Featured in the newest Dialogue Magazine »
How Science Affects Free Speech

How Science Affects Free Speech


The objective of education, in general, is to equip upcoming generations to understand their place in society and how to contribute in a meaningful way to the well-being of that society. Christians go further. Each generation seeks to communicate with youngsters our relationship to God, and our relationship to people and the world in which we live. Christians therefore declare that an important part of our mandate as citizens and believers, is to make sure that we are informed about current events and issues such as science which can exert such a dramatic impact on society, especially today. Thus, we seek to acquiesce with, or speak out against, various important policies in government and society. Indeed, few issues today have fashioned the values of society as much as has scientific thinking and the philosophical implications thereof.

It was 75 years ago that a United Nations sponsored universal declaration of human rights was signed by fifty countries. One article (# 27) apparently enshrined the enjoyment of science as a fundamental right, a ‘universal value’ of all peoples. At that time, of course, science was seen as providing practical benefits and new technology to peoples of the world. Few would object to such an agenda. But that was then, and a lot of water has since gone under the bridge.

Most scientists today insist that scientific explanations involve only matter and processes. These people therefore never consider God in their explanations of nature. This means that scientists explain how nature operates and came about only in terms which exclude God. As a result, as per evolution theory, mankind is considered only one kind of organism among many which are all equally valuable. It is the group of organisms, especially successful specimens, not individual people who are important to society.  Christians alternatively consider that each individual human life is to be valued and protected. Since the 1960s, scientific attitudes have had an increasingly greater impact on government policies. The climate change agenda for example, places the interests of people and nation states as inferior to the interests the scientists consider that exist for the entire globe. Consider, for example, the protests of farmers in the European Union.  The people setting the policy initiatives did not ask the farmers for advice. For example, the European Commission in its recommendations for climate targets for 2040, “rightly based its target on the consensus of scientific advice.” (Editorial. Nature. February 15, 2024.)  Yet the affected farmers and people in general have a great vested interest in what these policies are.

So what does this mean for the average Christian? Life has so far continued OK, so what is there to worry about? Actually plenty. It is the scientists’ agenda that we need to be aware of. For example, in December 14, 2023 an article declared in the journal Nature concerning worldwide climate change policies: “The governance systems we have today are not well suited to [the problem of dealing with climate change].”  (Dec. 14, 2023 p. 234). So what are the “governance systems” of today that are so problematic. A little investigation reveals that many scientists do not like democracy or a system that pays at least some attention to the interests of its citizens. Many scientists support top-down governance, choices made by an elite group on behalf of the governed citizens who have little choice in the matter.

About the same time, another article in Nature demonstrated what a “sustainable” world would look like. Sustainable means that the interests of nature take priority over those of people. Four values would determine policy: biocapacity (protecting the planet), fairness (a more equal society), well being for all (basic services and rights) and an “active” democracy. This democracy would be very different from our present systems of government and sounds like the French revolution: “citizen assemblies could be set up with mandates to formulate socially acceptable sufficiency strategies and strengthen policies. These would be based on ecological limits, fairness and well-being for all, and include a stronger role for trade unions. Examples include local-needs forums, climate conventions and participatory budgeting.” (December 21/28, 2023 p. 521)

The journal Nature followed this up in the new year (January 11, 2024) with a discussion of what democracy should look like today: “Vigorous debate and argument ahead of elections is foundational to democratic societies.” (p. 215). The editorial then goes on to advocate how to squash such debate! This includes vigorous deprioritizing [burying] of opinions and publications which disagree with the establishment position. The idea behind “deprioritizing” is to design search algorithms online in such a way that opinions contrary to the majority scientific position are buried so deeply in the list of articles that inquirers rarely find them. The editorial further declares that there are other practices that can make hiding arguments even more effective. “There can be additional approaches to preventing people from falling into data voids of misinformation and disinformation…”  [When a group does not like some arguments, they label them misinformation and disinformation.] Thus, scientists seek to protect the public from arguments contrary to the majority scientific position.

So how does this situation impact Christians? For a start, as we have seen, evolution theory holds that humans are unimportant compared to nature as a whole. Also, science in general denies that God has any role in nature or in man’s affairs. Obviously, the ability of Christians to share contrary positions and the gospel will be severely restricted. There are many aspects of social policy that are based on evolution theory. It is the duty of Christians to inform themselves concerning these issues and to express their position on as many occasions as possible. Times may be tough but we can still read, write and speak! We can still communicate with neighbours and friends. In all of this, we are called upon to communicate graciously and be the salt of the earth.

Margaret Heler Ph.D.
May 2024

Subscribe to Dialogue