Why do many scientists disbelieve in God?

Why do many scientists and others disbelieve in God?

 Scientists are held in respect by society, the average layman consciously or unconsciously believes that the world we live in now with all its material and technological achievements and the relatively comfortable life we live now is as a result of these people. He has a trust and respect for these people. However many lay people mistakenly think that all scientists are atheists, when in fact many if not most believe in the existence of God, something many have concluded through scientific study.

 

The question now is why do many including scientists disbelieve in God and not only that, why are they so dismissive of belief in the divine as opposed to accepting it as a legitimate stance?

 

Materialism, naturalism.

 

Many people irrespective of their background, religion of their society, education through out the world believe that the only thing exists is what we can see and observe. For them something which we cannot see, touch, feel, smell or taste does not exist. From their viewpoint if they were sitting in a room with another person and there was nothing there besides two chairs, a table, the carpet, a window and the two people themselves, that is all that exists. If one of these two people said “There is another being in this room, one whom you cannot see” then they would dismiss this as absurd, and something hallucinatory. I have used this example since this is something which we could all relate to including theists and which would probably cause religious people themselves to be sceptical or dismissive of the person saying there was a third invisible person in the room.

 

This in a very simplified form is the way many atheistic or secular people view religion. Something almost hallucinatory and delusional. For them all that exists is the tangible, the material, that which we can see and touch. I will call this position “Materialism” or “Naturalism”. Some people just grow up with an inherit disposition to rejecting anything beyond the material (5 senses) world and some of these people become scientists and carry this prejudice into the field of science.

 

Science is in reality a method. It is to discover more about reality through an organized, systematic and empirical manner. As such science which is conducted by limited, human beings with the limited resources at their disposal is itself limited and cannot study that which is beyond the 5 senses, the tangible, material world.

 

Atheists contend that not believing in God is philosophically or logically the default position and the onus of proof lies with theists. However upon closer inspection this is not actually correct even according to the principles of logic and philosophy.

 

Let me quote an academic from New Zealand.

 

“Dr. Cooke is correct in noting that the theist who makes a positive claim regarding God’s existence is obliged to give reasons in support of that contention. This, however, does not mean that atheism is the default position unless sound arguments for theism exist, since atheism too is a positive claim about the nature of reality. “Atheism,” writes Jeaneane Fowler, “is clearly naturalism versus supernaturalism.”[5] And so, it is, as Madalyn Murray O’Hair explains, “based upon a materialist philosophy, which holds that nothing exists but natural phenomena. There are no supernatural forces or entities, nor can there be any. Nature simply exists.”[6] This is quite a remarkable claim! Since theist and atheist make positive claims about the nature of reality (unlike the agnostic who suspends judgement), the burden of proof is on them both to substantiate their respective positions of supernaturalism and naturalism.

It is important to bear in mind the central point of contention between Dr. Cooke and myself. As William Rowe observes, “[p]erhaps the best way to understand the struggle between atheism and theism is to note theism’s insistence on an agent explanation of various natural phenomena, including the existence of the universe.”[7] In my opening argument, I sketched out considerations that give us plausible reasons for thinking that God exists, such as the origins of the universe, its fine-tuning, etc. That is, these facts about the universe only find a plausible account through agent explanation (i.e. the existence of God). Dr. Cooke denies all of this. He thinks, presumably, that there is a perfectly fine naturalistic account–a “Grand Story” (as Craig and Moreland call it)–that will explain the facts of the universe and our existence in it.”

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/bill_cooke/cooke-aijaz/aijaz2.html

 

Thus both theism and atheism are positions on how the world came into existence and atheism is not the default position. From a scientific and logical viewpoint then, the objective scientist should not assert either of these positions to be true (he can personally believe or favour one, but not to publicly assert it to laypeople as correct). However many atheist scientists  have a prejudice, i.e. a pre-formed opinion on something against theism and thus “intelligent design”. This has even led to the loss of objectivity in the way they conduct science. Principles and ideas which they would normally not accept, are used by them in their quest to disprove the existence of God at any costs. What the mainstream media do not tell the public is that there is at the very least difference in the scientific community about the existence of an intelligent creator i.e. God, and what is also not known is many atheist scientists too have their own agenda, based on their own ideology and wish to try to twist science to proving them right. Examples have been given on other articles here on this site.

Whether the supreme, all-knowing entity that we call God exists is something which has been covered in other articles. However let us go back to the original example in this article about the two people in the room with just two chairs, a carpet and a window. There are other things in this world that exist between the 5 senses. Even man’s 5 senses are limited. We cannot with our naked eye see ultraviolet light properly. Are there things beyond the 5 senses?

Telepathy and intuition: Cambridge scientist Dr Rupert Sheldrake has stated through scientific study that telepathy exists. All of us in our own personal lives have thought or spoken of someone and then almost miraculously they contacted us there and then. Also it is widely known the sort of mental connection that many twins have, also the maternal connection between a mother and her child. Females have a stronger sense of intuition (since the right side of their brain, the part which deals with that is bigger) than men. How many females have had a gut feeling, a sense of intuition and were correct?

 

 

 

Dr Rupert Sheldrake of Cambridge University.

 

This sort of phenomena which does not fall within any of the 5 sense and is beyond them has thus been labelled “extra-sensory perception”, many of us call it 6th sense, intuition and so forth.

Dreams: Many of us have had dreams that have come true. Neither does this fall into the 5 senses. I will coin an adjective for that relating to the 5 senses and call it “pensensory”, pen being the Roman prefix denoting 5 as in the word “pentagon”.

Telekinesis: Dr Daryl J Bem of Cornell University published an article which spoke of experiments indicating the existence of telekinesis. It can be read here: http://dbem.ws/psi_world.html

 

The doctor also made some interesting comments about the subjective nature of scientific “proof” in that article, as certain sceptics and atheists are very resistant to any scientific research which challenges their pre-formed ideas and dogma.

One can also read http://www.metapsychique.org/Does-Psi-Exist-Replicable-Evidence.html.

 

I would call those things which are not perceived or explained by our 5 senses as “extra-material” (outside the material, tangible) or “supernatural”.

 

There are other things which can also be pointed to. The world that we exist in is not just composed of those things which we limited human beings can see with our 5 senses. The human being is not merely a collection of meat, bones, nerve wires and organs all clumped together whose distant ancestors were algae, fish and amphibians and who lives on this earth for no purpose, and who will die and whose very consciousness will cease to exist and disappear into a void of nothingness.

 

 

 

 Amphibian, many evolutionists believe that humans evolved from algae to fish to amphibians.

 

 The human being is so much more than that. He feels pain, he feels anger, despair and a so many other things in the vast spectra of human emotions. Throughout human civilization there has been continuous testimony of that beyond the material, of that beyond the pensensory world. The human experience is a vast one encompassing many things. To deny things such as intuition, the telepathic bond that a mother may have with her child and so many other things is to deny part of the human experience. Writers, poets and others in addressing our emotions, our imagination addressed something far beyond the material. The human being has a soul. He appreciates beauty in all its forms be it aesthetic, literary, and so forth.

 

 Art admirers in a gallery.

His appreciation of beauty is not a superficial one purely formed by his environment and other external factors, but comes from deeper, internal factors, it is at times a sense of awe and wonder when he encounters something truly impressive, immense and breathtaking. Not only are his nerve wires touched but so is his emotional, his spiritual side. The human being is not a robot composed of meat, bones and skin he is something special, and part of a universe which itself something truly special, something amazing and which continuously astounds scientists with its sheer complexity, intricacy and sophistication. He sees, smells, hears, tastes, touches but so also does he think, dream, ponder, revere. He is composed of both his body and his soul, the material and the extra-material.

 

To deny this is to deny an aspect of humanity and to never be able to completely appreciate the human experience, to live it fully and to make the most of it.

 

– Faatih

 

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7 Responses to “Why do many scientists disbelieve in God?”


  1. 1 Modasser Hossain December 10, 2008 at 7:56 am

    Great article.
    I have learned a lot from here.
    These will help me in some of my research.
    Expecting this type of article.
    Thanks.

  2. 2 hkyson December 10, 2008 at 9:09 am

    Science and Atheism

    Science is different from religion. It does not pretend that it knows everything. There are even now deep questions about the origins of the universe that we don’t have answers to now though it is possible we may be able to answer some of them in the future.

    But the inability of science to provide answers to these questions does not prove that religious faith, tradition, or an ancient holy text has the ability to answer them. Science cannot prove that God does not exist, but this in no way establishes that God exists. There are millions of things whose lack of existence cannot be established.

    The philosopher Bertrand Russel had an analogy. Imagine that there is a teapot in orbit around the sun. It is impossible to prove that the teapot does not exist because it is too small to be detected by our telescopes. Nobody but a crazy person would say “Well, I’m prepared to believe in the teapot because I cannot establish that it doesn’t exist.” This means that maybe we have to be technically agnostics, but really we are all atheists about teapots with orbits around the sun.

    But now let us suppose that everybody in our society including our teachers and the sages of our tribes all had faith in a teapot that orbits the sun. Let us also suppose that stories of the teapot have come down to us for many generations as one of the traditions of our own society and there are ancient holy texts about the teapot. In this case people would say that a person who did not believe in the teapot is eccentric or mad.

    There are infinite numbers of things like celestial teapots whose lack of existence we are unable to establish. There are fairies, for example, and there are unicorns and goblins. We cannot prove that any of these creatures of the imagination do not exist in reality. But we don’t believe they exist, just as we don’t believe that the gods of the Scandinavians, for example, have any true existence.

    We are all atheists about almost all of the gods created by societies in the past. Some of us, however, take the ultimate step of believing that the god of the Jews and the Christians, like the gods of the Greeks and the Egyptians, also do not exist.

    Now here’s a version of this text in Interlingua. (For more information about Interlingua, use a search enging to search on the title “Interlingua in interlingua” or go to http://www.interlingua.com.

    Le scientia es differente del religion. Illo non pretende que illo sape toto. Il ha etiam nunc questiones profunde sur le origines del universe al quales nos nunc non ha responsas ben que il es possible que nos potera responder a alicunes de illos in le futuro.

    Ma le incapacitate del scientia de provider responsas a iste questiones non proba que le fide religiose, le tradition, o un texto sancte e ancian pote responder a illos. Le scientia non pote probar que Deo non existe, ma isto non establi de ulle maniera que Deo existe. Il ha milliones de cosas cuje existentia non pote esser establite.

    Le philosopho Bertrand Russell habeva un analogia. Imagina que il ha un theiera in orbita circum le sol. Il es impossibile probar que le theiera non existe proque illo es troppo parve pro esser detegite per nostre telescopios. Nemo excepte un folle dicerea, “Multo ben, io es preparate a creder in le theiera proque io non pote establir que illo non existe.” Isto significa que forsan nos debe esser technicamente agnosticos, ma vermente nos es omnes atheistas sur theieras con orbitas circum le sol.

    Ma que nos nunc suppone que omnes in nostre societate includente nostre professores e le sagios de nostre tribos habeva fide in un theiera que orbita le sol. Que nos anque suppone que historias del theiera ha venite usque nos trans multe generationes como un del traditiones de nostre proprie societate e que il ha textos sancte ancian sur le theiera. In iste caso le gente dicerea que un persona qui non credeva in le theiera es eccentric o folle.

    Il ha numeros infinite de cosas como theieras celestial cuje manco de existentia nos non pote establir. Il ha fees, pro exemplo, e il ha unicornios e gnomos. Nos non pote probar que iste creaturas del imagination non existe in le realitate. Ma nos non crede que illos existe exactamente como nos non crede que le deos del Scandinavos, pro exemplo, ha ulle existential ver.

    Nos es omnes atheistas sur quasi omne le deos create per societates in le passato. Alicunes de nos tamen prende le ultime passo de creder que le deo del judaeos e del christianos, como le deos del grecos e le egyptianos, anque non existe.

  3. 3 faatih December 10, 2008 at 11:25 am

    Modasser: Thanks.

    Hkyson: Thanks for your detailed reply and I welcome constructive discussion here. What I take issue is with the complete dismissal of the presence of an intelligent designer (i.e. God) amongst some secular sections of the scientific community, whilst many of their other colleagues through scientific study actually believe in it. At the very least they have to respect it as a legitimate stance.

    As for the example of the teapot and so forth, there is a huge difference between that and the issue of intelligent design. Scientists of many disciplines whether it be biology, physics and so on, have said that the world is so complicated that it is simply impossible that it came by chance. This is an opinion concluded through science, by educated people. There is no evidence that a teapot orbits the earth and also there is no relevance whereas with the issue of God’s existence, there is a huge relevance, to those who turn towards him (in Islam we believe Allah has no gender) and also to those who believe in secularism, humanism and so on.

    There is also the classic atheist argument that belief in God, further compounded by the image of a man with a white beard – Islam says God is not human in any way and totally different from all of creation – et la Michaelangelo, is a remnant of a more primitive past when we needed to explain the world and natural phenomena by using myths. However to repeat, intelligent, modern people who believe in the scientific method say that there is indeed a creator. At the very least a believer in the divine cannot be considered intellectually inferior or somewhat deluded as some seem to do.

    On another note, thanks for the interlingua translation as someone who speaks a few languages it is clearly Latin-based, whereas non-Latin languages and non-Indo-European languages are totally different.

  4. 4 subtropic December 25, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Being a former atheist myself, I always find such articles quite interesting.

    Truly, the claim that most scientists in the world are atheists is quite an unfounded claim. You will find more of them believing in many deities (the scientists of India) than believing in none.

    For some reason, the modern materialists have latched on to a few key public figures as their prophets. One even tried to claim to me that Japan, a Shinto/Buddhist society which has many deities and has produced many scientists, is an “atheistic society”. Indeed their own dogma often gets the better of them, wallaahul musta’aan.

  5. 5 George Carty December 4, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    I thought that Japan was largely atheist now, partly because of a postwar backlash against religion motivated by the way Shinto was twisted to support the militarists’ agenda.

    One thing I’d be interested to know is which religion(s) are most likely to attract adherents from atheist and/or scientific backgrounds. Of course one would need to correct for biases resulting from ethnicity and from the general distribution of faiths within their country…

  6. 6 Un alien ex le planeta Mars July 4, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Scientias e le religion! LE ARTICULO ME CONFUNDE!!!

    Io credeva (e anque crede) que le question que le Dio existe o non es dificil a respondar.

    Atheismo es mal e credentia cec in dio anque es mal. On debe recerca si on vole haber le responsa a le question le plus grande.


  1. 1 “Religion is the cause of all wars.” « Faatih Trackback on January 12, 2009 at 7:20 pm

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