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God and science in harmony?

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  • Mark Gosling
    Don, Brian, Steve and group, At the risk of being accused of flogging a dead horse I present below further data which confirms the fact that most scientists
    Message 1 of 4 , Sep 30, 2001
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      Don, Brian, Steve and group,

      At the risk of being accused of flogging a dead horse I present below
      further data which confirms the fact that most scientists are either
      atheists or have no need for religious beliefs. I do this to disabuse people
      of the notion that from the perspective of the ruling paradigm within
      science, religion and science can co-exist without conflict. Whether I
      would wish or believe otherwise this is the picture that emerges from the
      actual data. Christian evolutionary creationists and theistic evolutionists
      will need to get their heads out of the sand and recognise their real
      "enemy prowls around like a roaring lion" and stop shooting their fellow
      brethren.

      Let me summarise the findings of Larson and Witham: (full report below)

      1. The question of religious belief among US scientists has been debated
      since early in the century. Our latest survey finds that, among the top
      natural scientists, disbelief is greater than ever - almost total.

      2.As we compiled our findings, the NAS issued a booklet encouraging the
      teaching of evolution in public schools, an ongoing source of friction
      between the scientific community and some conservative Christians in the
      United States. The booklet assures readers, "Whether God exists or not is a
      question about which science is neutral" NAS president Bruce Alberts said:
      "There are many very outstanding members of this academy who are very
      religious people, who believe in evolution, many of them biologists." Our
      survey suggests otherwise.

      3.Higher level of disbelief and doubt among "greater" scientists [is
      attributed] to their "superior knowledge, understanding, and experience"

      4.Oxford University scientist Peter Atkins commented on our 1996 survey,
      "You clearly can be a scientist and have religious beliefs. But I don't
      think you can be a real scientist in the deepest sense of the word because
      they are such alien categories of knowledge."


      Leading scientists still reject God
      Nature, Vol. 394, No. 6691, p. 313 (1998) .

      The question of religious belief among US scientists has been debated since
      early in the century. Our latest survey finds that, among the top natural
      scientists, disbelief is greater than ever - almost total.

      Research on this topic began with the eminent US psychologist James H. Leuba
      and his landmark survey of 1914. He found that 58% of 1,000 randomly
      selected US scientists expressed disbelief or doubt in the existence of God,
      and that this figure rose to near 70% among the 400 "greater" scientists
      within his sample [1]. Leuba repeated his survey in somewhat different form
      20 years later, and found that these percentages had increased to 67 and 85,
      respectively [2].

      In 1996, we repeated Leuba's 1914 survey and reported our results in Nature
      [3]. We found little change from 1914 for American scientists generally,
      with 60.7% expressing disbelief or doubt. This year, we closely imitated the
      second phase of Leuba's 1914 survey to gauge belief among "greater"
      scientists, and find the rate of belief lower than ever - a mere 7% of
      respondents.

      Leuba attributed the higher level of disbelief and doubt among "greater"
      scientists to their "superior knowledge, understanding, and experience" [3].
      Similarly, Oxford University scientist Peter Atkins commented on our 1996
      survey, "You clearly can be a scientist and have religious beliefs. But I
      don't think you can be a real scientist in the deepest sense of the word
      because they are such alien categories of knowledge." [4] Such comments led
      us to repeat the second phase of Leuba's study for an up-to-date comparison
      of the religious beliefs of "greater" and "lesser" scientists.

      Our chosen group of "greater" scientists were members of the National
      Academy of Sciences (NAS). Our survey found near universal rejection of the
      transcendent by NAS natural scientists. Disbelief in God and immortality
      among NAS biological scientists was 65.2% and 69.0%, respectively, and among
      NAS physical scientists it was 79.0% and 76.3%. Most of the rest were
      agnostics on both issues, with few believers. We found the highest
      percentage of belief among NAS mathematicians (14.3% in God, 15.0% in
      immortality). Biological scientists had the lowest rate of belief (5.5% in
      God, 7.1% in immortality), with physicists and astronomers slightly higher
      (7.5% in God, 7.5% in immortality). Overall comparison figures for the 1914,
      1933 and 1998 surveys appear in Table 1.

