Does Science Disprove Theism?
There appears to be a bit of a pissing match, as of late, between Jerry Coyne over at Why Evolution is True and Massimo Pigliucci at Rationally Speaking on whether or not scientists that accept untested or untestable ideas in their personal lives are being inconsistent in their philosophies. I like both these guys, they’re both very smart and I respect both their opinions, though I will say that I don’t really get what Massimo’s point is.
The preponderance of data gained through Methodological naturalism, the basis for science and more evidence base philosophy, does undoubtedly lead to metaphysical naturalism, and that’s about all there is to it (Top 7 Ways Science Christianity is Debunked by Science). That, of course, doesn’t disprove theism 100%, but scientifically nothing ever is really proven to absolute certainly. Theories can only be proven to reasonable certainty. We just have to be secure in this, but still be secure in our conclusions. So, arguing about whether “science proves atheism” or “science proves atheism” just seems a bit ridiculous. Not all possibilities, after all, are serious possibilities.
While we are not able to prove with certainty that a god or gods does or does not exist, we are currently sitting with absolutely no good reason to think that one does. This is what I (and Jerry Coyne, apparently) are calling a disproof of the god hypothesis. Just look at the data we have and see if a god jumps out of the bushes. If one doesn’t, why hold on to primitive superstitions?
The concept of “god” (upper or lower case, take your pick) is, after all, untestable. And, since theists, don’t even have any empirical evidence to call up, they really don’t have a leg to stand on. At least not a physical leg (rim shot). They are living on an island in a sea of metaphysical bullshit, pretending that they live in some romantic past in which the world was still a total mystery. They are not even really able to study their own claims rationally, because that would be science, and science has, as of yet, disproved religion. Religion is worse than wrong, it’s nonsense. Science may not be able to disprove a god concept to total certainty, but the biggest problem to the god concept isn’t science, it’s the believers themselves. Religious debates my be entertaining, but real comedy is pitting two theists against each other (“my divine revelation is right” … “no, MY divine revelation is right”). And, if methodological naturalism is not the method for verification of theistic claims, then what is? The party with the strongest feelings? Intuition? What makes one religion’s holy book or supernatural claims of revelation more right that another religion’s? Special pleading? Bigotry of other cultures?
But, don’t take my ravings for it, here’s the abstract for Babara Forrest’s article on the issue:
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“Abstract: In response to the charge that methodological naturalism in science logically requires the a priori adoption of a naturalistic metaphysics, I examine the question whether methodological naturalism entails philosophical (ontological or metaphysical) naturalism. I conclude that the relationship between methodological and philosophical naturalism, while not one of logical entailment, is the only reasonable metaphysical conclusion given (1) the demonstrated success of methodological naturalism, combined with (2) the massive amount of knowledge gained by it, (3) the lack of a method or epistemology for knowing the supernatural, and (4) the subsequent lack of evidence for the supernatural. The above factors together provide solid grounding for philosophical naturalism, while super-naturalism remains little more than a logical possibility.”