Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions

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The truth about science

David BerlinskiDid you imagine that science was a disinterested pursuit of the truth?
Well, you were wrong.

― David Berlinski,
The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions

Science’s inadequate view of reality

David BerlinskiIf moral statements are about something, then the universe is not quite as science suggests it is, since physical theories, having said nothing about God, say nothing about right or wrong, good or bad. To admit this would force philosophers to confront the possibility that the physical sciences offer a grossly inadequate view of reality. And since philosophers very much wish to think of themselves as scientists, this would offer them an unattractive choice between changing their allegiances or accepting their irrelevance.

― David Berlinski,
The Devil’s Delusion:
Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions

It was not the Vatican

David Berlinski 2Just who has imposed on the suffering human race poison gas, barbed wire, high explosives, experiments in eugenics, the formula for zyklon b, heavy artillery, pseudo-scientific justifications for mass murder, cluster bombs, attack submarines, napalm, intercontinental missiles, military space platforms and nuclear weapons? If memory serves it was not the Vatican.

― David Berlinski
The Devil’s Delusion:
Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions

What Hitler, Stalin, and Mao did not believe

David Berlinski 2What Hitler did not believe and what Stalin did not believe and what Mao did not believe and what the SS did not believe and what the Gestapo did not believe and what the NKVD did not believe and what the commissars, functionaries, swaggering executioners, Nazi doctors, Communist Party theoreticians, intellectuals, Brown Shirts, Black Shirts, gauleiters, and a thousand party hacks did not believe was that God was watching what they were doing. And as far as we can tell, very few of those carrying out the horrors of the twentieth century worried overmuch that God was watching what they were doing either. That is, after all, the meaning of a secular society.

― David Berlinski
The Devil’s Delusion:
Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions

A frivolous exercise in intellectual contempt

David BerlinskiHas anyone provided proof of God’s inexistence? Not even close. Has quantum cosmology explained the emergence of the universe or why it is here? Not even close. Have our sciences explained why our universe seems to be fine-tuned to allow for the existence of life? Not even close. Are physicists and biologists willing to believe in anything so long as it is not religious thought? Close enough. Has rationalism and moral thought provided us with an understanding of what is good, what is right, and what is moral? Not close enough. Has secularism in the terrible 20th century been a force for good? Not even close, to being close. Is there a narrow and oppressive orthodoxy in the sciences? Close enough. Does anything in the sciences or their philosophy justify the claim that religious belief is irrational? Not even in the ball park. Is scientific atheism a frivolous exercise in intellectual contempt? Dead on.

― David Berlinski
The Devil’s Delusion:
Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions