Q: People who believe in the literal truth of the Bible seem therefore not to accept scientific discoveries in certain disciplines such as archeology, physics, biology and cosmology. Does a belief in the literal truth of the Bible discredit science and the scientific method in general, or only in the specific instances where particular discoveries seem to run counter to the Bible?
It is not about the evidence. Creationists and Evolutionists see the same evidence. It is ones world view that determines what you see. [See The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn] The evolutionist posits a geologic column [which exists no where in the form you find it in the text books by the way] purporting to show the evolution of life from simple to complex organisms from bottom to top over millions of years. The Creationist sees the evidence everywhere of a flood that changed the face of the planet t 4500 years ago, wiped out mountain ranges, pulverized rock and laid down layers of sedimentary rock that trapped animals in the layers where they are found. The animals that could swim lasted longer and were deposited in the higher layers. The trilobites and other invertebrates we find in Ordovician [basement] rocks that date back supposedly 500 million years were the heavy things that fell to the bottom. The evidence around the world shows that huge catastrophes happened during the flood year and after and these explain the typography of our present world. [See polystyrate fossils at firstname.lastname@example.org ] the evolutionist insists there were few if any catastophes [See uniformatarianism] and the present is the key to the past. The Institute for Creation Research [icr.org] has hundreds of Phds working on creation research and have discovered some amazing things in the last 40 years. [Check the RATE project - brings the assumptions of radiometric dating into question.]
You wouldnt know it from the public school education we all get but the Bibles archeology has stood up to scrutiny as well. I know this because I have been studying the Bible for a long time and I can state categorically no human document, historical or religious, compares to it. I have read the others. [I had a Buddhist monk friend who was converted by Genesis chapter 1 verse 1. After completing all his Buddhist philosophical studies no one had ever told him about the God who made it all! He began his search for truth by reading the Bible and today is a Christian evangelist.]
It is a fact that the scientific community has refused to allow the evidence of a recent creation to be presented in our public schools or even in the press. [See Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed--Ben Stein, I can also send you the notes from a lecture I give on 14 evidences for a young earth and universe.] In fact they have behaved just like the religious community did before the Enlightenment. Galileo was not persecuted because the church disagreed with him. Many in the church knew the earth was not the centre of the universe. Galileo got into trouble because he said he had the truth. But the church at that time had not considered changing its mind yet and many had an investment in the status quo. The church believed it had the truth and Galileo was too impatient to wait and so got into trouble.
Im not sure where people come up with the idea that those who believe the Bible literally dont accept scientific discoveries in certain disciplines since many scientific discoveries have provided evidence for the accuracy of the Bible. In fact many early scientists were Christians and Christians are still active in the scientific field today so there is no need to polarize the two groups.
Science often lines up with Scripture. For example, when medical science comes up with an effective treatment for a disease it is working from the underlying belief that human beings (and animals for that matter) are worthy to live free of pain. Many Scriptures, including the Mosiac law, deal with healing and wellness.
However, science makes an unreliable God. Im old enough to have seen scientists reverse themselves many times. It is certainly is an excellent impulse to search for the truth (assuming that is the motivation of all scientists) but it has been shown that science is not a monolith.
In many cases science does not discredit the Bible, but if the Bible and science are in direct contradiction, then I will put my money on the Biblical version. After all, science, as we know it today has not been around as long as the Bible (the understatement of the year) nor has it withstood centuries of skeptical scrutiny.
Moreover there is rigorous debate within the scientific community. There are scientists who believe in evolution and scientists who believe in creation. There are scientists who believe in different theories of light. Even the scientific method itself has been shown by some philosophers to contain a logical fallacy.
Philosopher of science, Thomas Kuhn, argues that the scientific method does not adequately describe all that happens in the practice of science.