The word “Science” evokes God-like respect for many people, more because the advances of “technology” have blurred what people should know about “science” and the scientific establishment. This awe for science is often exploited by the so-called rationalists for intimidating Christians, particularly those who are passing through doubts about the Bible and their faith.
Christians need to be reminded repeatedly that while science as a discipline of study aims to be objective, the “practice” of science is not always full of objectivity. One’s philosophy, political loyalties, departmental intrigues, mutual competition, and the plain old desire to lie towards one’s goal are all common in science. A good example is Galileo.
Most people only know that Galileo Galilee was condemned by the church. But they do not know that it was a political affair, in which Galileo played a political manipulation. His manipulations were opposed by the “scientific establishment” of his time, and it is they who used the church to get Galileo condemned. In essence, the Galileo affair was not church versus science, but mostly “science-politicized” on both the sides.
That bias, prejudice, and outright cheating does exist in science has been demonstrated once again by the Celecoxib Affair. Celecoxib is a member of a family of medicines known as NSAID (non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs). Dr. Scott S. Reuben of the Baystate Medical Centre in Springfield, Massachusetts, USA has published several papers on this medicine and related subjects.
It was revealed recently, in the first audit, that 21 of the 72 papers he published were outright frauds. What is more, an uncountable number derivative research papers have been published by an uncountable number of other researchers who took the original papers for granted. Only a detailed audit will reveal the exact number of fraudulent papers published by Dr. Reuben. The papers exposed as frauds are being retracted by medical journals that published them (all of these are peer-reviewed journals). Worse, his forged papers were quoted more than his more genuine papers, which means the false information propagated by him has travelled farther than the more objective one.
Initial auditing shows that he published research papers with fabricated data for 13 years and his peers simply okayed the papers without being able to detect the fraud. It is only recently that Hwang Woo Suk’s fraud related to stem cell research was found.
Science is not a monolithic body of truth. Nor is scientific research any kind of bias-free mechanical activity. One has to carefully analyze both the corpus of science as well as the conduct of researchers in science before one accepts any claim for objective truth. More so when some people try to use (rather, misuse) the name of science to attack the Bible or the Christian faith.
Online Resources For Further Reading
- Celecoxib: a big research fraud stands exposed
- Prominent celecoxib researcher admits fabricating data in 21 articles
- A Medical Madoff: Anesthesiologist Faked Data in 21 Studies
- Scott Reuben
[Dr. Johnson C. Philip is a physicist, with expertise inter alia in Quantum-nuclear Physics, and has worked extensively on the inner quark-structure of Protons and Neutrons. He has also specialized in Christian Apologetics, Biblical Archeology, Journalism, Alternative Medicines, and several other fields]