      Table 1 Comparison of survey answers among "greater" scientists

      Belief in personal God 1914 1933 1998

      Personal belief 27.7 15 7.0
      Personal disbelief 52.7 68 72.2
      Doubt or agnosticism 20.9 17 20.8

      Belief in human immortality 1914 1933 1998

      Personal belief 35.2 18 7.9
      Personal disbelief 25.4 53 76.7
      Doubt or agnosticism 43.7 29 23.3
      Figures are percentages.

      Repeating Leuba's methods presented challenges. For his general surveys, he
      randomly polled scientists listed in the standard reference work, American
      Men of Science (AMS). We used the current edition. In Leuba's day, AMS
      editors designated the "great scientists" among their entries, and Leuba
      used these to identify his "greater" scientists [1,2]. The AMS no longer
      makes these designations, so we chose as our "greater" scientists members of
      the NAS, a status that once assured designation as "great scientists" in the
      early AMS. Our method surely generated a more elite sample than Leuba's
      method, which (if the quoted comments by Leuba and Atkins are correct) may
      explain the extremely low level of belief among our respondents.
      For the 1914 survey, Leuba mailed his brief questionnaire to a random sample
      of 400 AMS "great scientists". It asked about the respondent's belief in "a
      God in intellectual and affective communication with humankind" and in
      "personal immortality". Respondents had the options of affirming belief,
      disbelief or agnosticism on each question [1]. Our survey contained
      precisely the same questions and also asked for anonymous responses.

      Leuba sent the 1914 survey to 400 "biological and physical scientists", with
      the latter group including mathematicians as well as physicists and
      astronomers [1]. Because of the relatively small size of NAS membership, we
      sent our survey to all 517 NAS members in those core disciplines. Leuba
      obtained a return rate of about 70% in 1914 and more than 75% in 1933
      whereas our returns stood at about 60% for the 1996 survey and slightly over
      50% from NAS members [1,2].

      As we compiled our findings, the NAS issued a booklet encouraging the
      teaching of evolution in public schools, an ongoing source of friction
      between the scientific community and some conservative Christians in the
      United States. The booklet assures readers, "Whether God exists or not is a
      question about which science is neutral" [5]. NAS president Bruce Alberts
      said: "There are many very outstanding members of this academy who are very
      religious people, people who believe in evolution, many of them biologists."
      Our survey suggests otherwise.

      Edward J. Larson
      Department of History, University of Georgia,
      Athens, Georgia 30602-6012, USA
      e-mail:edlarson@...

      Larry Witham
      3816 Lansdale Court, Burtonsville,
      Maryland 20866, USA


      References1. Leuba, J. H. The Belief in God and Immortality: A
      Psychological, Anthropological and Statistical Study (Sherman, French & Co.,
      Boston, 1916). 2. Leuba, J. H. Harper's Magazine 169, 291-300 (1934). 3.
      Larson, E. J. & Witham, L. Nature 386, 435-436 (1997). 4. Highfield, R. The
      Daily Telegraph 3 April, p. 4 (1997). 5. National Academy of Sciences
      Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science (Natl Acad. Press,
      Washington DC, 1998).
      http://www.freethought-web.org/ctrl/news/file002.html


      Further Larson and Witham state:

      "Beit-Hallahmi (1988) found that among Nobel Prize laureates in the
      sciences, as well as those in literature, there was a remarkable degree of
      irreligiosity, as compared to the populations they came from." The reference
      is to: Beit-Hallahmi, B. (1988). The religiosity and religious affiliation
      of Nobel prize winners. Unpublished data.

      A commentary on Larson andWitham's findings:

      Has Science Found God?
      -by Jeffery Jay Lowder (www.infidels.org)
      Contrary to a recent report in Newsweek, the answer is "no." Religion's
      approach to determining truth is contradictory to the scientific method; the
      vast majority of practicing scientists do not believe in a god; and recent
      scientific discoveries have not revealed any evidence for the existence of a
      god. If current scientific knowledge has any theological implications at
      all, it is that our universe is probably not the result of a personal
      Creator.

