What is the Problem with Materialistic Science?

Many scientists today adopt the position that in the study of origins science should work with only the two following premises as starting points: matter and energy. They preclude any external interference of any intelligence or designer in the process of how those matter and energy interacted to produce or originate what we can see, touch, and examine. At first glance, this may seem a reasonable assumption to start with, because, after all, intelligence is something abstract that cannot be captured in a test tube and analyzed as we do with matter and energy. That is why the term “materialistic science” seems most appropriate. However, even though we cannot scrutinize intelligence in a test tube, analyses of the effects of an intelligence in action can be observed, examined, and assessed, because these effects are not only observable, but have distinctive identifiable patterns. These are mostly recognizable in the form of order with a meaning and purpose, when compared to mere chance action, where order may be present, but meaning and purpose lacking.

Image credit: CSIRO

Moreover, would it not be contradictory to deny the intelligence behind the designs we build and observe, and at the same time do science using that very intelligence? Why do we stubbornly define science only in terms of materialistic postulates? On the one hand, we pretentiously are, with all seriousness, searching for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), but on the other hand, we are just vehemently negating the existence or even the possibility of an extraterrestrial intelligence responsible for designing the intricacies of living beings on the earth. After cracking the “round dance” and the “waggle dance” that honeybees use to communicate to their peers the location of a nectar source; the hieroglyphics of the ancient Egyptians; and the cuneiform characters of the ancient Akkadians, Assyrians, Babylonians, we are now searching for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence by pointing gigantic radio-telescopes into the vast unknown universe, expecting that if an extraterrestrial intelligence exists somewhere “out there,” it will use just pulses in the electromagnetic spectrum to try to communicate with us. What if we were trying to find an extraterrestrial intelligence by looking at the wrong place? What if there were plenty of ordered messages with meaning, purpose, and planning all encased within cells of living beings, and we are even reading them but failing to see and discover the Intelligent Designer that organized matter to be functional, following the precise instructions laid down in those messages? The worst blindness is not the inability to see, it is the refusal to see in spite of the evidence.

The basic premise of materialistic scientists is fraught with inadequacies, because, in order to analyze any event or phenomenon in nature intelligence is required. If I discount the very tool that I use to do science as a possibility to be included in our starting point, then what kind of slanted science am I trying to do?

If science has to preclude the possibility of interference of an intelligence in the events and phenomena that happen around us, then, consistency to this position should invariably lead us to also conclude that intelligence cannot come into play to analyze the events, because as it is argued, “right science” can only deal with matter and energy.  If, by assumption, I have to preclude intelligence as a possibility to make matter and energy interact with each other in ways that we do not currently understand (for example, to create life), then, to be consistent with materialistic science, I should also preclude the intervention of intelligence in the analysis of the interactions between matter and energy. That, to me, is the only logical conclusion. Isn’t it just bias to exclude the very intelligence we use to do science as a causal possibility to be considered together with matter and energy? Why cannot intelligence be postulated as a starting point if it is a postulate in how we do science in the first place?

Think about it.

Alfredo T. Suzuki, PhD
Associate Professor of Physics, La Sierra University