This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone – scientists don’t believe in God. Why not? Because what makes them scientists is also what makes them skeptical of unsupported claims of fact. And religion makes claims that it doesn’t have evidence for.
Let’s take the example of Heaven. No one living has seen it, and even if they did, you’d have to consider the bias of the source (refer to my last blog). Such a claim will invariably come from a religious observer, which gives them reason to lie and gives you good reason to doubt them. Heaven is untestable – it’s considered unreachable and unobservable. It has no measurable properties, and it doesn’t leave measurable evidence anywhere around where it is or was… that is to say, you can’t measure it by its “wake” as you can with other traveling objects in space.
So with no proof of Heaven, you’d think that Christians would be skeptical of this. After all, they claim to believe in scientific methods, and they also claim that their faith is not blind. So does your average Christian believe Heaven is just a hypothesis? Of course not. Heaven’s existence is written about in a book (a book that claims it’s true!) and that is all the evidence they need. It should be obvious that this is not real evidence. Even if we were to say that we can’t find a fallacy in the bible (and we’ve found plenty), that still wouldn’t prove that everything in it is true. The encyclopedia aspires to be true and has no motive for being false, but it is still possible for the encyclopedia to have errors. We trust in such a book, but we would never call it irrefutable – and in the past when I’ve used Wikipedia for source material, I’ve had its contents refuted to me by Christians. Nor would we say that something is true “because it’s in the encyclopedia”… even the encyclopedia has to have good evidence in support of its claims (unless it has a disclaimer such as “some people believe that…”).
Most of the time, if you argue science with a Christian, you’ll find yourself defending evolution. This is because Christians don’t have a problem with any scientific idea that doesn’t directly refute the bible – they’re not anti-science. But this is simply a wrong tack, because even if they could disprove evolution, that still wouldn’t prove God’s existence. They make claims such as “complexity requires a designer”, and they say it as if that phrase has ever been proven. It hasn’t. They may even say “design requires a designer”, as if the appearance of design is the same as design. And even if, after all their work, they could prove that the universe was created by a God, that still wouldn’t prove that this God is personal, answers prayer, or is good rather than evil. Even harder is the proof of a specific God… if a god created the universe, why not Allah? That will never be proven by any scientific method, but will fall back on faith – blind faith.
It’s frustrating to debate with a Christian, because they don’t think like a scientist. We (scientists) believe that a proposition is false until proven true. With the religious, a proposition is true until proven false. This doesn’t logically work. Bertrand Russell was a mathematician/philosopher who claimed a teapot orbited the Earth. The teapot was undetectable by radar, was invisible, and gave off no tell-tale signatures like heat. He made this claim and challenged it to be disproved… and of course, it can’t be. But this was an example to show that anybody could claim anything, and it’s up to the person making the claim to provide evidence. As Bertrand Russell also said, “We may all have come into existence five minutes ago, provided with ready-made memories, with holes in our socks and hair that needed cutting.” But just because it’s possible doesn’t mean it’s reasonable.
Atheists and scientists alike are skeptics. Before we believe what you have to say, you should be ready to back it up with evidence. It doesn’t matter how strongly you believe it or how many people believe it, because the human brain is easily deceived (as skeptics love to demonstrate). Faith is what the con man sells, and we’re not buying.