People have different presuppositions. They don’t look at life the same from the start. Based upon their presuppositions, or dispositions, they interpret evidence differently. Some believe in God, others don’t. So when they observe something, they all have a built-in bias.
Confirmation bias describes a way of seeing things in a way that supports what one already believes. A person forms an opinion, and then creates a theory. Then they work hard to prove it.
When a criminal defense attorney represents a defendant, before all the proof is presented, the defense attorney believes in the innocence of their client, and so is biased. The job of the prosecuting attorney is to find guilt, so the defendant is seen as guilty. Based upon the presupposition, or bias, each attorney exhibits, they go about trying to prove innocence or guilt.
Each attorney has a natural tendency to align more weight to evidence that confirms their position, and ignore or under-weigh evidence that could go against their position. Instead of looking at things objectively, or utilizing critical thinking skills, they dig in their heels.
When dealing with matters of science, it should also be considered; do scientific facts result in the creation of a theory, or is a theory first created, then evidence is made to fit, such as with confirmation bias?
Scientists come to their conclusions with presuppositions, just like anyone else. Because they have an advanced degree, or vast experience in their field of study, does not mean they are free from bias.
With issues such as climate change, governments, and organizations like the U.N., will authorize studies, and provide funding, to prove the assertions the consensus of scientists and politicians already believe. Scientists will go about trying to prove that climate change is due to man-made causes. The funding of the scientists depends on them obtaining results consistent with existing beliefs.
Why would the scientist come up with results that counter the predetermined accepted thinking? If they did, the funding for future studies would dry up. The scientist will likely be labeled a denier if they counter conventional thinking, and their career irreparably damaged.
Sometimes, circular reasoning is used to prove a point. It is a type of confirmation bias. It is often used in evolutionary biology. Index fossils are used to define and identify geologic periods in the layers of rock strata, and conversely, rocks layers are used to date the fossils preserved in the layer.
Due to the wide spread acceptance of evolution, scientists generally don’t question this circular reasoning. To maintain your credibility, you must teach the “state religion,” views that are rigid in the industry, with alternative thought not permitted. This stubbornness is explained as willful ignorance in 2 Peter 3:16, “as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the scriptures.”
The Bible provides the key to understanding the world around us. Psalm 119:160 states, “The entirety of Your word is truth….” Jesus said in John 3:12, “If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?”
It is important to realize science and scripture are not contradictory. Archeological discoveries and scientific evidence align perfectly with scripture. There is a wealth of scientific, archeological, paleographic, and historical evidence that overwhelmingly corroborates and supports the historical account of the Bible. The Bible is true and reliable, and you can trust it all!
Science vs. religion, and science vs. faith, are false dichotomies. The faithful can observe, study, and understand science. Moreover, the beliefs of secular scientists are based upon faith.
People are looking for answers everywhere, that is, anywhere outside of the Word of God. But you can trust completely what God says throughout the entire Bible. All that we see in science fits perfectly with the accounts in scripture. You can place your trust in the very words of God Himself. God is not the author of confusion. The Bible is authoritative, relevant, and trustworthy. Having faith that God is Creator is substantiated by direct evidence.
Scripture is replete with individuals, lacking faith, that choose their own way. In the Genesis account of Cain and Abel, we see the false religion of Cain contrasted to the true religion of Abel. “And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground.” (Genesis 4:3) Cain brought a gift of produce, but that was not obedient to God’s word. Hebrews 9:22 teaches, “… without shedding of blood there is no remission.” Cain’s offering was outside of God’s will, works-based, a result of his self-effort.
Able was righteous, offering “to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain,” (Hebrews 11:4). In obedience to God, Abel brought an offering of the finest animals. “Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering….” Genesis 4:4-5
Cain believed in a religion of his own ideas. Like Cain, do you believe what you want to believe? Do you practice confirmation bias of your own thoughts or imagination? Or do you recognize and acknowledge the truth found clearly in God’s word? Do you believe in God’s grace, and salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ, the perfect sacrifice?
*This article was inspired by a sermon, Faith Makes the Difference, from pastor Mike Jones on January 14, 2018.
It can be viewed here: http://b3church.com/sermons
Steve Rawlings is an attorney and author. His recently published textbook, Legal Strategies to Defend Biblical Truth, is an excellent resource to students in upper education and homeschoolers. It is available at the publisher’s website: