Note well the following contrast in recent opinion pieces.
Today's WSJ offers the view of cosmologist Lawrence Krauss of Arizona State University. His assertion is that (a) belief in God is fine for scientists as long as they do science as if God didn't exist; (b) it is therefore rational, perhaps more consistently rational, to reject belief in God altogether.
We acknowledge the issue but dispute the conclusions. Yes, science seeks to understand what happens naturally, meaning without interference from the outside. It therefore assumes that what we generally observe is natural cause and effect, not the actions of a deity. One cannot do scientific research with the assumption that miracles happen frequently enough to affect relevant data. To assume otherwise would make the data opaque to analysis, in effect introducing a random variable that can't be observed.
But note well math involved. A scientist doesn't observe all relevant phenomena when exploring the natural world, only a part of it. Further, science routinely expects that a small segment of its observations will not be adequately explained by hypotheses that otherwise account for the data powerfully enough to be embraced as true. Hence, it is not necessary for the methods of science that there be no deity who acts in the world in ways that change what is otherwise the "natural" pattern of cause and effect. It is only necessary that such a deity not do so routinely.
And so note well that as far as thoughtful Christian theology is concerned, God's miracles are always assumed to be rare. If they were not, they would obviously enough not be recognizable at all, for the world would operate with such seeming randomness that one couldn't distinguish a regular pattern to which a miracle constituted an exception. We note that as far as biblical narrative is concerned, over a span of roughly two millennia of history, miracles are confined a small part of the world and to three isolated periods of about a generation each: the Exodus and Conquest, the work of Elijah and Elisha, and the work of Jesus and the early church.
If there are miracles indeed, and if they are indeed rare, note that the effect on science is extremely negligible. What are the odds of a miracle being observed by a scientist who has access to data that, while statistically significant, represents the tiniest sliver of all relevant phenomena? And if the miracle were observed, what is the power of that event to overturn the generalization that the data otherwise invites? We think that those questions have obvious answers.
In sum, faith sees miracles as possible but necessarily rare. Kudlow believes that a scientist must assume that they never occur in order to do science. But in fact science functions perfectly well with miracles that happen rarely, exactly what faith requires if miracles are to have meaning at all.
And so in contrast, we note from ToTheSource the observations of Dr. Benjamin Wiker of the Discovery Institute about the recently published Fitness of the Cosmos for Life, edited by scientists John Barrow and Simon Conway Morris. As the symposium of scientists in this book attests, our observations of the natural world, the very cosmology that Dr. Krauss studies, suggests a most notable fine tuning of the universe to yield life. One can even argue coherently that if the cosmic "reset button" were pushed and the universe started over again, it would yield not another outcome but an outcome very, very similar to the present one.
What Barrow and Morris and company consider that Krauss does not is whether the cumulative data of science suggest a conclusion that must be drawn apart from or beyond the scientific method: that the very structure of the universe suggests not randomness but purpose. This teleological argument is nothing new, of course, but it neither is it so old as to be obsolete. If anything, it becomes more persuasive the more we know.
In the end, Krauss can only appeal to a certain simplistic consistency in his worldview: as a scientist, I don't assume God in my science, so I have no need to assume him anyplace else. Barrow and Morris say that starting with the science and looking at all the science drives them to another, metascientific conclusion abut God. Krauss says that if that's so, the science is ruined. We say that conclusion mistakes the real nature of scientific data and observations.