean Carroll. Here is the article detail: Will Science Someday Rule Out the Possibility of God?
By Natalie Wolchover | LiveScience.com Here is the core section shared by Carroll: Carroll argues that God’s sphere of influence has shrunk drastically in modern times, as physics and cosmology have expanded in their ability to explain the origin and evolution of the universe. “As we learn more about the universe, there’s less and less need to look outside it for help,” he told Life’s Little Mysteries. He thinks the sphere of supernatural influence will eventually shrink to nil. My specific question is on a 1%-100% basis, how far along is cosmology in actually knowing all there is to “know” regarding origins and and the cosmos…. Hope that question makes sense. While I am not a trained scientist, I am familiar with a lot of very bold claims,or leaps, by many scientists in different fields giving very little detail about what is really known vs posulated. I have several of your books, and in general, love the study of apologetics.
At the risk of being ungracious, Sean Carroll does not know what he is talking about. Either that or he is being disingenuous. I do not mean the he is not knowledgeable about science. What I mean is the he appears to not be an expert on philosophy of science or religion–the areas in which he has chosen to speak. It is literally impossible for science to rule out the supernatural. All science can do is describe that which is “natural.” Christian philosophers of science (which is all philosophers of science for the first several hundred years) never argued that science cannot completely explain the workings of the natural world. What theists argue for is that there is a supernatural presence which supercedes the natural and which, therefore, is capable of the supernatural. It is literally impossible for scientific experiment to rule out the supernatural. By its very nature, scientific study is about what normally happens. Science does not “prove” anything. All it can do is provide natural explanations for what happens naturally which are consistent with physical reality. Science cannot disprove the resurrection of Jesus. All it can do is tell us that, if it happened, it would be supernatural. The only way science can be used to disprove the supernatural is to create a circular argument. In effect, this is what Natalie Wolchover/Sean Carroll are doing. In essence, what philosophical scientific materialist do is make this argument: The only things which are real are physical things. Therefore, supernatural things are not real. This is classic circular reasoning. In other words, the materialist begins by presupposing that there is no supernatural, and uses this as a basis for disproving the reality of the supernatural.
Remember that all the early philosophers and practitioners of science were theists. From the time of Newton onward, these theists believed that the natural workings and history of the universe since its creation could be explained by those natural laws. This never has precluded the existence of or the influence of a supernatural God.
The authors claim that with the development of greater scientific knowledge the need for outside help has virtually disappeared. This is utter nonsense! The human need was not an explanation of the natural world. The human need was for love, for purpose, for truth, for knowledge of what is right and what is wrong. The human need is for justice and knowledge of the ultimate meaning of human existence. Science never has and never will answer any of these questions. As I tell my students in my philosophy of science class, science is very good at answering questions such as When? How many? How long? Where? By what means? The limitation of science is that it does not answer the questions which people really care about such as: Why? What is the purpose? What is the goal of existence? What is the right thing to do? Is there a supernatural presence in the universe? Do I have a non-physical reality which lives on after I die? Why is there evil? Science cannot answer any of the questions human beings really care about. It never has and it never will. Naturalists get around this criticism by saying such questions are nonsense. That is an extremely bad way to answer these questions.
The writer of this article is not even close to the mark, in my opinion. Yes, it is true that science has made fantastic strides to understand the workings of the physical world. As a Christian I am not at all surprised by this. I believe in a single, unchanging God, therefore, I believe in a single set of unchanging physical laws. I believe in a God who wants to be known, therefore I predict that human beings who explore nature (which was created by God) will be able to understand it. Every single thing we know about the physical world confirms what I believe about God. The answer to your question is that science has revealed a vast amount about the nature of physical reality. It is hard to say how much we do not yet know. Perhaps 200 years from now, scientists will be amazed about how ignorant we were back in 2012, but it is astounding how much we do know about the history of the universe and life in the universe. Where these authors go completely wrong is when they extrapolate and say that human beings no longer have need of the supernatural God who made all these things. Knowing how God created the universe does nothing to reduce our need for God.