I'd been warned. A friend cautioned me that if we went ahead and posted our MIT Survey on Science, Religion and Origins, I'd get inundated with hate-mail from religious fundamentalists who believe our universe to be less than 10,000 years old. We posted it anyway, and the vitriolic responses poured in as predicted. But to my amazement, most of them didn't come from religious people, but from angry atheists! I found this particularly remarkable since I'm not religious myself. I have three criticisms of these angry atheists:One of those angry atheists, leftist-atheist-evolutionist Jerry Coyne, writes:
1) They help religious fundamentalists: ...
2) They could use more modesty:
If I've learned anything as a physicist, it's how little we know with certainty. In terms of the ultimate nature of reality, we scientists are ontologically ignorant. For example, many respected physicists believe in the so-called Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics, according to which a fundamentally random process called "wavefunction collapse" occurs whenever you observe something. This interpretation has been criticized both for being anthropocentric (quantum godfather Niels Bohr famously argued that there's no reality without observation) and for being vague (there's no equation specifying when the purported collapse is supposed to happen, and there's arguably no experimental evidence for it).
Let's compare the ontological views of Niels Bohr to those of a moderate and tolerant religious person. At least one of them is incorrect, since Bohr was an atheist. Perhaps neither is correct. But who's to say that the former is clearly superior to the latter, which should be ridiculed and taunted? Personally, I'd bet good money against the Copenhagen Interpretation, but it would be absurd if I couldn't be friends with those believing its ontology and unite with them in the quest to make our planet a better place.
3) They should practice what they preach: ...
I’m curious to hear Richard’s answer to Krauss’s question, “Richard, what’s more important in some sense: if you had a choice — to explain science or destroy religion?”Really? I would have guessed that nearly all science professors would rather explain science than destroy religion, especially since many religions are supportive of science.
That would be a tough one for me. How do you think Dawkins answered? And how would you have answered if you possessed Dawkins’s proficiency at explaining evolution as well as his enormous public profile as an atheist?
Tegmark is correct that most Christians accept evolution and most of the rest of modern science. Yes there are some ontological differences, but you can also find those within physicists discussing quantum mechanics.
That being said, Tegmark slanders the Copenhagen Interpretation. The interpretation is an explanation of how we perceive the world, and how we can update our knowledge of atomic phenomena. I would not call the collapse a fundamentally random process. But I don't want to nitpick here. His point is that physicist disagree about quantum ontology, and that is certainly correct.