      The vast majority of scientists are atheists or agnostics. According to a
      letter by EJ Larson and L Witham, just published in Nature 394:313, a recent
      survey of members of the National Academy of Sciences showed that 72% are
      outright atheists, 21% are agnostic and only 7% admit to belief in a
      personal God. Figures from an almost identical survey in 1914 and 1933 show
      a steady decline in God-belief among scientists.

      Why is the percentage of scientists who believe in God so much lower than
      the general U.S. population? One possible explanation is that scientists
      understand (much better than the scientifically illiterate general
      population of the U.S.) that science offers no evidence for the existence of
      God. Although these points do not constitute a strict disproof of the
      existence of a personal God, the nonexistence of a personal God is the best
      explanation for these points. They support a naturalistic worldview.

      . Theists have tried to give scientific evidence for the existence of God.
      Their arguments may not be successful, but they clearly want others to think
      that their theism is supported by science. This in itself is a sign that
      skepticism is slowly but surely taking the place of faith. It wasn't that
      long ago when the vast majority of religious believers simply ignored
      science, or condemned it outright. But nowadays, most theists are trying to
      make their religious claims appear scientifically sound. It would seem that
      science (and thus its methods) have gained the respect of a large proportion
      of the populace, such that science can no longer be ignored by those who don
      't like its implications. As a result, Christians dare not condemn science
      outright; they must instead make it appear that science really agreed with
      them all along. Thus witness the onslaught of books attempting to integrate
      science and religion: Hugh Ross's Fingerprint of God, Michael Behe's Darwin'
      s Black Box, J.P. Moreland's (ed.) Creation Hypothesis, Patrick Glynn's God:
      The Evidence, and so on. All of these are attempts to make it appear that
      science is on the Christians' side.

      So guess what? The skeptics are winning. While it's still too early to toast
      our victory, we can take comfort in the fact that we've managed to dictate
      the terms of engagement.



      Just for interest...


      Nobody hears the 20 million
      Playboy, February 1998

      By James A. Haught

      Summary:
      This "cognitive elite" perceives that there's no reliable evidence of a
      spirit realm. Among university faculties, research lab staffs and the like,
      religious believers have become oddities. Further, I'll bet the 20 million
      encompass much of America's educated professional class and other
      intelligent folks. They can see the obvious bounty of science, and the
      embarrassing failures of magical beliefs.


      America is more religious than any other advanced nation.
      A recent Yankelovich poll found that 90 percent of Americans believe in God,
      compared to just 48 percent of Britons; and 76 percent think hell is a real
      place, compared to just 16 percent of Germans.
      More than 100 million Americans attend church each Sunday, a vastly higher
      ratio than in Europe. No U.S. politician who openly questioned religion
      could be elected....

      Well, I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, but I'd like to make a pitch
      for the 20 million [unbelievers]. We deserve a chance to toss our beliefs
      into the national stew. Free speech ought to include the right to raise
      doubts.
      To begin with, I'm sure that the 20 million include many of America's
      brightest and best: scholars, scientists, reformers, writers, historians,
      philosophers, and other outstanding people. This "cognitive elite" perceives
      that there's no reliable evidence of a spirit realm. Among university
      faculties, research lab staffs and the like, religious believers have become
      oddities.
      Further, I'll bet the 20 million encompass much of America's educated
      professional class and other intelligent folks. They can see the obvious
      bounty of science, and the embarrassing failures of magical beliefs. If
      their children get pneumonia, they trust penicillin more than prayer. They
      can see that it's up to people to solve human problems, because appeals to
      heaven produce zilch.
      "Many religious beliefs decline as education level rises," pollster George
      Gallup reported in The People's Religion: American Faith in the 1990s. "



      Larson and Witham found in their 1996 survey of beliefs among "lesser"
      scientists there was a somewhat higher incidence of belief in God than
      among the "greater" scientists (still a minority). That report can be read
      in:

      Edward Larson and Larry Witham, 'Scientists still keeping the faith', Nature
      386(6624):435-436, 1997


      To be continued...

