The “No-Win” Scenario

How the redefinition of science has rigged the origins debate

by Calvin Smith on June 14, 2021
Featured in Calvin Smith
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Ask older fans of the famous Star Trek franchise which movie their favorite is, and you’ll likely hear a consensus opinion in the 1982 classic The Wrath of Khan. Not only did its finale culminate with the hand wringing tension reminiscent of an undersea cat-and-mouse submarine duel (such as Run Silent Run Deep, Das Boot, or U-571—albeit with spaceships), it also delved deeper into the background of both its lethal antagonist Khan (portrayed by the charismatic Ricardo Montalbán) and protagonist Captain James T. Kirk (flawlessly depicted by the ever-dramatic William Shatner).

One of its more memorable scenes revealed how Kirk came to be the youngest Captain in Star Fleet by beating the “Kobayashi Maru,” a training exercise designed to test the character of Starfleet Academy cadets by placing them in a no-win scenario. The primary goal of the imaginary mission is to rescue a disabled civilian space vessel located in an off-limits “neutral zone” between the Federation (which includes humanity) and one of their main adversaries, the Klingons.

The simulation forces the cadet Captain to make rapid and complex political, moral, and life-altering decisions involving abandonment of the helpless crew of the Maru or risking their own ship to rescue them, all under threat of being attacked by the Klingons and breaking the terms of a peace treaty and risking an interstellar war. Of course, should the cadet attempt to rescue the Maru, the simulation introduces an overwhelming force of Klingon warships that guarantee no chance of winning or surviving. Hence, the no-win scenario.

As Star Trek canon has it, Kirk was able to beat the unsolvable setup, and when asked how he managed to defeat the infamous unbeatable situation by an ambitious, up-and-coming cadet, Kirk offers a surprisingly simple answer: “I reprogrammed the simulation, so it was possible to rescue the ship.” After being accused of cheating, he states with typical “Kirkian” swagger, “I changed the conditions of the test. I don’t believe in the no-win scenario.”

I Don’t Believe in the Creator

Similarly, secular academia today has reprogrammed the rules surrounding origins science today to the foregone conclusion that all of reality is the result of naturalistic processes inherent in matter acting over billions of years, simply by precluding the possibility of a creator from the start. Contrary to the thinking of many ground-breaking scientists of the past (including the incredible Sir Isaac Newton, arguably the greatest scientific mind we’re aware of), the majority of today’s cadre of university science professors, organizations, and think-tanks all tow the party line regarding all things as being brought about by the story of evolution.

Basically, similar to how Captain Kirk reprogrammed the simulation and changed the condition of the test to get the results he desired, what secularists have done is redefine what science means so that the result of any scientific endeavor can never arrive at a conclusion that involved God. Don’t believe it? Look at one example from immunologist Scott Todd published in Nature magazine:

Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such a hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic.1

Defining Science

Up until around 200 years ago, the Western worldview was primarily based on Christianity, the biblical narrative, and concepts of law and morality that spring from it. Under that paradigm, science simply meant knowledge and comprehending truth, and that included an understanding about everything because God was recognized as the Creator of all things. The 1828 Webster’s Dictionary defined it as the following:

SCI'ENCE, noun [Latin scientia, from scio, to know.] 1. In a general sense, knowledge, or certain knowledge; the comprehension or understanding of truth or facts by the mind. The science of God must be perfect.2

Today of course is very different, with Christianity and the Bible largely thrown out of public life altogether. Teaching from the Bible, and even promoting biblical morality, is literally outlawed in many places, and only one view of origins (evolution) is taught in most state-run schools. The change in understanding about what science means can be seen in the comparison to today’s Merriam-Webster’s dictionary definition (condensed for brevity) and its emphasis on naturalism and the “natural” world.

sci·ence | \ ˈsī-ən(t)s \

1: the state of knowing : knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding

3a: knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method b: such knowledge or such a system of knowledge concerned with the physical world and its phenomena : NATURAL SCIENCE3

It’s quite easy to see why the average person believes the story of evolution today: it’s taught as “fact” and “science” to impressionable children in government school systems and media throughout the Western world, so much so that it’s a self-perpetuating concept now. And because evolutionary ideas support a naturalistic worldview rather than a theistic one, this means that many teens (even ones that grew up in a home that professed belief in God) conclude atheism is true because they had adopted naturalism as their starting point. Merriam-Webster’s current definition of naturalism says it all:

nat·u·ral·ism | \ ˈna-chə-rə-ˌli-zəm , ˈnach-rə- \

Definition of naturalism

1: action, inclination, or thought based only on natural desires and instincts

2: a theory denying that an event or object has a supernatural significance specifically: the doctrine that scientific laws are adequate to account for all phenomena

