"Science" is What?: A Response

While I have no interest in starting a debate or argument with Mr. Hubner, I would like to address a recent post he made on his blog.  It is not only a challenge for Christian apologists “to realize what exactly are the bad assumptions in secular worldviews.” But also, it is our duty to accurately represent the views of those with whom we disagree.

In his post, Mr. Hubner attempts to bring to light what he calls a “very subtle, self-refuting idea.”

The statement he quotes is as follows:

“Science is a particular way of knowing about the world. In science, explanations are limited to those based on observations and experiments that can be substantiated by other scientists. Explanations that cannot be based on empirical evidence are not part of science.” – National Academy of Sciences[1]

Mr. Hubner then goes on to provide reasoning for why he believes this quote is self-refuting, he writes:

“If we’re really strict and simple, we’ll agree that all that “science” means is “to know.” Now if you want to say “to know in a certain way” or “to know only certain things,” OK. But then you should say “my science” or “this particular kind of science,” and give it a name like “biology” or “theology” or “philosophy” etc.”

However, if Mr. Hubner were to have spent more time examining the statement before attempting to refute it he would have found that this is exactly what the original writer has done.  When it says “science is a particular way of knowing about the world” the original quote is acknowledging that there are indeed other ways of obtaining knowledge, of which, science is one.

Now, Mr. Hubner makes the claim that this statement “means science cannot define itself.” However, the author of this statement has never said that we define science via the scientific method, rather, the author is describing the process that the scientific method employs to gain knowledge.

So, while I agree with Mr. Hubner that a worldview that affirms  a solely materialistic world that can only be known via empirical evidence is self-refuting, I believe he is missing the original intent of this statement, and instead, he is arguing against a thesis that was never presented.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I’m not writing this to begin an argument or feud with Mr. Hubner. I appreciate the work he has done on his blog and have enjoyed his debates in the past. I am hoping that through this example we can learn to more accurately represent the views of those with whom we disagree so that we may leave all men without excuse before the Lord of all men, Jesus Christ.


  1. [1]From: http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=6024&page=1 Mr. Hubner’s citation had an error in the first sentence which is corrected here.

Leave a Comment