Saturday, May 29, 2010
Science, God, Atheism, Creationism--finally the answer
I've heard that about 2/3 of American scientists call themselves religious, but that the more stellar the scientist, the less likely it is that he or she is religious.
In contrast, at least 85% of the American public describe themselves as religious, and if I recall right only a few percent call themselves atheist.
Logically, though, it's impossible to be both a scientist and an atheist--or even an agnostic for that matter.
...because, if you ask an atheist "Do you believe in God?" the atheist says "No," while an agnostic says "I don't know."
But a logically consistent scientist would say "Sorry, there's a word in that sentence I don't understand. What's a 'god'?"
The word "god" is scientifically undefinable, since science deals with phenomena in the natural world whose behavior can be described empirically or at least mathematically. Which makes scientists empiricists. No more, no less.
This is where lay people really don't get scientists--at least those whose personal beliefs are consistent with their scientific ones--who don't compartmentalize their minds, in other words.
Such scientists aren't "skeptical" about religious belief. They don't "doubt" or "deny" it. It's just irrelevant to them.
Religious people define those who aren't religious by their non-religiosity. They call them "secularists" or "unchurched" or "unbelievers" or "infidels" or "heretics" or "atheists."
Every one of these terms define the non-religious in terms of their non-religion, which makes as much sense as calling a blonde a non-redhead, or a college student a non-fish. These definitions may be true but they fail to say what someone is--just one of the many things they aren't.
And of course empiricism is utterly inconsistent with any sort of belief in any sort of supernatural agency.
However, at the same time, no scientist can say "there is no God" any more than he or she could say "there is no Bleckn." (don't lunge for your dictionary--I made the word up to make my point). The word "god" isn't empirically describable, and thus lies outside the realm of science.
And the only scientists who are religious are those who leave part of their minds outside science. Which many admittedly do.
The irony in all of this is that creationists are atheists.
Here's how. If you're religious, the Universe is God's Universe, created by God, operating under His rules--right?
Well, from that POV (point of view), science is merely the discipline of discovering God's rules--to see how God has organized this universe, absent Him showing up on golden clouds to explain it all in person.
Now what if someone denies the rules the universe runs by? That someone denies God, and is, therefore, an atheist.
Creationists deny God's rules--they continually flout scientific reasoning and conclusions, which simply make experimentally and/or observationally verifiable claims (plus, out at the edges, mathematically verifiable ones).
That's the same as denying that this is God's universe.
Therefore creationists are atheists. They're set themselves up as gods, since they believe their beliefs supersede those based on how God's universe actually operate.
So when someone tells you they're a creationist--ask them when they turned their back on God, and was that hard at first, and do they think they'll ever decide to accept God again?
That'll get 'em going.