12 Types of Truth the Scientific Method Cannot Prove
by Travis Stockelman
Today, I was listening to an individual speak. Much of his speech was uncontroversial. However, he made a couple of claims that are demonstrably false. One of these claims was that science can explain everything by the scientific method. I found this interesting, since the scientific method deals specifically with phenomena and theories that can be observed and tested. I was reminded immediately of the debate between William Lane Craig and Peter Atkins, in which Atkins made this very point, only to be refuted by William Lane Craig. Dr. Craig listed 5 types of truth that science cannot explain:
1. Logical and Mathematical Truths
As Dr. Craig points out, science presupposes the existence of logical and mathematical truths so that to try to use science to explain them would be to argue in a circle. Anything that science presupposes cannot itself be explained by the scientific method, or else you will be guilty of this logical fallacy.
2. Metaphysical Truths
The example that Dr. Craig gave was the truth that the earth was not created 5 minutes ago with the appearance of age. Again, the scientific method makes metaphysical assumptions and therefore cannot be used to prove or disprove these assumptions.
3. Ethical Truths
The scientific method cannot be used to account for ethical truths. In fact, this is a dangerous place to go with the scientific method, since allowing science to make our ethical judgments leads to all sorts of horrendous, immoral acts. Dr. Craig rightly points out that the scientific method cannot prove whether the Nazi regime was wrong or right in committing its atrocities.
4. Aesthetic Judgments
The scientific method cannot tell me whether a painting is beautiful or ugly. It cannot tell me whether the night sky is a thing of beauty or a thing of horror.
5. Science Itself
Dr. Craig points out that science itself is full of assumptions that cannot be proven. Again, any assumption made by science cannot be proven by science without arguing in a circle.
After hearing this speech today and being reminded of this debate, I would like to add on to Dr. Craig’s list. Here are some more truths that cannot be proven by the scientific method…