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Blog

By Luke Nix

Introduction

Have you ever wondered if atheism is compatible with science? Not many have. In today’s culture it is commonly assumed that they are best of buddies. Many people even believe that science has done away with God and provides powerful evidence for the truth of atheism. A couple years ago I posted an article that describes six ways that atheism defeats science as a knowledge discipline, thus anyone who accepts that science can give us knowledge about reality must reject atheism as true. Today I want to discuss the more practical side of science and provide four more ways that science and atheism are incompatible.

4 Ways Atheism Undermines the Scientific Enterprise

Before I start though, I want to make a couple things clear: First, I am referring to atheism as a claim about reality not merely a belief: the affirmative claim “God does not exist in reality.” Second, since I am not merely talking about a belief but a reality (one’s beliefs can be false), I affirm that one can certainly believe that God does not exist in reality and still be quite successful as a scientist and do great work. My claim here is very narrow, and it involves the dually claimed realities that God does not exist and that science is not as chaotic as it is about to be described.

Fatalistic Events

If atheism is true, then no agency exists. This means that our bodies are merely “moist robots” that act and react to stimuli with no free will, choice or intention behind any of the actions and reactions. The implication of that is that no scientist intentionally performs “good” science or “bad” science or really has a choice to perform science at all.

There are no deserved accolades due for “good” science because what was done was merely a determined sequence of actions based upon environmental factors that the scientist had no choice in performing. There also are no reprimands due for “bad” science because what was done was merely a determined sequence of actions based upon environmental factors that the scientist also had no choice in performing.

If atheism is true, fatalism is true, and there is no intentionality. People have no free will, no choice, and are fated to do what they do, and they merely watch everything happening to them and nothing happening by them. “Science” is just a series of events that happen without a choice by anyone behind the events. Logically on the atheistic, fatalistic view of reality scientists deserve no credit or responsibility for anything that they have “accomplished” or “perpetrated”. The blind, unintentional forces of “fate” determined or forced them to do everything. In such a world no one has the ability to do otherwise, thus the idea that they deserve credit or reprimand because they made the “right” choice has no ground in an atheistic world.

Subjective Morality

Speaking of “accomplished” and “perpetrated,” when a society discards any anchor for morality (a society based on atheism), they surrender all justification for calling anything evil or wrong. Scientists may “choose” to report their findings incorrectly due to need to survive in the scientific community or to make the data appear to support a preconceived conclusion. On the atheistic view, there is not anything morally wrong with misrepresenting data because there is no objective “right” or “wrong.”

Likewise, if a scientist “discovers” something completely new that helps people in the course of the research or down the road, their work cannot be seen as morally “good” because “good” does not even exist. The same goes for the scientist who “discovers” (or the engineer who “invents”) something completely new that harms people in the course of the research or down the road. Their work cannot be considered “evil” or “wrong” since neither exist.

Whether scientists incorrectly or correctly report data or their work leads to benefit or harm, they should neither be punished nor rewarded or even condemned or commended for their respective actions because without “good” or “evil”, “right” or “wrong” having a moral value, their work and actions cannot have any moral value either.

If someone decides to punish or reward or not to punish or reward (respectively or irrespectively), they have not acted rightly or wrongly either, since “right” and “wrong” do not exist. Punishing “good” science is just as “right” as rewarding “evil” science, and rewarding “good” science is just as “wrong” as punishing “evil” science.

Interestingly enough because morality does not exist on atheism, justice, which is a concept necessarily dependent upon the existence of morality, cannot be promoted and will never be realized in the sciences (or in any other area of life, but that is another blog post for another time).

If there is no morality, then it is up to the individuals to “choose” (see the section above for the reason for the use of the quotes) what is “right” or “wrong”. One person may “choose” to punish “good” science while another “chooses” to reward it; neither is truly “right” or “wrong”; and neither are themselves worthy of reward or punishment for their recognition and related actions.

No Design, No Engineering

As mentioned above, if atheism is true, then intentionality does not exist. One of the implications of such a view is that the very concept of “design” also does not exist. “Design” requires intentionality. This means that no scientific study is designed, no scientific experiment is designed, no sequence or series of anything in science is designed. If intentionality does not exist, then nothing is designed. But that is not where it ends. If intentionality does not exist, the very concept of design is impossible.