      Mark Gosling
    • averylinden@hotmail.com
      ... below ... disabuse people ... within ... I would have to agree that within scientific methodology and experimentation, religion is out of place. However,
      Message 2 of 4 , Oct 1, 2001
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        --- In CreationEvolutionDesign@y..., "Mark Gosling" <markg@p...>
        wrote:
        > Don, Brian, Steve and group,
        >
        > At the risk of being accused of flogging a dead horse I present
        below
        > further data which confirms the fact that most scientists are either
        > atheists or have no need for religious beliefs. I do this to
        disabuse people
        > of the notion that from the perspective of the ruling paradigm
        within
        > science, religion and science can co-exist without conflict.

        I would have to agree that within scientific methodology and
        experimentation, religion is out of place. However, I would likewise
        point out that in the areas of religious belief, personal conviction
        and individual convictions, there is very little scientific
        methodology or naturalistic philosophy to be found. The fact that
        numerous (ok, the vast majority) of scientists are skeptics,
        agnostics or athiests should come as little surprise. What is
        amazing it the amount of time spent waxing poetic against such
        tendencies.

        Whether I
        > would wish or believe otherwise this is the picture that emerges
        from the
        > actual data. Christian evolutionary creationists and theistic
        evolutionists
        > will need to get their heads out of the sand and recognise their
        real
        > "enemy prowls around like a roaring lion" and stop shooting their
        fellow
        > brethren.
        >

        Just curious, but what are you refering to here? Are athiests
        the "prowling enemy"? Why? If you have personal beliefs which don't
        agree with someone else, so what? According to most christians, I
        will be going to Hell because of my convictions and beliefs.
        Regardless of how honest, ethical, decent, and compassionate I am,
        the idea that simmers in my brain that I have personally not seen
        evidence or phenomenon supporting belief in god (any and all of them)
        condemns me. And do you know what? I don't really care one way or
        the other what you think. I am content and satisfied, and totally
        unthreatened by others personal convictions. What I do feel
        threatened by is the actions that people take based on their
        convictions.

        > Let me summarise the findings of Larson and Witham: (full report
        below)
        >
        > 1. The question of religious belief among US scientists has been
        debated
        > since early in the century. Our latest survey finds that, among the
        top
        > natural scientists, disbelief is greater than ever - almost total.
        >

        So what? There is no "litmus test" of beliefs to become a
        scientist. In fact, the only "research institutes" which require
        such things are religious-based. I wonder who gets more constructive
        and useful information and findings from their research?

        > 2.As we compiled our findings, the NAS issued a booklet encouraging
        the
        > teaching of evolution in public schools, an ongoing source of
        friction
        > between the scientific community and some conservative Christians
        in the
        > United States. The booklet assures readers, "Whether God exists or
        not is a
        > question about which science is neutral" NAS president Bruce
        Alberts said:
        > "There are many very outstanding members of this academy who are
        very
        > religious people, who believe in evolution, many of them
        biologists." Our
        > survey suggests otherwise.

        Their survey suggests no such thing. Alberts said "many very
        outstanding members . . . who are very religious". There is nothing
        wrong with that. According to the survey, 7% believe in a personal
        god. There is no indication that I've seen about WHICH god, but that
        really isn't the question, is it? Why doesn't the author admit such
        people exist, and can reconcile their beliefs and convictions
        adequately? And if you include those who are agnostic, or possibly
        deistic, the figure jumps to over a quarter of the respondants. Not
        exactly "small change", eh?

        >
        > 3.Higher level of disbelief and doubt among "greater" scientists [is
        > attributed] to their "superior knowledge, understanding, and
        experience"
        >
        > 4.Oxford University scientist Peter Atkins commented on our 1996
        survey,
        > "You clearly can be a scientist and have religious beliefs. But I
        don't
        > think you can be a real scientist in the deepest sense of the word
        because
        > they are such alien categories of knowledge."
        >

        Yes, they are "alien" categories of knowledge. The fact that there
        are many who reconcile those is disproof in itself of this claim.

