Richard Dawkins doesn't think the two are compatible.
From: reasoner <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Thu, March 28,[masked]:41:15 PM
Subject: Re: [Provocateurs] Fw: Science & God Belief
On 3/28/2013 2:29 PM, Fred wrote:
Are these compatible? Nah, everyone knows that if you think science has any worth, you can't believe in God. Right?
Same as everyone knows that Jesus' people don't believe in sarcasm.
Not only is the concept absurd; try to think of just one person who believes in both. Just name me one.
...Francis Crick, and Fred Herreen, and many more. Of course, if your business is belief you can believe in anything, including the myth that science and faith are compatible. Usually, it's a matter of believing what someone else tells you. Obviously, nothing is off limits. Believers have believed that unarmed young boys should be marched into mine fields to launch an attack. Oddly, Czar Nicholas II--a proclaimed ruler backed by God--seemed to believe something quite similar when unarmed Russian soldiers were marched into German machine gun fire in WWI. People have believed that wine is literally transformed into blood, when drunk in the name of Jesus, as authorized by a priest--and still do. (It's best not to let the priest talk you into swallowing just anything, even if the wine is not harmful.) People have believed that there was a space ship behind
Haley's comet, and that by eating poison cooked into Jello, that they would be transported to the space ship and hauled off to a better world. It has been a common belief, at times, that human sacrifice was a good and wise action. Perhaps there are more benign beliefs than these and other harmful examples of belief. If there were a god, we might presume that he would know the score. Otherwise, it is a matter of just another bizarre belief if I were to make such a statement based on my own preferences.
A scientist, as a Catholic priest might, could be the perpetrator of very bad actions. Dr. Mengele might have had some virtues as a medical doctor doing science, but we remember none of these, if they do exist, because they have been eclipsed by the bad deeds that he did because he believed that Jews, etc, were an inferior race that should be exterminated. Science is not responsible for belief. Science is a
method, and is responsible for reliable knowledge, if it is done properly. Waiting for more information before a final judgement is a big part of science. Belief is not much of a method, because it has no practical component--if you subtract the methods of transfer of information, such as reading or listening, which involve physical phenomena. Belief also frequently involves emotional components that interfere with objective judgements--including fear of death and fear of being ostracized, and confidence in emotional experiences that are probably only emotional experiences. Even among Nobel Prize winners, belief is nothing to brag about. It's their science that gets them attention, and even that will probably be improved upon--if stupid beliefs don't ruin our chances at more great strides in science.
Science and faith are not compatible. Faith erodes the advantage of scientific knowledge.
They coexist within the same people, but people--including both scientists and believers--are flawed in many ways and have many internal contradictions. I think we can confidently say that the most ardent believers in our society are the ones most likely to deny scientific facts that would help us survive the future--if we acted with those facts in mind. dk
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