Topics

No Conflict Between Science and Religion?

The New York Times

reports on a recent conference the paper described as a “free-for-all on science and religion.” The forum was held at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California. Evidently, the event was an opportunity to declare open warfare on belief in God.

Take a look at these statements from the event, known as “Beyond Belief: Science, Religion, Reason and Survival.”

“The world needs to wake up from its long nightmare of religious belief.” [Steven Weinberg, Nobel laureate in physics]

“Anything that we scientists can do to weaken the hold of religion should be done and may in the end be our greatest contribution to civilization.” [also Weinberg]

“We should let the success of the religious formula guide us. Let’s teach our children from a very young age about the story of the universe and its incredible richness and beauty. It is already so much more glorious and awesome — and even comforting — than anything offered by any scripture or God concept I know.” [Carolyn Porco, Space Science Institute, Boulder, CO]

“I am utterly fed up with the respect that we — all of us, including the secular among us — are brainwashed into bestowing on religion . . . . Children are systematically taught that there is a higher kind of knowledge which comes from faith, which comes from revelation, which comes from scripture, which comes from tradition, and that it is the equal if not the superior of knowledge that comes from real evidence.” [Richard Dawkins, Oxford University]

Reporter George Johnson explains that Dr. Weinberg also described religion as “a crazy old aunt.”

As he reports:

“She tells lies, and she stirs up all sorts of mischief and she’s getting on, and she may not have that much life left in her, but she was beautiful once,” [Weinberg] lamented. “When she’s gone, we may miss her.”

Dr. Dawkins wasn’t buying it. “I won’t miss her at all,” he said. “Not a scrap. Not a smidgen.”

We are often scolded with the argument that it is Christianity that has declared war on secular science — not science that has declared war on Christianity. If nothing else, these statements show that argument to be profoundly false. The New Scientist described the meeting as an evangelistic rally for disbelief in God:

It had all the fervour of a revivalist meeting. True, there were no hallelujahs, gospel songs or swooning, but there was plenty of preaching, mostly to the converted, and much spontaneous applause for exhortations to follow the path of righteousness. And right there at the forefront of everyone’s thoughts was God.

Right there at the forefront of everyone’s thoughts was God? Yes — inevitably so — even at a forum held to declare his non-existence.