When Wisdom Gets You in Trouble

A couple weeks ago there was a “March for Science.” In the lead-up to this event, Niel Degrasse Tyson made a video about the wonderfulness of science. He explained the Scientific Method–the testing of hypothesis to get repeated results–as the best thing man has ever invented to discover truth.

I have no problems with any of that part. There are problems with his implications though.

Tyson thinks that the Scientific Method is the test for truth, but he also knows he can’t say it that forcefully because Science keeps changing. Old results are replaced with new results due to better equipment and advancements. Therefore, Tyson doesn’t talk about truth; instead he speaks of “emerging truth.” Tyson knows enough to know that for Science, truth is emerging.

Tyson, however, moves quickly past this shifting notion of emerging truth, and says we should let scientists run everything. They are the ones who know the “truth” so we should shut up, hand the keys over to them, and let them drive. Tyson’s main motivation becomes political power. We should let scientists dictate our political decisions.

Except he just got done saying that truth is emerging, so how can we trust his conclusions enough to take action on them if new truth might emerge?

The irony of modern atheistic science is that it is becoming a religion. Since these atheist scientists have such a hatred for religion, they are ignorant concerning religious history.

I know Church History. There was a time in our past where a group of people set themselves up as the sole arbiters of truth. They told everyone else to shut up and let them run the show.

It is a period we now refer to as “The Dark Ages.”

Anytime a group decides “We have all the truth, so give us the power,” really bad things happen.

I have no problem with the Scientific Method. In fact, it’s in the Bible. The Apostle Paul said “Prove all things, hold fast to that which is good.” This is the scientific method stated hundreds of years before there was a scientific method. Curious, is it not? The Scientific Method is the best tool humanity has to figure out how stuff works. But wisdom has pitfalls.

The Bible talks about not being “wise in your own eyes.” This phrase in the Hebrew is also sometimes translated “be not wise in your own conceits.” In the Greek, “be not wise in your own conceits” actually is “be not wise in yourself.”

Wisdom is great, until it makes you a proud, arrogant jerk who thinks they know everything so everyone else should shut up and let me run the show! This is the definition of being wise in yourself, being wise in your own eyes, or being wise in your own conceits.

The Psalmist said that because he knew God’s law, he was smarter than his teachers. This is true! God has revealed truth. If a person living 1900 years ago would have listened to Paul, the Scientific Method would have been around much earlier! God has revealed all kinds of stuff that Science and humans are consistently proving to be true. At this point, a guy should just go with Scripture since it’s been right so many times. If you do go with Scripture, you will indeed be wiser than your teachers.

The downfall is that you will become a punk student! Knowledge puffs up. So, what’s the answer? Be an ignoramus? There has always been an anti-intellectual stream in Christianity. “If we stay dumb then we will be safe from arrogance.” Except that is its own form of knowledge which puffs up! Ignorant people are often the most arrogant! We all know something, and as soon as we trump up our knowledge, or lack thereof, as superior, a fall will come.

The answer is quite simply: The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Humility. Know who you are before God who knows all. Keep yourself in your place and God in His. This will guard against the pride of wisdom.

The true glory of wisdom is not in your ability to discover it, but in the One in whom all wisdom originated.

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