Can Science Test the Supernatural?

Can Science Test the Supernatural?

Time to move on. The probability discussion seems to have reached an impasse. Maybe by changing the question a bit we can make some progress.

Dr. Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, has said (along with others), “You can’t put God in a test tube.” However, anyone familiar with Reasons To Believe knows that RTB scholars have carved out a niche in the apologetics landscape with a biblical and scientific creation model that answers the question in the title above in the affirmative.

In Origins of Life (page 33), authors Fuz Rana and Hugh Ross explore the idea of testing a biblical and scientific model. They note that scientists already are engaged in efforts to probe intelligent causation:

Science also possesses the capacity to investigate intelligent causes. Archaeologists study artifacts produced by human intelligence. Anthropologists study the bipedal primate fossil record to discriminate between stones intelligently shaped into tools and those formed by the forces of nature. The search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) is a search for signatures in the cosmos that reflect the existence of aliens living in another star system. Crick and Orgel’s directed panspermia appeals to intelligent activity to explain life’s first appearance on Earth—an idea they demonstrate to be testable. By extension, life’s appearance on Earth by a supernatural, extra-universal Intelligence should also be detectable and testable.

Prohibiting an appeal to the supernatural places a false restriction on science’s capability. By limiting available scientific explanations to material explanations alone, naturalists hinder science’s capacity to discover truth. The goal is no longer to discover the most plausible explanation but rather to identify a more or less naturalistic explanation. If a Creator exists and has intervened in the natural realm, His activity (in principle) should be detectable by inference from what a researcher can verify directly with his or her senses. Science, in that way, can probe the supernatural.

OK, but do the skeptics buy it? If not, why not?