Science vs. History: The Great Gervais Book Burning
Youth Apologetics Network
On Wednesday night, the Late Show with Stephen Colbert got interesting with talk of a little book burning. Colbert asked his guest, outspoken atheist/actor/Twitter extraordinaire Ricky Gervais, why “there is something rather than nothing.” Colbert’s questioning opened the door to a good-natured discussion (refreshing for a late night talk show!). Near the end of the conversation Gervais stated, “Science is constantly proved all the time. If we take something like any fiction, any holy book, and destroyed it, in a thousand years’ time that wouldn’t come back just as it was. Whereas if we took every science book and every fact and destroyed them all, in a thousand years they’d all be back, because all the same tests would be the same result.”
Colbert responded, “That’s good. That’s really good.” Honestly, most of us might respond that way in the moment if we had never heard that line of thinking before (or were trying to be polite and wrap up a segment, as I believe Colbert was probably doing). I’d like to take a look at Gervais’ assertion for two reasons: I hadn’t heard this particular “argument” before about why science is more reliable than the Bible; and I think if the conversation had continued it could have easily been dismantled as a very weak point.
Take the Holy Book and Destroy it
At first, it does seem compelling. My goodness, he’s right! We could destroy all of the Bibles and then there’d be nothing left to base our faith on. But science books? People would just observe the same processes and rules all over again and be able to rewrite those books. Perhaps what we learn from science is superior to that which we’ve learned from our “holy book.”
What is really being stated here by Gervais? He’s suggesting that science is more reliable because of the ability to test it after a book bonfire…
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