Friday, March 22, 2019

Physicist says Atheism is Unscientific

SciAm reports an interview:
Marcelo Gleiser, a 60-year-old Brazil-born theoretical physicist at Dartmouth College and prolific science popularizer, has won this year’s Templeton Prize. ...

Why are you against atheism?

I honestly think atheism is inconsistent with the scientific method. What I mean by that is, what is atheism? It’s a statement, a categorical statement that expresses belief in nonbelief. “I don’t believe even though I have no evidence for or against, simply I don’t believe.” Period. It’s a declaration. But in science we don’t really do declarations. We say, “Okay, you can have a hypothesis, you have to have some evidence against or for that.” And so an agnostic would say, look, I have no evidence for God or any kind of god (What god, first of all? The Maori gods, or the Jewish or Christian or Muslim God? Which god is that?) But on the other hand, an agnostic would acknowledge no right to make a final statement about something he or she doesn’t know about.
Really? We don't do declarations in science?

Atheism is just a denial of God. Most atheists would probably say that they see some evidence for God, some evidence against it, and on balance they do not believe in God. Maybe it is a rational decision, and maybe not.

An agnostic is just someone who thinks that God is unknowable.

Of course not everyone follows the definitions, and atheism becomes identified with the view of prominent atheists who profess their atheism. The funny thing is that those guys talk about their leftist political beliefs much than their evidence against God. So now atheism is widely understood as a leftist political movement.

Also in SciAm, astrophysicist Ethan Siegel and a microbiologist write:
The ongoing measles outbreaks across the United States and Europe prove definitively that our personal choices affect everybody around us. Although you have a right to your own body, your choice to willfully be sick ends where another’s right to be healthy begins. For that reason, people who “opt out” of vaccines should be opted out of American society. ...

No public or private school, workplace or other institution should allow a non-exempt, unvaccinated person through their doors. A basic concern for the health and safety of others is the price it costs to participate. ...

People falsely believe that diseases like measles have “gone away,” but they have not. They’re always there, waiting to strike as soon as our collective guard goes down.
Actually, measles has been eradicated from the USA. The only cases come in from foreigners.

If Americans are all vaccinated, then measles is not a threat.

So it makes more sense for foreigners to be opted out of American society. No public or private school, workplace or other institution should allow a foreigner through their doors.
Unfortunately, there’s no vaccine that can inoculate someone against a counterfactual, unscientific mindset.

There are, however, vaccines that can prevent dozens of harmful diseases. Those who refuse, and recklessly endanger others, should be put in quarantine.
The unscientific mindset blames children, when the measles vector is foreigners. Maybe we should also quarantine those who meet with foreigners. That is the result of Siegel's logic.

1 comment:

  1. Not knowing what or who or if a god/God is an act of reason and a process of trying to discover truth. Believing in.. Or not.. in god/God/s is an act of faith or ideological conviction.

    Being that we humans ourselves love to create countless worlds of fiction (art, books, movies, virtual reality) for our own amusement and edification, what would you call the author of any such work? They have power over their creations that may or may not follow guidelines of some sort or other resembling our own world.

    Now, extrapolate some other species that is much much older, and far more knowledgeable than humanity. Being that we believe the universe to be at least around 14 billion years old, what are the odds of someone coming long before us? If such a species had anything like humanity's creative capacity, what would they create? Artificial worlds? Planets? Maybe even stars... or galaxies? Possibly even fanciful ideas of self replicating life that were being tried out for research or idle curiosity among various environments?

    What would you call such design on such a large scale?
    Interior decorating?

    One man’s “magic” is another man’s engineering. “Supernatural” is a null word.
    —Robert A. Heinlein