4

Methodological Naturalism

The fusion of defining knowledge regarding the creation with the commitment to a rejection of the Creator has resulted in what is known as methodological naturalism, which is understood by most as this Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy paper titled Naturalism describes;

 . . . “methodological naturalism” is the view that religious commitments have no relevance within science . . . 5

It goes on to describe how the majority of today’s scientists operate:

A central thought in ontological naturalism is that all spatiotemporal entities must be identical to or metaphysically constituted by physical entities. Many ontological naturalists thus adopt a physicalist attitude to mental, biological, social, and other such “special” subject matters. They hold that there is nothing more to the mental, biological and social realms than arrangements of physical entities.6

Redefinition of Science

This focus on matter and energy being “all there is” was crystalized in famous atheist Carl Sagan’s intro to his show Cosmos, where he stated,

The cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be.7

This understanding of what science is has become normalized now. And it’s perfectly quantified as to how it should be actualized when conducting science in this quote from atheist Professor Richard Lewontin, a geneticist and self-proclaimed Marxist, illustrating how the idea of God should automatically be dismissed from “science,” whether or not facts support the idea.

Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.8

The House Always Wins . . . 

Get it? It doesn’t matter what you discover. You can observe biological micro-machines, the most sophisticated coded language systems, and technological abilities so far beyond the scope of what our most brilliant scientists can ever hope to create within living things, and all of it doesn’t matter. The game has been rigged. It’s a no-win scenario because nothing can be shown as evidence for God under this set of rules. As the old coin-toss adage goes, “Heads I win; tails you lose.”

We must realize this kind of thinking does not stay within the confines of academia: it seeps out into the mainstream of thought, resulting in the common layperson’s understanding that if someone is described as “scientifically minded,” it usually means they’re non-religious; and if someone is religious, then they’re not scientific (i.e., not that bright). And as most people have been taught that the story of evolution is scientifically based, they tend not to view it as having metaphysical underpinnings, even though they are implicit. Evolutionist Michael Ruse admitted as much when he stated,

[E]volution, akin to religion, involves making certain a priori or metaphysical assumptions, which at some level cannot be proven empirically.9

Understand the Enemies’ Ways

For those looking around at a culture that is producing a whole new generation of young minds that are the most atheistic we’ve ever seen, apathetic and uninterested in knowing the things of God10 , understand that naturalism is embedded in our culture now, and that weeding it out (should the Lord be willing) will likely be a long, painful process. And yet we serve a great and mighty God who has revealed Himself as “ . . . the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6).

Bible believers understand we face a mighty foe who is literally referenced as the deceiver (Revelation 12:9), and we are called “to stand against the schemes of the devil” as Ephesians 6:11 (ESV) says. It is incumbent on us not to buy into the reprogramming of reality that the world is currently attempting to do, especially in attempting to redefine the meaning of Genesis 1–11, the seedbed of all Christian doctrines. Stay strong in upholding the authority of God’s Word from the very first verse, and don’t bend your knee to the world.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. (Ephesians 6:13)
Remember, God is on our side

The “Always-Win” Scenario (Faith in Christ)

And remember, God is on our side. Despite all of the machinations of the enemy and everything going on today, children of God have the ultimate security of knowing that the God of the universe has the sovereign right and power to tip the scales of history to his ultimate ends. He has predestined that the faithful in Christ Jesus will always win—in the end (Ephesians 1).

Footnotes

  1. S.C. Todd, “A view from Kansas on that evolution debate,” Correspondence to Nature 401, no. 6752 (September 1999): 423.
  2. “Science,” American Dictionary of the English Language, http://webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/science.
  3. “Science,” Merriam-Webster online dictionary, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/science.
  4. “Naturalism,” Merriam-Webster online dictionary, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/naturalism.
  5. “Naturalism,” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “Methodological Naturalism, 2.1 Philosophy and Science,” first published February 22, 2007; substantive revision March 31, 2020, https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/naturalism/.
  6. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “Ontological Naturalism, 1.1 Making a Causal Difference,” first published February 22, 2007; substantive revision March 31, 2020, https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/naturalism/.
  7. “Carl Sagan Cosmos Intro,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzS39oghcnY.
  8. Richard Lewontin, “Billions and billions of demons” (review of The Demon-Haunted World, The New York Review, January 9, 1997, https://www.nybooks.com/articles/1997/01/09/billions-and-billions-of-demons/.
  9. Complete transcript available online at arn.org/docs/orpages/or151/mr93tran.htm and in print in: Young, C.C. and Largent, M.A., Evolution and Creationism: A Documentary and Reference Guide (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2007), 253–260.
  10. Ken Ham, “Study: Moral Relativism the “Majority Opinion” of Gen Z,” Ken Ham’s blog, February 15, 2021, https://answersingenesis.org/culture/moral-relativism-majority-opinion-of-gen-z/.

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