The Biased Constraint of Scientism

Author Amy K. Hall Published on 02/19/2015

With his unique background as a detective, J. Warner Wallace has been filling a hole in the field of apologetics by teaching people how to assess evidence. In your conversations with friends about Christianity, you’ll likely encounter misunderstandings as to what counts as evidence and how much/what kind of evidence is needed in order to reach a reasonable conclusion.

Here’s what he has to say about the charge that Christians are too biased to fairly evaluate evidence:

If you’re like me, you have non-believing friends who claim that Christians are biased. They know that we, as Christians, believe in the existence of God, so they assume that we are unable to evaluate the evidence properly. Non-believers are convinced that Christians start out with a presupposition that clouds our judgment. In truth, however, many of our “rational”, “science based” friends are far more constrained by their presuppositions.

Remember that ALL of us have a point of view, but this does not necessarily mean we are unfairly biased. Bias has nothing to do with holding a viewpoint. Bias occurs when this viewpoint eliminates certain forms of evidence and evidential conclusions before we even begin the investigation. And while atheists may argue that Christians have this kind of bias, a quick examination of the culture’s reliance on science reveals that just the opposite is true. I bet you’ve heard a friend say something similar to: “I am a science and evidence person. Truth can only be determined empirically, and science is the only way to really know truth.” When people make statements like this, they may be revealing something more than a point of view; they may be exposing a rigid bias that is grounded in an over-reliance on science known as “scientism.” ...

[T]he Christian worldview has the ability to embrace natural explanations without rejecting the supernatural ones out of hand. An over-reliance on science (often described as “scientism”) causes us to reject anything supernatural before we even begin to investigate an explanation. Which of these two approaches is most prejudicial?

Read the rest of his post. (See also “What Qualifies As Evidence? Everything!”)