Thursday, February 26, 2009

Are there any atheist scientists?

Ya. Are there? I know there are atheists. And I know there are scientists. But in the area of origins, are there any atheists who possess or adhere to knowledge that was obtained through systematised study? Are there atheists who have reached their conclusions about how the universe came to be via general truths or the operation of general laws, especially as obtained and tested through the scientific method?

I don’t see it. As soon as the Big Bang was confirmed, science and atheists seem to have gone their separate directions; the latter making their home firmly in the land of mythology and science fiction. The age old creed of science, “follow the evidence” has simply been ignored by the majority of atheists who used to do genuine science. The new creed is, "Follow The Money" and write a book.

I know. That's not entirely fair. Some atheists are brave enough to least acknowledge the obvious:

Arthur Eddington - “The beginning seems to present insuperable difficulties unless we agree to look at it as frankly supernatural.”

Nobel prize winner Arno Penzias - “The best data we have are exactly what I would have predicted had I nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, and the Bible as a whole.”

Physicist Freeman Dyson - ‘The more I examine the universe and study the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense must have known we were coming.”

Stephen Hawking - “It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in just this way, except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us.”

Anthony Flew - "The fine tuning of the universe at every level is simply too perfect to be the result of chance." Flew’s lifelong commitment “to go where the evidence leads” compelled him to become a believer in God.

From the point of view of integrity and honour, those comments sound encouraging. However, except for a few honest men like Flew, the deeply held bias that goes with out saying in atheism causes atheists to shake their heads, furrow their brows and turn away from the evidence.

It is the atheist’s determination to not follow any evidence that might point to God that keeps him from accepting the obvious. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” When there are several possible answers to the ideas that arise re: Beginnings, how does one keep internal bias from discarding opposing evidence or a conflicting hypothesis of equal validity? In this case, atheists don’t. They go with their bias.

On virtually every atheist blog that I read, I’m astonished by comments that, given the evidence, seem completely irrational to me, while seeming completely satisfactory to those who wrote them. For example,
. Atheist physicist Victor Stenger states, “So where did the laws of physics come from? They came from nothing.”

That is the logic and reason of atheism. As far as I can tell, Stenger has not been sanctioned or rebuked by any fellow atheists for making such an un scientific statement. In fact, making claims that go against the same scientific principles they hold dear, seems to be allowable to atheists as long as those statements muddy the thinking regarding the possibility of Creator God existing. Here are some more statements that, when compared to how scientists say they operate, well, it’s puzzling that they would allow themselves to work in this manner.

. Smithsonian paleobiologist, Douglas Erwin, “One of the rules of science is, no miracles allowed. That’s a fundamental presumption of what we do” (italics mine).

Even though the universe came into being outside of and prior to the existence of the laws of science, which is a working definition of a miracle, Erwin simply says, “Nah ah,” and goes on his merry way.

Biologist Barry Palevitz, “The supernatural is automatically off-limits as an explanation of the natural world” (italics mine).

Astronomer and physicist Lee Smolin, If the universe started at a point in time, “This leaves the door open for a return of religion. The theory is to be criticized as being unlikely on these grounds”

How in the world can a scientist, someone who says that s/he is dedicated to following the evidence where ever it leads, leave out a whole category of evidence just because it goes against h/her world view?

Are there atheist scientists? If there are, they’re few and far between.

1 comment:

Mariano said...

Shalom Rod;
I noticed you had commented on Atheism is Dead and wanted to say glad to cyber-meet you.
Good work on writing on atheism.