What is science?

“Now faith is the certainty of things hoped for, a proof of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

In ordinary life, we do not have objective, verifiable evidence of many things, like the structural reliability of bridges or chairs. We act based on faith that things just work as hoped, for example a chair will not break when we sit on it. When we sit on it and notice that the chair did not break, that is a fact rather than faith.

People may use the word as they wish, that does not change the underlying fact that it is just an assumption. Mostly a realistic and practical assumption but still only an assumption.

People seldom realize how much of the ‘knowledge’ circulating in the media or literature is based on the basic assumptions used in the research that produced the ‘knowledge’. If you know the basic assumptions, you can often predict what kind of conclusions can be produced starting from those assumptions. Unfortunately, there is often a need of much basic and special knowledge before you can really evaluate the reliability of the conclusions published in academic journals or books. As we have very limited knowledge, we tend to believe what scientists present and conclude in peer-reviewed publications. That is a reasonable approach as trusting those results is more rational than believing the ‘alternative truths’ circulating in social media. The probability that the ‘alternative truths’ are correct is very much lower (often close to zero) than the probability that the results published in peer-reviewed journals are correct.

It should also be remembered that science includes a self-correcting mechanism. If someone publishes results that are not true, other scientists will sooner or later publish something that corrects the false information. Sometimes it takes decades before false beliefs are shown to be false or unlikely but it will happen.

The thing about a chair is, that it looks like it’s for sitting in. Unless it looks like it has woodworm. Same with bridges. Although their hidden decay is of concern in corrupt cultures. Like the horror of the Genoa Morandi Bridge. Whereas the unnatural only looks like an explanation for nature if nature looks unnatural.

I like the chair analogy for faith and would define faith as the act of trust (i.e., the choice to sit in the chair) based on available evidence (the chair looks solid and such chairs I’ve sat in in the past have held me up so I’m going to commit myself). If one were 100% certain beforehand that the chair would bear one’s weight, I would think there would be no “faith” involved.


“Total depravity” does not mean that no action is good, rather it means that no action on the part of a person is as perfect as it could be without the existence of sin. (Simplified and modernized from the Westminster Confession Chapter 6)

As a further example:

“These good works, done in obedience to God’s commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith.” (First sentence of the Westminster Confession Chapter 16 Article 2)

Why that doesn’t sound like total depravity at all, more like a little bit of depravity. No I cannot get these statements equal no matter how much I twist my mind into knots…

“You are totally depraved.”
“You are not perfect.”

The first is not something you should be saying to anyone let alone a child, while the second is a good to say to anyone even a child.

Shouldn’t we call apples by the name “apple” rather than calling it something completely different like oranges? What purpose does the latter serve except the twisted lying of those using words to manipulate and abuse people?

To be completely frank… this sounds an awful lot like people backing away from a position that they have eventually realized is unsupportable.


True. I think sitting on a chair is less faith and more past experience and knowledge of how chairs are built and function. You have to have some faith that the chair was not booby trapped by your buddies to make you take a fall, but otherwise, it is basically applied science, actions based on knowledge and observation. Naturally, we do not a analyze the situation anew before we sit down except in the most cursory way, but we rely on past experience.

In contrast, faith is stepping out when things are not so concrete and certain.


The chair example is not perfect but shows that we often act based on faith in our everyday life. It is semantics whether we call it ‘faith’ or something else.

I would not call it applied science because applied science starts from findings done in basic research and then applied to practical problems. Those constructing a bridge may utilize findings of scientific research, that would be applied science. Those walking on a bridge are not applying findings of scientific research, even if they have previous experience of using bridges.

Christian faith is not an arbitrary hope of something not seen, it is founded on past experience, at least usually. We have faith to act because we have experienced something that gives us trust in God. An experience that God is and He acts. It may be something that has happened in our own life or something that happened in the life of persons we know.


I believe that the word meaning has changed somewhat, i.e. “total” referring to “all aspects of something are ___ in some way” in the original; rather than the more modern “all aspects of something are ___ as much as possible”.

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and yet you said

something not quite coherent.

the reason for writing test protocols is nothing to do with idealism but it’s methodological necessity to be able to repeat the process. It’s the same for baking recipes.

Sometimes the best response to people who persist in assuming other peoples motives based on their intellectual superiority is to refuse engaging in their insanity and just ignore them.
Unfortunately I try to help you to see the incoherence of your arguments which obviously upset you scratching on the pedestal of scientists, just because they use this label.
Without the ideal of honesty nothing is worthy of pursuit.
you still did not answer me what publications “of that sort” do you project on me - and why?

nothing could be further from what I said as I - unlike you - try to credit people with trying to be honest first of all and apply critical thinking to what they say/do

is exactly what I wanted to protect you from, particularly if you believe a certain class of people to be better than others.

do I sense religiophobia here? Science only dicovers anything because of the order that exists in reality which is indeed a miracle.
“Science embodies an ideal— the ideal of the human in- tellect understanding the order underlying Nature . Its value does not lie only in the materialistic benefits it can bring, but also in its philosophical and aesthetic influence on the human mind.” which are definitely anything but worthless

Being a scientist does not make you more honest but more methodological. The appeal to critical thinking is a great way of making people swallow all sorts of BS, as I always highlight when debating the

and modern atheism exploits that ruthlessly

As an intelligent person I wasn’t willing to listen all the way through first question. So many assumptions about what faith, prayer and miracles mean and how they should work on the part someone who clearly has not one clue about any of it.

The presumption that rational sense is always the best alternative and the final arbiter of all the others is so ingrained. I think modernity has not been well digested by people generally, neither by the faithful nor the nihilist rationalists.

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How about partially depraved? or totally depraved Lite, with 50% less depravity?

the trick is that appealing for the viewers intellectual capacity it makes them victims to their pride, this switching off critical thinking mode. The video is from Marshall Brains - what a loaded name - who wrote “how God works”

it is however rational sense that helps you to dismantle the video by questioning the questions

It would be interesting to do a study on the reasons for the position on depravity. Paul certainly has some references, and parts of the Psalms (though many areas in the OT refer to “the righteous” as well, and Enns, who trained under Jewish scholars, said that it was culturally nuanced). He discusses this in his books–I think both “Inspiration and Incarnation” and “Evolution of Adam.” Thanks.

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Yes it would be interesting. The Bible, it seems, sees people as both good and bad. Complex beings.

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I think sources of truth other than science would include special revelation (i.e., scripture), tradition (outside of scripture), spiritual visions and prophecies, and personal experience. The standards for evaluating these sources of truth are not always the same as science, but they are valid sources of truth nonetheless.

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Thanks Caleb. Such truth is subjective; a different kind of truth, like poetry, politics, music.

Someone telling us a fact about themselves (which could be how they feel about something) is an objective truth – a revelation, as you mentioned, something very much true but very much not scientific. And you only have the person’s testimony.

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But, … B-U-T, …BUT … What if I have no peers?

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“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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