Science is a way of knowing about the natural world. It is limited to explaining the natural world through natural causes. Science can say nothing about the supernatural. Whether God exists or not is a question about which science is neutral.
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Name one thing that we once had a scientific explanation for, which we now have a better religious or supernatural explanation for.
Gregory A. Clark Brett Wells "Whether God exists or not is a question about which science is neutral."
Although this a common claim, it's largely false. Science can reject the God hypothesis just as it can reject any other claimed effects that impact the observable world. Not counting special pleading, of course.
ē Clark, G.A. ďAtheist Stenger recognized religionís absurditiesĒ. Op-Ed. The Salt Lake Tribune, September 12, 2014 (on-line); September 14 (print).
"Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings," Stenger famously remarked. His epigram concisely captures two major problems with religion: It is both ridiculous and repugnant.
From a scientific perspective, Stenger forcefully argued that the God hypothesis is just another hypothesis about the natural universe. And itís wrong.
Stenger rightly challenged the all-too-frequent accommodationist mantra that "science can say nothing about the supernatural" and that "science is neutral" about "whether God exists or not" ó as even the National Academy of Sciences has claimed. Unless God has no measureable impact on the universe, the two explanations ó the natural and the supernatural ó are inherently incompatible. And a god with no measurable impact is indistinguishable from no god at all.
Science never provides 100 percent certainty. But as Stenger noted, "Absence of evidence is evidence of absence" if the evidence should be present, but is not. We correctly reject the hypothesis of medicinal effectiveness if a drug repeatedly and reproducibly doesnít work. We correctly reject the Godzilla hypothesis, without any pseudo-philosophical waffling. So, too, we can reject the God hypothesis.
Moderate Christians oft cry that their own sectarian beliefs are unfairly burlesqued. After all, they too regard the flood as myth and accept evolution ó so long as Godís involved. But the fundamental problem with religion isnít its misinterpretation by fundamentalists. The fundamental problem is religion itself. "God-guided" evolution is fundamentally as ridiculous as God-guided lightning bolts to strike the wicked; Christís resurrection, as silly as a Grade-B zombie flick.
When the fundamentals of a belief system are wrong, the belief system itself is fundamentally wrong.
As Stenger highlighted, religion exalts excuses and sanctifies self-delusion. It must, for that is the only way religion can survive. Parsed against reality, religion is too absurd for even theists to believe. But never too absurd for apologetics....
Stenger understood the deeply pernicious effects that religious thinking exerts on progress. Religion depends on faith; science on empirical evidence. The two approaches are mutually exclusive. Religion trains people to be satisfied with the empty explanation that God moves in mysterious ways. Science attempts to unravel the mystery. In religion, seeking knowledge is the original sin. In science, itís the explicit goal.
Over and over, the God hypothesis has failed. It provides no useful explanations regarding the natural world. Reduced to special pleadings for a God of the gaps, inherently it cannot. The supernatural can explain anything, and hence explains nothing...
Op-ed: Atheist Stenger recognized religion's absurdities
Godís not dead. But Victor Stenger ó renowned...