“The scientist that tries to refute religious phenomena based on their studies is the same as a religious person who tries to refute science based on their faith, they are both foolish.” – Rabbi Skorka
I’ve decided to begin a series of articles critiquing the arguments of atheism.
I do not intend to prove or disprove God’s existence or even to assert my own beliefs, but through argument show the logical inconsistencies of modern atheistic reasoning. Using the definitions of science, atheism, and the truth I will come to my point: Atheists cannot use science as an authority in their argument against the existence of God, and if they do, they will mar the name of good science.
What is science and what are it’s boundaries?
Science is a method and means to acquiring information about the universe. We use this tool to deepen our understanding of the known world and to assist humanity in it’s journey. According to Scott Lilienfeld et al. theories and information can be classified under three possible categories: authentic science, pseudo-science (erroneous but seemingly scientific information), or metaphysical claims. The authors continue that “it’s essential to distinguish scientific claims from metaphysical claims: assertions about the world that we cannot test” (Lilienfeld 11). They give us examples of metaphysical claims: “assertions about the existence of God, the soul, and the afterlife” (Lilienfeld 11). It repeats shortly after that “testable claims fall within the province of science; untestable claims don’t” (pg. 11). We get a clear picture of what science is, and what science is not.
Everything that cannot be tested, or cannot be falsified, is unconsidered by scientific thought. Areas that are unconsidered by science include love, art, beauty, God, literature, humour, creativity, morality, and a multitude more. A full list would be enormous. For example, you can study how a human brain reacts to something beautiful, but not what beauty is. Science can tell us that animals suffer, but it can’t tell us if using animals in experiments to find a cure for cancer is right or wrong.
What is atheism and what do atheists believe?
Oxford dictionary defines atheism as “disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.” Pretty straight forward, atheists do not believe in God. A list taken from wikipedia of atheists arguments against theism include “a lack of empirical evidence,the problem of evil, the argument from inconsistent revelations, rejection of concepts which cannot be falsified, and the argument from nonbelief”. None of these arguments contain evidence to show God’s non-existence, but are all philisophical arguments pointing to the unlikelihood of God’s existence. There is no experiment an atheist can point to, and never will be, that has shown that God doesn’t exist or cannot exist.
Atheism and Science are separate entities.
To mix theses two separate systems is a logical error. Science, as I stated above, cannot comment on metaphysical claims, for example, the existence of God. Atheism makes statements on the existence of God. Therefore, atheism and science are related to incompatible material. If you wouldn’t trust a mathematician, with no other training, to operate on your brain, then don’t trust atheism to tell you scientific fact. If you agree with the arguments of atheism, then that is your choice, but don’t confuse those arguments for what they are not. Science is the study of observable or testable phenomenon, atheism is a belief system which argues that God does not exist.
The truth, no matter how unlikely, is still the truth. Science knows this best.
Atheists have seen their blunder and the language they use has changed. All recent comments I’ve heard from atheists using science as their backing all use the same argument type: God’s existence is highly unlikely. Imagine trying to teach someone in the 13th century string theory or the modern understanding of quantum physics. That person would say you had lost your mind and they would put you in an institution. Quantum mechanics is the most strange and bizarre reality you could find at the base of our existence. Would the man from the 13th century find your explanation likely? Of course he wouldn’t, it’s so completely outlandish. Yet, it is commonly accepted by modern scientists. To have rejected the notion of quantum mechanics due to it’s unlikelihood would have been a scientific blunder.
My point is this, we cannot reject something completely because we deem that it is unlikely. Such thinking is not scientific and it is not proper skepticism either. To be truly skeptical is to question all theories, but to remain open to all unproven claims as well. Atheism’s jump to the non-existence of God is a leap of faith. In order to make such a conclusion requires the believer to cross past the boundaries of fact and to make an educated guess, at best.
To conclude my argument I wish to affirm that if atheism continues to use the name of science to propagate its owns beliefs, the name of science will be tarnished in the process. Science is a beautiful and necessary authority in our society and global community. I support it whole heartedly, but I also recognize it for what it is, and what it is not. I also promote free thought, choice and critical thinking, but if these skills are to reach their full potential, we must use them in conjunction with logical reasoning. Stretching the authority of science to comment on God’s existence is beyond it’s actual capacity. It is a disordered use of an otherwise magnificent tool.
In the words of Rabbi Skorka,
“When science reaches it’s limits, man turns to the spiritual, to the existential experiences of centuries past. Science and religion are fields that work in parallel and should be talking to eachother.”
- Rabbi Skorka from “On Heaven and Earth.”