Friday, June 26, 2009

Are Science and God incompatible?

From the Wall Street Journal Opinion Page Entitled "God and Science Don't Mix:

“J.B.S. Haldane, an evolutionary biologist and a founder of population genetics, understood that science is by necessity an atheistic discipline. As Haldane so aptly described it, one cannot proceed with the process of scientific discovery if one assumes a ‘god, angel, or devil’ will interfere with one’s experiments. God is, of necessity, irrelevant in science.

The rest of the article is here

Another favorite quote:

"Faced with the remarkable success of science to explain the workings of the physical world, many, indeed probably most, scientists understandably react as Haldane did. Namely, they extrapolate the atheism of science to a more general atheism."

This to me misses the point. I don't think anybody argues that science hasn't led us to discover how things work, but it doesn't answer the more important question of why things are. Science is fascinating and exciting, partly because the more we dig, the more complex we find that things are.(I'll never forget making my first exploding plastic 2 liter coke bottle filled with Drain-O and tinfoil...but I digress) It wasn't that many years ago that nobody knew what DNA was. New discoveries reinforce the knowledge that our world is a complex and intricate place that somehow all fits and works together.

That knowledge should, I would think, drive a scientist to ask - how could all this be just an accident? Is there no "why" behind the "how?" How could something so complex be the result of chance? What scientists can't recreate in a lab under controlled conditions, came together randomly in outer space somewhere?

Now, what this has to do with Science, I have no idea:

"Finally, it is worth pointing out that these issues are not purely academic. The current crisis in Iran has laid bare the striking inconsistency between a world built on reason and a world built on religious dogma. Perhaps the most important contribution an honest assessment of the incompatibility between science and religious doctrine can provide is to make it starkly clear that in human affairs -- as well as in the rest of the physical world -- reason is the better guide."

Ok, besides the obvious response that religious dogma and God don't necessarily have anything in common and it certainly doesn't make him not exist - To me, if a person is obsessed with living their life based on reason, they would look for reason in all things. They would think things out to their conclusions and back to their beginnings. And it seems reasonable (dare I use the word?) that they would consistently have that nagging question in the back of their minds - How could this all be an accident? It's just not rational. It's anti-reason, if you ask me (and nobody did). It's the kind of reason that ignores obvious questions and facts. There is no answer to the question "why?" in atheism, and I would think that would bug a scientist most of all.

p.s. If you want to drive an Atheist crazy, in the middle of his argument get a far off look in your eyes and start singing, "We are the Reason." (Actually, now that I think about it, that would drive ME crazy)

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