        >
        > Leading scientists still reject God
        > Nature, Vol. 394, No. 6691, p. 313 (1998) .
        >
        > The question of religious belief among US scientists has been
        debated since
        > early in the century. Our latest survey finds that, among the top
        natural
        > scientists, disbelief is greater than ever - almost total.
        >
        > Research on this topic began with the eminent US psychologist James
        H. Leuba
        > and his landmark survey of 1914. He found that 58% of 1,000 randomly
        > selected US scientists expressed disbelief or doubt in the
        existence of God,
        > and that this figure rose to near 70% among the 400 "greater"
        scientists
        > within his sample [1]. Leuba repeated his survey in somewhat
        different form
        > 20 years later, and found that these percentages had increased to
        67 and 85,
        > respectively [2].
        >
        > In 1996, we repeated Leuba's 1914 survey and reported our results
        in Nature
        > [3]. We found little change from 1914 for American scientists
        generally,
        > with 60.7% expressing disbelief or doubt. This year, we closely
        imitated the
        > second phase of Leuba's 1914 survey to gauge belief among "greater"
        > scientists, and find the rate of belief lower than ever - a mere 7%
        of
        > respondents.
        >
        > Leuba attributed the higher level of disbelief and doubt
        among "greater"
        > scientists to their "superior knowledge, understanding, and
        experience" [3].
        > Similarly, Oxford University scientist Peter Atkins commented on
        our 1996
        > survey, "You clearly can be a scientist and have religious beliefs.
        But I
        > don't think you can be a real scientist in the deepest sense of the
        word
        > because they are such alien categories of knowledge." [4] Such
        comments led
        > us to repeat the second phase of Leuba's study for an up-to-date
        comparison
        > of the religious beliefs of "greater" and "lesser" scientists.
        >
        > Our chosen group of "greater" scientists were members of the
        National
        > Academy of Sciences (NAS). Our survey found near universal
        rejection of the
        > transcendent by NAS natural scientists. Disbelief in God and
        immortality
        > among NAS biological scientists was 65.2% and 69.0%, respectively,
        and among
        > NAS physical scientists it was 79.0% and 76.3%. Most of the rest
        were
        > agnostics on both issues, with few believers. We found the highest
        > percentage of belief among NAS mathematicians (14.3% in God, 15.0%
        in
        > immortality). Biological scientists had the lowest rate of belief
        (5.5% in
        > God, 7.1% in immortality), with physicists and astronomers slightly
        higher
        > (7.5% in God, 7.5% in immortality). Overall comparison figures for
        the 1914,
        > 1933 and 1998 surveys appear in Table 1.
        >
        > Table 1 Comparison of survey answers among "greater" scientists
        >
        > Belief in personal God 1914 1933 1998
        >
        > Personal belief 27.7 15 7.0
        > Personal disbelief 52.7 68 72.2
        > Doubt or agnosticism 20.9 17 20.8
        >
        > Belief in human immortality 1914 1933 1998
        >
        > Personal belief 35.2 18 7.9
        > Personal disbelief 25.4 53 76.7
        > Doubt or agnosticism 43.7 29 23.3
        > Figures are percentages.
        >
        > Repeating Leuba's methods presented challenges. For his general
        surveys, he
        > randomly polled scientists listed in the standard reference work,
        American
        > Men of Science (AMS). We used the current edition. In Leuba's day,
        AMS
        > editors designated the "great scientists" among their entries, and
        Leuba
        > used these to identify his "greater" scientists [1,2]. The AMS no
        longer
        > makes these designations, so we chose as our "greater" scientists
        members of
        > the NAS, a status that once assured designation as "great
        scientists" in the
        > early AMS. Our method surely generated a more elite sample than
        Leuba's
        > method, which (if the quoted comments by Leuba and Atkins are
        correct) may
        > explain the extremely low level of belief among our respondents.
        > For the 1914 survey, Leuba mailed his brief questionnaire to a
        random sample
        > of 400 AMS "great scientists". It asked about the respondent's
        belief in "a
        > God in intellectual and affective communication with humankind" and
        in
        > "personal immortality". Respondents had the options of affirming
        belief,
        > disbelief or agnosticism on each question [1]. Our survey contained
        > precisely the same questions and also asked for anonymous responses.
        >
        > Leuba sent the 1914 survey to 400 "biological and physical
        scientists", with
        > the latter group including mathematicians as well as physicists and
        > astronomers [1]. Because of the relatively small size of NAS
        membership, we
        > sent our survey to all 517 NAS members in those core disciplines.
        Leuba
        > obtained a return rate of about 70% in 1914 and more than 75% in
        1933
        > whereas our returns stood at about 60% for the 1996 survey and
        slightly over
        > 50% from NAS members [1,2].
        >
        > As we compiled our findings, the NAS issued a booklet encouraging
        the
        > teaching of evolution in public schools, an ongoing source of
        friction
        > between the scientific community and some conservative Christians
        in the
        > United States. The booklet assures readers, "Whether God exists or
        not is a
        > question about which science is neutral" [5]. NAS president Bruce
        Alberts
        > said: "There are many very outstanding members of this academy who
        are very
        > religious people, people who believe in evolution, many of them
        biologists."
        > Our survey suggests otherwise.
        >
        > Edward J. Larson
        > Department of History, University of Georgia,
        > Athens, Georgia 30602-6012, USA
        > e-mail:edlarson@u...
        >
        > Larry Witham
        > 3816 Lansdale Court, Burtonsville,
        > Maryland 20866, USA
        >
        >
        > References1. Leuba, J. H. The Belief in God and Immortality: A
        > Psychological, Anthropological and Statistical Study (Sherman,
        French & Co.,
        > Boston, 1916). 2. Leuba, J. H. Harper's Magazine 169, 291-300
        (1934). 3.
        > Larson, E. J. & Witham, L. Nature 386, 435-436 (1997). 4.
        Highfield, R. The
        > Daily Telegraph 3 April, p. 4 (1997). 5. National Academy of
        Sciences
        > Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science (Natl Acad.
        Press,
        > Washington DC, 1998).
        > http://www.freethought-web.org/ctrl/news/file002.html
        >
        >
        > Further Larson and Witham state:
        >
        > "Beit-Hallahmi (1988) found that among Nobel Prize laureates in the
        > sciences, as well as those in literature, there was a remarkable
        degree of
        > irreligiosity, as compared to the populations they came from." The
        reference
        > is to: Beit-Hallahmi, B. (1988). The religiosity and religious
        affiliation
        > of Nobel prize winners. Unpublished data.
        >

