Science is not against religion

While viewing some old videos posted on the thesciencenetwork website, about a discussion program, held at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in November 2006, I came across an interesting quote about science and religion.

Entitled Beyond Belief: Science, Reason, Religion & Survival, the program featured several well known scientists, skeptics, atheists and apologists alike. The quote I’m referring to was made by  prominent physicist and Nobel laureate, Steven Weinberg:

Science does not make it impossible to believe in God. It just makes it possible to NOT believe in God.

The connotations from this simple quote are really thought-provoking:

  • Science does not advocate that one may not believe in a god
  • Science in not concerned with proving or disproving the existence of a god
  • Science provides one with the tools (through reasoning, logic and critical thinking among others) to deduce through lack of evidence, that a god may not exist
  • Science compels one to arrive at the above conclusion, but does not compel one to believe through any form of coercion
  • There is no imperative to choose one or the other

One other thing that stood out for me in Professor Weinberg’s presentation was the reference he made to influence in science: science does not have any authority figure or prophet, rather science has experts and heroes.

7 thoughts on “Science is not against religion

  1. Very true. Sadly the pseudo-science put forth by the more militant Atheists – anti-Theists really – preaches another doctrine. They claim that Science provides one with the tools (through reasoning, logic and critical thinking among others) to deduce through lack of evidence, that a god does not exist.

    This “scientific heresy” as it were as caused a rift between religion and science.

    • Hi jonolan,

      The “rift” between science and religion is unfortunate, but is not caused by science itself. It came about through human perception, bolstered by feelings of insecurity and vulnerability.

      “Militant” atheists may be guilty of a lot of things, but I don’t suspect “pseudo-science” is one of them. And yes, even I, have at times claimed that a god does not exist because of a lack of scientific evidence.

      • I say “pseudo-science” because true science – as you asserted in the post – requires a reservation of judgment in the case of insufficient evidence for against a theory.

        From the viewpoint of true science it is still an unknown whether there are Gods or not; we do not have enough evidence to prove or disprove either theory.

        • Hi jonolan,

          The reason I query your remark, is because it has been my experience that psuedo-science has been the domain of believers (for example, intelligent design). I have not come across non-believers using pseudo-science to assert their position.

          However, if you have come across non-believers (the militant type) who have resorted to a form of pseudo-science, then I agree that it would be a particularly dispicable act.

        • In the sense that some militant Atheists substitute certainty for uncertainty in the matter of the scientific approach to the existence of God, yes I’ve run into them.

          LOL Of course pseudo-science is the bailiwick of “true believers,” whether they follow a religion or the cult of Atheism.

          I suppose the Agnostics are the only ones adhering to basic scientific principles. 😉

  2. Ah yes, the agnostics – the perennial fence sitters!!!

    Cult of atheism? Has it become that bad? Good thing I favor secular humanism now.

    • Lenny,

      Amongst the more vocal and combative Atheists – I prefer to call this group Anti-Theists – it has approached the level of cultism in many ways. It seems they’re even developing their own version of Fundamentalists. LOL

      The above is a reasoned response. It was not exactly what I meant in my comment above though. To be bluntly honest, I consider Atheism in general to be a cult in the sense that it is a religion of sorts.

      From my perspective Atheism takes just as much faith in the unproved absence of Divinity as any branch of Theism takes in the unproved existence of Divinity.

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