I ran across this WSJ article the other day
and would enjoy discussing it here if
anyone's up for it.
Here's the link, and a few excerpts:
God and Science Don't Mix
A scientist can be a believer. But professionally, at least, he can't act like one.
By LAWRENCE M. KRAUSS
My practice as a scientist is atheistic. That is to say, when I set up an experiment I assume that no god, angel or devil is going to interfere with its course; and this assumption has been justified by such success as I have achieved in my professional career. I should therefore be intellectually dishonest if I were not also atheistic in the affairs of the world.
-- J.B.S. Haldane
"Fact and Faith" (1934)
"Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in several exciting panel discussions at the World Science Festival in New York City. But the most dramatic encounter took place at the panel strangely titled "Science, Faith and Religion." I had been conscripted to join the panel after telling one of the organizers that I saw no reason to have it. After all, there was no panel on science and astrology, or science and witchcraft. So why one on science and religion?
I ended up being one of two panelists labeled "atheists." The other was philosopher Colin McGinn. On the other side of the debate were two devoutly Catholic scientists, biologist Kenneth Miller and Vatican astronomer Guy Consolmagno. Mr. McGinn began by commenting that it was eminently rational to suppose that Santa Claus doesn't exist even if one cannot definitively prove that he doesn't. Likewise, he argued, we can apply the same logic to the supposed existence of God. The moderator of the session, Bill Blakemore, a reporter with some religious inclination, surprised me by bursting out in response, "Then I guess you are a rational atheist."
Our host was presumably responding to all those so-called fundamentalist atheists who have recently borne the brunt of intense attacks following the success of books like Sam Harris's "The End of Faith," and Richard Dawkins's "The God Delusion."
Science is only truly consistent with an atheistic worldview with regards to the claimed miracles of the gods of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Moreover, the true believers in each of these faiths are atheists regarding the specific sacred tenets of all other faiths. Christianity rejects the proposition that the Quran contains the infallible words of the creator of the universe. Muslims and Jews reject the divinity of Jesus."
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."
In other words, we're all pretty much atheists toward other people's Gods, right?
So why does athiesim get such a bad rap?
p.s. For my part, I do believe in a "higher power" (as they say in the 12 step programs)and for now, I'll just leave it at that. BF