If the very concept of design is impossible, then we have an implication that reaches beyond the discipline of science into the discipline of engineering. The study of nature often results in the reverse-engineering of its features, which then leads to new innovations. But what of such a concept if what is being “studied” is not really designed? We cannot really claim to be “reverse-engineering” anything since “engineering” implies design necessarily, which does not exist. Nothing is being “reversed.” And since intentionality does not exist, it has the same implications for the discipline of engineering, so “engineering” is not actually taking place either.

If we insist that some DNA or other biological features are truly undesigned “junk” then why study it (science), much less, try to imitate it (engineering)? Notice that I asked “why” not “how.” If atheism is true, the answer to “how” is “because scientists and engineers are fated to.” That answer explains “how”  (given fatalism) the actions and reactions that we are fated to call “science” and “engineering” take place if atheism is true. But it does not explain “why” scientists and engineers “should” study and invent or even “how” study and invention are intentionally conducted given the lack of intentionality in a fatalistic reality.

No Progress

Finally, if atheism is true, there is no objective goal or final purpose. Without an objective goal, the direction of science is not objectively established. The necessary implication of this is that multiple, divergent or even contradictory goals can be pursued (fatalistically, of course). Without an objective goal, there is no ultimate purpose in science and no way to accurately judge progress. In order to even claim that science as a knowledge discipline is making progress, we must have some objective goal by which to judge whether scientific discovery is moving towards the goal (progressing) or moving away from the goal (regressing).

Sure, a person can put forth a goal that they like (again, fatalistically), but so can multiple persons. Two persons can put forth two goals that are polar opposite of each other, but there is no concept to distinguish between which one is “progressive” or “regressive”, “good” or “evil.” Let’s also not forget that this is not limited to only one pair of polar opposite goals; numerous polar opposite pairs of goals can be in play simultaneously.

Further complicating the issue is that each goal may have multiple pathways to its accomplishment that are at odds with other pathways. There are no objective ends and there are no objective means. Alignment in purpose and in policy is impossible even in theory because there is no objective purposer if atheism is true.

This results in the necessity of “might makes right” in the sciences. If someone wants their purpose to be pursued, they must exercise their influence and power over those who either disagree or have purposes that redirect resources away from their purpose. Such an exercise is conducted fatalistically (as seen above), and objectively morality does not exist (as seen above). So it follows logically that judgment of such an exercise by a person, no matter how evil or good we are fated to feel that it is, cannot be judged nor resisted on any moral grounds. All reactions are fated, neither right nor wrong, neither good nor evil, neither progressive nor regressive…just things that happen to us, with no more significance than the event of a dust particle just now landing on my keyboard.

Conclusion

If atheism is true, the scientific enterprise is nothing more than a baseless, fatalistic, nihilistic chaos. But no one knows this because they are presupposing (in contradiction to atheism) EVERY thing that a grounded, intentional, and meaningful system requires.

The atheist scientist is borrowing from the theistic worldview at every level in order for their “chosen” profession to have any meaning whatsoever. Atheists often resist this idea and insist that they can intentionally do good, purposeful science without God. Sure, this can be done without believing in God, but it is because God exists that anyone can do so. If it were true that God does not exist, then it necessarily follows that science is chaotic, but the fact that science is not as chaotic as described above provides multiple lines of evidence that atheism is necessarily false (that, necessarily, God exists).

The very chosen profession of the atheistic scientist provides numerous foundational reasons for them to abandon their atheism. Ironically for the atheistic scientist, if the scientific enterprise is as reliable as they insist, then no results from it can be used against the knowledge of God. If God does not exist, then it necessarily follows that the scientific enterprise is an unreliable source of truth. The study of nature (science) at every level, from its foundations to its operations to its results, provides numerous evidences for the existence of God and the truth of Christianity.

Recommended resources related to the topic:

Why Science Needs God by Dr. Frank Turek (DVD and Mp4)

Science Doesn’t Say Anything, Scientists Do by Dr. Frank Turek (DVD, Mp3, and Mp4)

Oh, Why Didn’t I Say That? Does Science Disprove God? by Dr. Frank Turek (DVD and Mp4)

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Luke Nix holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and works as a Desktop Support Manager for a local precious metal exchange company in Oklahoma.

Original blog: https://bit.ly/3MI5yuB 

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