Friday, November 7, 2008

Science: The Atheist Agenda

Another point…
There’s a perspective among Creationists I’ve noticed, and it’s one they believe in and implicitly and explicitly promote. While evolution is their poster child for the explicit, the implicit is that science=atheism. The radicals in both camps have presented us with a false dichotomy; that it’s either science or religion, and not only never the twain shall meet, but they can’t even coexist.
Firstly, let me dispose of the myth of the “Atheist Agenda.” I’ve reviewed all the manuals I’ve been sent, reread all the literature and the handbook, and while the plans for aborting all unborn children and Federal funding for pornography are pretty detailed, I couldn’t find any encompassing agenda. Being only 2% of the world’s population, we all fit nicely into the Fortress of Godless Science for our monthly meetings. I brought up the lack of a published manifesto of our agenda. While we all agreed that the destruction of religion would best be brought about by voting Democrat, we still can’t agree whether to outfit the White House in Pottery Barn or Akia, nor whether when marriage is destroyed forever, should we force people to have one same sex partner or multiple ones. Oh, wait, I’m confusing that with the Homosexual Agenda. Either way, it’s the same every month: grand plans, but bicker, bicker, bicker and nothing gets done.

I couldn’t resist the satire. All the same, the point is that there is no Atheist Agenda.
Science is irreligious, sure. It doesn’t favor one religion over another by not dealing with the supernatural. Instead of revelation, science’s aim is to explain things by examination. You’re welcome to look at science through any lens you want, but no matter if you’re Buddhist, Muslim, Christian or atheist, the results will be the same for everyone. No matter who created the world, this is the world we ended up in, and that’s the world science deals with, not the next one. Naturalistic? Yes. Materialistic? In the strictest sense, yes. Science reveals we live in a world of atoms. Fine, now go to the church of your choice. Because of this non-religious bent, science indeed allows atheism. Bacteria and galaxies aren’t much interested in your religious, or lack of religious views. Facts are facts, and they’re pretty impartial I’ve found. But one thing science does not do is “promote” atheism.

Yes, there are out spoken atheists who are scientists. Remember, it’s just their day job. Decrying science because of them is akin to decrying Burger King because of an atheist fry cook. There are atheist bankers, bakers, race car drivers and (horrors!) schoolteachers. I highly doubt there’d be much call to abandon finance, bread, NASCAR and education because of them.
Yes, I realize that evolution doesn’t jive with the strictly literal interpretation of Genesis. This doesn’t mean science says there is no God and/or that the Bible is junk. What I’d like to point out to Creationists is that the overwhelming majority of scientists in the U.S. are not only religious, but the majority of them are Christian, and the overwhelming majority of them have looked at the evidence for evolution (it’s massive and corroborative across dozens of disciplines,) and not only agree with the interpretation of the evidence, but also haven’t batted an eye spiritually.

You aren’t by any chance implying that they’re somehow LESS Christian than you are, are you? Or that despite being endowed with the same spiritual protection, any Christian with higher education is somehow more susceptible to the sneaky wiles of Satan, are you?

Are you?

The study of science doesn’t make you hate God or become an atheist, any more than the study of other cultures makes you hate America, or the study of other religions converts you to those religions. Does this happen sometimes? Sure, but rarely. Do you want to stop vaccinating children because a miniscule number of children have reactions to the antigens and die? If this seems a harsh and unfair metaphor, my point is that vaccination saves millions of children’s lives (shame, shame, shame on those who advocate non-immunization of children. Not only is there not a shred of support for any of the chemicals in vaccines triggering the onset of a genetic disease after over a decade of research, but you seem to have forgotten that the diseases we vaccinate for MAIM and KILL children.) Science does an incredible amount of good (actually, people to good things with science: science is a method, not a system of morals and ethics and codes of conduct in any way comparable to religion,) so why worry about the rare spiritual crisis? People lose their way for a whole host of reasons, but not because they look at bacteria under a microscope. Incidentally, most people find their way back, so the issue approaches moot.

If you believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, you’re likely already comfortable with contradiction, so it surprises me that you’d hold back trust in other Christians supporting evolutionary theory, or astrophysics, or geology, or any other science. A reminder, if you fill a room with American scientists and throw a dart, you’re going to nail a Christian in the eye nearly 90% of the time. I would think at the very least you’d give them a hearing about what they say God’s doing with His universe.

1 comment:

Gretchen said...

I love reading your writing. It is truly so well-crafted.