Posted by: Average Joe | April 19, 2012

Do Religious People Test Their Ideas the Way Scientists Do?

How would you respond to this statement from Sean Carroll, Caltech physicist and one of the authors of Discover Magazine’s Cosmic Variance blog?

If believers in God spent a tiny fraction of the time that modern cosmologists spend trying to invent alternatives to their favorite ideas and testing them against evidence … well let’s just say the world would be a very different place.




  1. Sean Carroll obviously do not understand how much people of faith deliberate over decisions they make, weigh up attitudes they have and wrestle over secular trends that is at odds with their believes. Sean’s statement is a reflection of the many assumption made by people who think Christian believe what they do because they’ve suspended their critical faculty for a pie in the sky faith.

  2. I think he answers his own question with this quote: In reality, the more you delve into science, the less it appears to rely on faith. When it comes to modern biology there are large parts I accept because of the testimony of experts; but when it comes to physics I actually understand the evidence behind it.

    When you are a Christian and you study God’s word you understand it more and it is less blind faith because you can see the results, comprehend the issues, etc. If he’s asking us to find alternatives to God’s Truth, however, then, imo, he really is without understanding on the issue.

    • Nicely put. Thank you, “Redeemed.”

  3. Assuming that:
    A. Modern cosmologists spend a great deal of time “inventing alternatives to their favorite ideas and testing them against the evidence” (let us say several hours a day).
    B. The phrase “people who believe in god” reffers to those who genuinely believe in a supreme being with power over the natural universe.
    C. The term “tiny fraction” as vague as it is, probably does not exceed 1/100.
    D. Most “People who believe in God” believe in a God that interacts with the world and can influence their life.
    E. Most “People who believe in God” are not trained in applying the “scientific method” but constantly struggle with doubt, they do question their religious dogmas and test them according to their daily experience.
    F. Most “People who believe in God” spend on average at least a couple of minutes a day reflecting on these issues.
    Then “people who believe in God” do spend at least a tiny fraction of the time that “modern cosmologists” do, analyzing (to some degree) if their beliefs are correct.
    Therefore, Mr. Carrol had made a false assumption.
    That is the technical answer infused with a great deal of bad humor.

    • Sorry for the bad humor. The fact is that Mr. Carrol is absolutely correct. If the people who believe in God spend any considerable amount of time testing accurately the available information on all religions and modern science, the direct result is that they will accept Jesus Crist as Lord and Savior and develope a firm world view. That will definitely make the world much different than it is today.

      • Correction: a firm BIBLICAL world view

      • Thanks, Oscar (humor wasn’t so bad). I think you may be right, but I temper your statement with the notion that people are comfortable in their sin and, apart from God’s grace, they will remain alienated from God.

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