We have said many times before that science and faith are friends, not enemies. The conflict comes when we have bad science or bad theology, and there has been a lot of both. It becomes increasingly necessary in today’s polarized world to avoid fake science and false religious doctrines.
From the beginning of the Church, there have been preachers and teachers who were spreading false doctrines. (2 Corinthians 11:13, 1 Timothy 1:3). Today some scientists present falsified scientific research. Elisabeth Bik, a microbiology researcher, has spent the past few years searching out fraudulent science. She searched 20,000 reports of medical research and found that 800 of them (4%) contained manipulated images.
One of the fraudulent papers Bik found was the work of a Pfizer cancer lab researcher. The images had been edited to show results that were not true. After Bik alerted Pfizer, they fired the researcher, and then investigated her previous research on cancer therapeutics. They found more bogus papers that they had to retract. Scientists often use the work of their peers as a basis for further research. If they are basing their work on false information, the whole system becomes polluted, and lives may be endangered.
Publishing scientific work in prestigious academic journals can lead to respect by other scientists as well as career enhancement and increased income. That creates a “publish or perish” mentality. The temptation to falsify the data becomes strong, and sometimes scientists yield to temptation. That’s a good reason why faith in God is necessary for scientists. Furthermore, the science journals don’t have the staff or funds to catch mistakes, and they are reluctant to retract what they have printed.
However, fake science does happen, it is often spotted by other scientists, and it is sometimes retracted by the journal that published it. A website called Retraction Watch has a database of well over 20,000 items as of this date. At the same time, the popular press often takes the most sensational fake science stories and presents them to the general public with no retractions. Since most journalists in the popular media are not science experts, they often add their own errors and even exaggerations.
The bottom line is that fake science reports and false religious teachings are facts of life. Both cases are a result of the human sin dilemma from which Jesus came to redeem us.
— Roland Earnst © 2020
You can read about the work of Elisabeth Bik and others HERE.