All of this may seem surprising, in view of how science developed out of the theological premises and institutions of Christianity. Copernicus, Kepler, Boyle, and others all saw a deep compatibility between science and religion. In the past century and a half, however, science seems to have cast aside its earlier presupposition that the universe reflects the rationality of God. Now scientists typically admit the orderliness of nature but refuse to consider the source of that orderliness. One reason for the shift is the increasing secularization of the intelligentsia since the mid-nineteenth century, a process described by Christian Smith in his book The Secular Revolution.
Another is the discovery that unexplained mysteries of the universe, once attributed to God, can now be given scientific explanations. “The Darwinian revolution,” Ernst Mayr writes, “was not merely the replacement of one scientific theory by another, but rather the replacement of a worldview in which the supernatural was accepted as a normal and relevant explanatory principle by a new worldview in which there was no room for supernatural forces.” Consequently, science has become an entirely secular enterprise, and this—oddly enough—creates problems for science. By narrowly focusing on a certain type of explanation, modern science is cutting itself off from truths not amenable to that type of explanation.
We have seen how some leading physicists refuse to admit strong evidence about the origins of the universe to avoid having to consider a creator. Now let us consider how some distinguished biologists are willing to embrace weak evidence to corroborate evolution and eliminate the need for a divine being superintending the process. Biologist Franklin Harold knows how complex are the workings of even the simplest cells, because he wrote a book about it. He also knows evolution presumes the existence of fully formed cells with the power to replicate themselves. So what is the origin of the cell? “Life arose here on earth from inanimate matter, by some kind of evolutionary process.” How does Harold know this? “This is not a statement of demonstrable fact:’ he concedes, “but an assumption.” An assumption supported by what? Harold is not afraid to answer, “It is not supported by any direct evidence, nor is it likely to be, but it is consistent with what evidence we do have.”