Magi Mike's Blog

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The War Between Science and Religion

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It is a shame how some apparently learned men will show themselves to be little more than idiots savants for the sake of God. One such man is Nigel Cutland, now professor of mathematics at the university of York. Cutland is a Christian but teaches abstruse mathematics at about the standard Newton and Liebnitz reached 300 years ago, but made trendy with a smidgeon of added philosophy. As a Christian, he feels obliged to defend God. Though God is a far better mathematician than Cutland, he feels the need to defend Him against some non-mathematical critics, presumably because he is not sure God can stand up for Himself.

He says that Richard Dawkins “buys into the mistake that science and religion are at war”, and he does not want God to believe any such thing. As proof, he tells us “there are many scientists, some very eminent, on both sides of the theist-atheist divide”. Well, indeed there are, and there are some scientists who smoke cigarettes and have sex with other people’s wives, but being eminent scientists does not justify their bad habits. And, in any case, it remains true that an overwhelming proportion of the topmost scientists have always rejected God. As the degree of eminence declines, the proportion of believers increases, but never gets to the levels of the general population. Scientists are always less religious than the masses. The exceptions of certain journeymen just prove the rule.

So, Cutland has convinced himself that there is no war between science and religion, even though science demands evidence, and religion demands faith—belief without evidence. Nothing could be more opposite, though Cutland has not noticed it, despite his professorship. As further evidence, he cites John Lennox (God’s Undertaker: Has Science Buried God?), a book he greatly admires, no doubt because Lennox is a fellow Christian mathematician, a pastor of Green College, Oxford, and doubtless his chum. Lennox does not think science can decide between two alternative “world views”. One is naturalism-atheism—there is nothing but nature and the material world. The other is supernaturalism-theism—there is a God. Even so, Lennox has decided that God is necessary because there are plenty of gaps remaining for Him to exclusively fill. God is the Intelligent Designer!

It is a view many scientists are happy to accept, mainly because they are unwilling to debate with unreason, and consider that the winning entry will eventually be clear without them having to intervene. It is a naïve view, but like other normal people, most scientists are naïve outside of their own skills. Scientists rightly think that they have a method for showing what is true and what is not by painstaking testing. Whatever fails the tests is ruthlessly abandoned, like the notion of space being filled with a fluid called ether. Progressively science is proving religion wrong. Germs not demons cause disease, and Jesus could only have been acting the magician to drive out demons when none were there, or needed to be. Science has shown it can explain the world, and find answers to problems without the need for a God. God has left no traces in the world, and shows no sign of interfering in it. The evidence is the same as that He does not exist. The hypothesis of God should be abandoned. God is superfluous.

Though, science has being replacing the rickety ladder of religion with a solid staircase to greater knowledge, religion in extremis will destroy everything to stop itself from being destroyed. It has happened before. Look at the Cathar genocide, the Inquisition, the witch hunts, the countless religious wars of unbridled malignity. Fundamentalism has been attacking science for a hundred years, and judging by history, it is never safe to think that religion will go quietly. Look at the ferocity of Moslem fundamentalists. They feel under double attack, by science and by the western lifestyle. Then listen to Christian fundamentalists. Religious fanatics would rather destroy the world than admit they are insane.

In his researches, Cutland has discovered that “scientists on both sides believe that science supports their own faith”. He declares atheism to be a faith because it is impossible to disprove God. It is just as hard to disprove the Wizard of Oz, Santa Claus, the Loch Ness Monster or ET. As they are all imaginary, there is nothing about them to prove. You do not need to prove Santa Claus to a child—they accept him as the source of their Christmas presents. But once the seed of doubt is planted, you have nothing to counter it because Santa is as imaginary as Tinker Bell and Tom’s Midnight Garden. Just how does God differ in practice from these other entities? If I am grown up enough to realize that Santa Claus is imaginary, do I have some peculiar faith? The Mighty Calculus thinks so, but it is patently absurd, and simply demonstrates how Christianity destroys reason.

Cutland thinks his hero, Lennox, has shown that science is consistent with theism because it explains “the rational intelligibility of the universe, without which science cannot begin”. You have then to believe that either God thinks much as we do, and admittedly that is what Christians do think, or, as a vastly superior being, he thinks in a vastly superior way, in which case there is no reason why we should find anything He thinks as intelligible, and a more likely case for a God! One cannot expect an idiot savant to think subtly outside of his intellectual cocoon.

Cutland admits that “the unthinking blind faith and fanaticism” of some believers is deplorable, but adding that “it is unscientific to generalize from some to all”. I hadn’t noticed that Christians were so discerning in their long history. The Christian leaders of the US and UK not long ago felt no need to distinguish innocent Moslems from terrorists. Far from it, all were treated as if they were terrorists, and many are still not getting access to justice. Generalizing about Christians seems a proportionate thing to do in view of their own chosen behaviour, well reported as it is in history for those who want to read it. No one is obliged to be a Christian, any more than anyone is obliged to be a Nazi. Those who choose to be Christian do it with the full knowledge of its appalling record as an institution, a record that individual duty can hardly scratch. It is safer for non-Christians to assume that any Christian would willingly kill them to save their soul, since that is what they have willingly done in the past.

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Written by mikemagee

7 July, 2009 at 9:31 pm

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