I don’t believe we have adequate appreciation for the task of the attorney. He gets chosen to take a side of the case (a client) and fight to get the judge to agree with him about the facts and about what should be done in light of those facts. Any sympathies the lawyer has with the opposition’s case must be suppressed in light of the duty to create a favorable outcome for his own client. In a world where we are limited in point of view, intelligence and our own prejudices, the lawyer’s task is crucial to our system of justice. In the same vein of thought, let us consider a similar case.
Modern science, with its strict methods, observes, describes, and makes predictions. To the degree to which it can control some experiment on a thing or a phenomenon, it can often give clear insight on what the thing is or what is actually going on. As a methodological rule it excludes supernatural causes as an explanation precisely because it cannot control or repeat them. Like the lawyer, many scientists feel a duty to press natural explanations as THE explanation. This, in itself, does society the same valuable service the attorney does for his client.
This leaves still leaves the job of the judge to be done. In the courtroom and in the minds of those who need justice and truth concerning their case, judgements must be made. Too many important things hang in the balance for the judge to only let one explanation be heard, even if the advocate is famous and successful. Likewise, too many things hang on the big questions of life to let only one source of truth be considered. We should not begrudge naturalistic science a license to come before the bench, but we should think long and hard before we put a judge’s robe on its shoulders.