Does It Matter That Science Can’t Detect God?


Atheists often justify their atheism by saying there’s no evidence for God. But when pressed about what type of evidence they’re looking for, it often turns out they’re only looking for scientific evidence. But this quest for truth starts off on the wrong foot. Science is an empirically based discipline, and as such is ordered to physical reality within our physical universe. But if science’s detecting powers are restricted to physical reality, and God by definition is a non-physical being, then how could science in principle detect God? The answer is, “It can’t!” Science can no more detect God than a metal detector can detect plastic cups. And to not believe in God because there is no scientific evidence for him is as unreasonable as refusing to believe there are plastic cups on the beach because a metal detector provided no evidence for them. The metal detector’s inability to detect plastic cups says nothing about whether or not plastic cups exist on the beach. It’s simply a manifestation of the limitations of the detecting powers of the instrument. Similarly, science’s inability to detect God says nothing about whether or not God exists; it’s simply a manifestation of the limitations of the detecting powers of science—it can be used to detect only that which is empirically verifiable and quantifiably measurable. To say that God doesn’t exist because science can’t detect him is to confuse the method for knowing reality with reality itself. In order to know the things that science can’t, such as God, we must use other methods, such as philosophy. So, it really doesn’t matter that science can’t detect God, and therefore it’s not a justifiable reason to be an atheist. If you want to learn more about this topic and others like it, visit our website at catholic.com. For Catholic Answers, I’m Karlo Broussard. Thanks for watching.

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