Ideological Bias in Science and Academia
Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.
It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.
“Billions and Billions of Demons” ~Richard Lewontin, review of The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan, 1997, The New York Review, p. 31, Jan. 9, 1997; italics in original
Evolution: From Goo to You by Way of the Zoo
Naturalist evolutionists see everything (quite literally, everything) in terms of a mindless, purposeless, materialistic process, as is clear from the words of atheist biologist (and Marxist), Richard Lewontin, quoted above. This naturalistic, materialistic process, in the minds of evolutionists, began with cosmic evolution at the Big Bang and continues to this day. Evolutionists even see human thoughts as nothing more than chemistry in the brain — i.e. the brain mechanically secretes thoughts in more or less the same way that the liver secretes bile.
Some evolution propagandists euphemistically call thoughts or the mind an “emergent property” or a “metaprocess from a neuronal network” in an attempt to give the impression that they have explained something utterly inexplicable on naturalistic premises. Living organisms, including human beings, are viewed as simply part of an overall spectrum of evolutionary processes that were preceded by an exceedingly long train of equally mechanical, deterministic, evolutionary chemical and physical processes that began some 14 billion years ago.
The idea of living creatures as imbued or animated by a Creator with “the breath of life” is regarded as a quaint notion of primitive, desert-dwelling nomads. Try as they may, the question “How do we explain consciousness?” still haunts the naturalists and remains utterly unexplained. The reality of spiritual entanglement with the physical realm stares them in the face, but don’t ask the blind to look!
From the viewpoint of naturalistic, evolutionary philosophy there is no inherent distinction between, for example,
- a boulder rolling down a mountainside and killing a hiker and
- the actions of the serial killer, Ted Bundy, who brutally murdered dozens of women.
There is no basis to make any fundamental distinction between the two on naturalistic, evolutionary premises. It is all just a materialistic, naturalistic process and Ted Bundy cannot be seen as any more “guilty” than a boulder rolling down a mountain.
Indeed, the concept of “guilty” disappears altogether. It is all soulless and materialistic determinism. Choice is ultimately an illusion. There is no spirit, no soul, no supernatural realm or God to validate the concept of morals or ethics. Mind and thoughts are ultimately illusions. There is no real “self” or “others,” only a mindless continuum of meaningless processes over the course of purposeless eons. Everything is evolution.
All of human history is also seen from this naturalistic, evolutionary perspective. Bring this evolutionary perspective to archaeology and what you have is…modern academia.
Contrary to the secular position, we believe that God can, and has, acted directly in human history. These divine actions range from the grand empirical display of parting the sea for the Hebrews to cross, to the subjective dreams God gave to Pharaoh of the seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine and the interpretation of those dreams given to Joseph (Genesis 41).
My interest in this subject was sparked by filmmaker, Timothy Mahoney, in his masterful documentary film, Patterns of Evidence: Exodus, and by the indispensable book by archaeologist Douglas Petrovich titled Origins of the Hebrews.
We have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism…
In the preface to his book, Origins of the Hebrews, Petrovich discusses the scholarly reaction to his previous book, “From my experience as a professional scholar and researcher in this field, I am convinced that finding objective and open-minded readers is a far greater challenge.” Those of us who have been involved in the creation-evolution debate could have advised Petrovich of that fact ahead of time! Based upon comments in his book and lectures, Petrovich seems somewhat taken aback and mystified by the zealous partisan opposition his books have received.
Petrovich observes; “No one had access to the manuscript before (the book was published). However, two renowned scholars wrote public denouncements of the book’s thesis before the book was available to read: Christopher Rollston…a Semitics scholar who specializes in the epigraphy of the Iron Age… and Thomas Schneider…an Egyptologist.”
Petrovich continues: “Three world-class scholars who are obligated professionally to read new works in their fields before drawing any conclusions about them, let alone commenting on them publicly, instead chose to condemn the book’s thesis without ever seeing the evidence or evaluating its argumentation. How is this possible?”
