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What has Science got to do with Atheism?

in-science-we-trust

I know I do it too often, but to start I feel the need to quote Tim Minchin, yet again. On the very real divide between faith and science, he has this to say:

"Science adjusts it's beliefs based on what's observed. Faith is the..."

Not only is it true, but it rhymes. Kudos to Tim.

So, because of the very nature of the two quantities - science and faith - I see no problem with asserting that Atheism (or Agnosticism) has nothing but all to do with Science's evidence-based philosophy. Put simply: Atheism (or Agnosticism) is the only scientifically supported 'belief system'*, I feel.

That's not to say, as I hear a few of you cry, that there aren't scientists who are also religious; because there are. I'm also not saying that science is reserved for (or only valid if coming from) the religiously unaffiliated, because that too would be absolute nonsense... Read more of this post

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Comment by Carnun on January 30, 2013 at 3:12pm

True - that's pretty transparent, even before you weigh up the logical possibilities...

Comment by Heather Spoonheim on January 30, 2013 at 3:07pm

I don't need a single logical argument to refuse to believe that you have some magical reward waiting for me after death if only I give you 10% of my net income for life.

Comment by Carnun on January 30, 2013 at 2:35pm

Marianne: Sound interesting. Feel free to start it :)

Heather: That seems reasonable. Atheism is not only defensible through science - there are countless logical arguments you can employ before even turning to Physicists and Biologists for 'proof'.

Take the simple, reasonable impossibility of an entity being perfect while requiring worship. It makes no sense logically, let alone scientifically.

Comment by Heather Spoonheim on January 29, 2013 at 11:01pm

Science has nothing to do with my reasons for being Atheist - but it does provide a wealth of understanding that does not conflict with my belief that there is no magic or supernatural phenomena.

Sometimes it bugs me that theists always seem to demand that I defend science in order to 'prove' my position.  My position isn't the least bit scientific at all - I simply reject bullshit that makes wild, unfounded claims that demand my belief at threat of even more contrived punishment.

Comment by Marianne on January 28, 2013 at 11:21pm

I must admit I am really curious about this idea of religious agnostics;  I guess I understand what it about but it should merit a discussion on its own I think....

Comment by Carnun on January 28, 2013 at 4:25pm

Makes sense to me.

A theist is surely likely to see a conflict between held truths and science, and therefore surely just as likely to reject the science, no?

Comment by Matttammar on January 28, 2013 at 3:10pm

An atheist is more likely to appreciate science than a theist. Countries with a high Pisa rating have a less religious population.

Comment by Carnun on January 28, 2013 at 12:43pm

Doone: Fair point. Someone may identify with Christianity while doubting it's truth claims - belief is a spectrum. And apart from quarrels with the truth claims that many hold relating to their moral goodness (or other's lack thereof), I see no reason to belittle someone doing genuine good.

Marianne: Me too. It has, but your reaction was reasonable :)

Comment by Marianne on January 27, 2013 at 10:10pm

I must admit that I also question a science's evidence-based belief system.  I strongly think that belief is almost like the polar opposite of science.  I think this issue has already been adressed and maybe my reaction might be unnecessary. 

Comment by Doone on January 27, 2013 at 9:47pm

Faith Without Knowledge, Note from the Dish

Gary Gutting defends it:

Knowledge, if it exists, adds a major dimension to religious commitment.  But love and understanding, even without knowledge, are tremendous gifts; and religious knowledge claims are hard to support. We should, then, make room for those who embrace a religion as a source of love and understanding but remain agnostic about the religion’s knowledge claims.  We should, for example, countenance those who are Christians while doubting the literal truth of, say, the Trinity and the Resurrection.  I wager, in fact, that many professed Christians are not at all sure about the truth of these doctrines —and other believers have similar doubts.  They are, quite properly, religious agnostics.

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