Thursday, September 18, 2014

A conversation with a theist I am saving here.

"What do you think of Newton?  From what I've heard, he did believe in a God, and he was quite good at science.  I guess simplified is this, do you think that it is impossible in this day and age to accept a God and accept science?"

You ask good questions. I'll answer right now with this message but usually I prefer the thread for this stuff (in case you want to continue it). I check that thread frequently for new comments.

Newton was extremely brilliant. However he had one unfortunate problem. It was about problems he was having with orbits. I'm betting he could have solved those problems but he gave up and invoked his magical being to explain why those orbits work. Today even religious scientists know it's totally wrong to give up. They know it's totally wrong to invoke supernatural magic to explain the natural world.

Those religious scientists are rare, especially in biology, and especially at the level of best scientists in the world. I once saw a video, a conversation between two biologists. They agreed they had met only one biologist in their lives who was a theist, it was Francis Collins.

Do I think it's impossible to be a theist and accept science? Obviously it's possible because these people exist. Do I think it's impossible to be a theist and be a scientist? Yes they exist but they have a serious problem. Scientists are suppose to demand strong evidence for every idea. And they are constantly trying to disprove scientific ideas, including their own ideas.

But if that scientist is religious, he or she has to stop demanding evidence because for anything that requires faith there is no evidence. From my point of view this is totally wrong, especially for a scientist. They shouldn't be making exceptions for anything including religious ideas. Just like they try to disprove their own scientific ideas, they should be trying to disprove their religious ideas, but they're not doing that.

One more thing. I have this idea. 21st century science has pretty much solved every problem. There will always be research opportunities in every branch of science but virtually all the basic stuff has been figured out. What remains is to test those ideas, and if they're wrong to try something else. But none of these scientists think a supernatural being had anything to do with it. Religious scientists believe in a god who never had anything to do. Sure there's always some hiding place for a god of the gaps, but what's the point? Eventually god will be chased out of that hiding place, if not now then maybe a thousand years from now. Scientific progress never ends, but the god idea just stays where it is.

See you at "Today's Hot Topics". Many thanks for making me think.

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