        Interestingly, it appears that writers are also afflicted with the
        scourge of atheism. Or, at least the Nobel winners in literature.
        Fascinating that no one mentioned this point...


        Thomas Covenant
      • Mark Gosling
        Thomas Covenant, Usually your posts are quite lucid, TC, but this time you ve lost me. TC wrote: According to most christians, I will be going to Hell
        Message 3 of 4 , Oct 1, 2001
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          Thomas Covenant,
          Usually your posts are quite lucid, TC, but this time you've lost me.

          TC wrote:

          "According to most christians, I will be going to Hell because of my
          convictions and beliefs.
          Regardless of how honest, ethical, decent, and compassionate I am,
          the idea that simmers in my brain that I have personally not seen
          evidence or phenomenon supporting belief in god (any and all of them)
          condemns me."

          MGG:
          Obviously you and "most christians" you meet, have not the faintest idea of
          what the New Testament and Christianity teaches. No one "goes to Hell
          because of [his] convictions and beliefs... regardless of how honest,
          ethical, decent and compassionate [he] is". The clear teaching of scripture
          is that faith ( your "convictions and beliefs" ) is inextricably linked to
          your works ( your honesty, ethics, decency and compassion). Any "faith"
          without "works" is dead and useless; thus the true indicator of "saving
          faith" is the presence of the aforementioned attributes of honesty, decency,
          compassion etc. You could read the letter of James or some of the ethical
          passges from Jesus in the gospels for a clear exposition of this.