These reactions reveal the entrenched a priori, axiomatic, assumption-laden approach of establishment academia. Even when ideology per se is not the driving force of this opposition, the scholars all have their own personal “horse in the race.” There are a lot of hyper-inflated egos in academia. As it is written, “Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies,” (1 Cor. 8:1).
From the perspective of the secular authorities in the field of archaeology, they are the gatekeepers of truth and already have The Truth and the final word on this subject; according to them, the Hebrews were never in Egypt, and the exodus never happened, certainly not an exodus with a supernatural cause. Case closed. And don’t dare suggest any alternate scenario or you will suffer what Arthur Koestler once called “discreet but effective ostracism for heretics,” (see his book, Janus, pg 165) that is to say, academic excommunication for ideological heresy.
In a lecture regarding his previous book, The World’s Oldest Alphabet, Petrovich notes: “Because of the publication of this book, I’ve lost friends and colleagues who will communicate with me—which is no fun—because you think they are friends and colleagues for life. I don’t get invitations to speak at certain places and I don’t get invitations to be on certain committees and involved in certain ways in scholarly societies because of the position I’ve taken with this book.”
It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world…
In order to correctly understand the interaction between Christian archaeological scholars and skeptical scholars, it is absolutely essential to understand first that establishment academia is zealously partisan, factional, and sectarian in its approach to its disciplines. Its members live and function in a bubble of axiomatic thinking, committed to assumptions that are not allowed to be questioned. The idea of intellectual neutrality is a pie-in-the-sky myth that does not exist in the academic world. Unfortunately, the death blow to objective empiricism in academic science came a long time ago with the fusion of Marxism (i.e., Hegelian philosophy) and Darwinism in academia between the 1860s and 1880s.
On the contrary…we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations…
Ever since, scientific pursuits have been conducted within the controlling framework of this overarching metasystem. Archaeology is no exception. It does not matter what discipline is pursued in academia today. All truth seekers are subjected to the doctrinaire catechism of atheist academia—and their retribution if you are perceived as a threat and traitor to the faith. (See for example Jerry Bergman’s books, Slaughter of the Dissidents and Silencing the Darwin Skeptics, the film Intelligence Expelled by Ben Stein, and my very abbreviated list of victims noted here at thecreationclub.com: “Dinosaur Blood and the REAL Age of the Earth: Part 2.”)
Materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.
An investigator will never understand the true nature of the objections to biblical archaeology without first understanding this ever-present reality in academia. Secular academicians are mostly zealous defenders of the religious faith of Naturalism, and they will not allow a divine foot in the door. Period! This is the status quo. This is at the very root and foundation of the conflict. Vehement and hostile opposition must be expected to any empirical evidence that suggests the truth of Scripture — no matter how strong the evidence is.
Modern psychology identifies the phenomenon of “psychological denial.” If one searches for a basic definition or description of psychological denial, one will find the following: “the rejection or dismissal of a reality that is too distressing or uncomfortable to accept.” In other words, psychological denial is willful. It serves a purpose for the denier.
This psychology of denial is discussed by the apostle Paul in Romans 1:18: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” Paul is characterizing the entire unbelieving world here in this passage. The idea of a God who has authority over our entire lives and actions and will bring us into judgment is the ultimate “reality that is too distressing or uncomfortable to accept.”
It is my contention that this is the fundamental dynamic that Douglas Petrovich and other Christian academicians confront when they deal with secular academicians. The arguments of unbelieving scholars are under the control of and subordinated to this life-dominating dynamic of denial. When they hear of the miraculous deliverance of the Hebrews by God through the sea and the judgment upon Egypt, they are confronted by the reality of God and his holiness. Denial inevitably sets in. It is not that the evidence compels them to accept a material explanation of these events, but rather that they simply cannot allow a divine foot in the door.
This series will continue in Part 2 with the Brooklyn Papyrus.