Saturday, June 27, 2009

God and science don't mix because...

A recent article titled "God and Science Don't Mix: A scientist can be a believer. But professionally, at least, he can't act like one."

The author started by qouting J.B.S. Haldane:
"My practice as a scientist is atheistic. That is to say, when I set up an experiment I assume that no god, angel or devil is going to interfere with its course; and this assumption has been justified by such success as I have achieved in my professional career. I should therefore be intellectually dishonest if I were not also atheistic in the affairs of the world."-J.B.S. Haldane "Fact and Faith" (1934).
The issue here is not merely the existence of the supernatural, but the supernatural's interference to an experiment. The former is different from the latter. The former is doubting the existent of the supernatural, while the latter necessitates it, because it doesn't make sense to say a non-existant able to interfere.

Haldane and the author of the article haphazardly pushed 'atheism' and 'theism' into categories which are barely recognizable.

The fact is that being atheistic simply means not having any belief in the existence of God, and being theistic is having a belief in the existence of God. Whether can God's existence interferes in scientific experiment is a later stage question.

Scientists who believe in God's existence do not necessary need to assume divine interference in their experiment. To argue that it does is making a logical jump.

The question of methods in scientific experiment is not on a priori assumption whether supernatural interference occur or not. Alister McGrath has warned of this danger of reductionism. By referring to Roy Bhaskar's stratification reality, McGrath noted that each stratum of reality has to be studied by methods and assumption derived from that stratum itself.

Each scientific experiment requires a set of method and assumption which can only be deduced from the subject matter. To force supernatural interference into a subject a priori, and then accuse such assumption as irrelevant is like hitting a strawman that one has built.

Hence God and science don't mix not because the belief in God will disrupts scientific work, but because scientific work, like each stratum of reality, need to be studied on its own accord within the regularity and orderness that God has set up for it.

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