Scientific paradigm shifts ought to inject humility into the science versus religion debate
Yet another medical study arguing against a position previously held by the scientific community has been published. This study, which was recently released by Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, has prompted a change in guidelines from the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology:
- People over 70 who don’t have heart disease — or are younger but at increased risk of bleeding — should avoid daily aspirin for prevention.
- Only certain 40- to 70-year-olds who don’t already have heart disease are at high enough risk to warrant 75 to 100 milligrams of aspirin daily, and that’s for a doctor to decide.
With its release, the study calls attention to the seemingly constant barrage of announcements that challenge a previously held scientific consensus.
I can’t help but call attention to this irony at a time in history when much of the secular world lectures Christians on the advantages of science over religion. Unlike religion, society argues, science is the only valid and logical approach to the making of inquiries about reality.
And yet it is actually science, as the American philosopher Thomas Kuhn famously points out, that has a tendency to undergo regular paradigm shifts. But how could this be the case if the scientific field is so foolproof (versus religion that is so foolish)? How can it be the case that studies are being so often released that render conclusions agreed upon by the entire scientific community (even just weeks prior) as complete falsehoods?
One thing I know for sure is that among critics of religion there needs to be more humility. As Kuhn’s pointing out of paradigm shifts seem to suggest, the scientific method isn’t as methodical as previously thought whereas the Catholic faith has held a consistent set of dogma since its inception.