          If this caricature of Christian belief wasn't so appallingly and tragically
          misinformed it would be hilarious. And if I was to misrepresent some aspect
          of evolutionary theory or science in this way you would jump right down my
          throat and have my guts for garters.

          Just because "some" or "most" people say something doesn't make it right.


          TC:
          "And do you know what? I don't really care one way or the other what you
          think. "

          MGG:
          Well gee, the feeling's mutual

          TC:
          "I am content and satisfied, and totally unthreatened by others personal
          convictions"

          MGG:
          Really? You could have fooled me but I'll let it go.

          TC:
          "What I do feel threatened by is the actions that people take based on their
          convictions."

          What?! Are you afraid I might find out who you really are and where you live
          and come around and harass you or something. Please, get real and stop
          insulting me. You know if people of goodwill did not "act on their
          convictions" the world would be a much darker and more evil place than it
          is. Acting upon convictions is what all the great and good reformers in
          history have done. That people have acted evilly upon wrong convictions is
          the unfortunate price we pay for living in what I would call "a fallen
          world", a world where the exercise of free moral choice can also produce
          great evil and suffering.

          And I'm still scratching my head over the points you're trying to make about
          Larson and Witham's data.

          Mark Gosling


          From: averylinden@h...
          Date: Tue Oct 2, 2001 8:12 am
          Subject: Re: God and science in harmony?


          --- In CreationEvolutionDesign@y..., "Mark Gosling" <markg@p...>
          wrote:
          > Don, Brian, Steve and group,
          >
          > At the risk of being accused of flogging a dead horse I present
          below
          > further data which confirms the fact that most scientists are either
          > atheists or have no need for religious beliefs. I do this to
          disabuse people
          > of the notion that from the perspective of the ruling paradigm
          within
          > science, religion and science can co-exist without conflict.

          I would have to agree that within scientific methodology and
          experimentation, religion is out of place. However, I would likewise
          point out that in the areas of religious belief, personal conviction
          and individual convictions, there is very little scientific
          methodology or naturalistic philosophy to be found. The fact that
          numerous (ok, the vast majority) of scientists are skeptics,
          agnostics or athiests should come as little surprise. What is
          amazing it the amount of time spent waxing poetic against such
          tendencies.

          Whether I
          > would wish or believe otherwise this is the picture that emerges
          from the
          > actual data. Christian evolutionary creationists and theistic
          evolutionists
          > will need to get their heads out of the sand and recognise their
          real
          > "enemy prowls around like a roaring lion" and stop shooting their
          fellow
          > brethren.
          >

          Just curious, but what are you refering to here? Are athiests
          the "prowling enemy"? Why? If you have personal beliefs which don't
          agree with someone else, so what? According to most christians, I
          will be going to Hell because of my convictions and beliefs.
          Regardless of how honest, ethical, decent, and compassionate I am,
          the idea that simmers in my brain that I have personally not seen
          evidence or phenomenon supporting belief in god (any and all of them)
          condemns me. And do you know what? I don't really care one way or
          the other what you think. I am content and satisfied, and totally
          unthreatened by others personal convictions. What I do feel
          threatened by is the actions that people take based on their
          convictions.

          > Let me summarise the findings of Larson and Witham: (full report
          below)
          >
          > 1. The question of religious belief among US scientists has been
          debated
          > since early in the century. Our latest survey finds that, among the
          top
          > natural scientists, disbelief is greater than ever - almost total.
          >

          So what? There is no "litmus test" of beliefs to become a
          scientist. In fact, the only "research institutes" which require
          such things are religious-based. I wonder who gets more constructive
          and useful information and findings from their research?

          > 2.As we compiled our findings, the NAS issued a booklet encouraging
          the
          > teaching of evolution in public schools, an ongoing source of
          friction
          > between the scientific community and some conservative Christians
          in the
          > United States. The booklet assures readers, "Whether God exists or
          not is a
          > question about which science is neutral" NAS president Bruce
          Alberts said:
          > "There are many very outstanding members of this academy who are
          very
          > religious people, who believe in evolution, many of them
          biologists." Our
          > survey suggests otherwise.

          Their survey suggests no such thing. Alberts said "many very
          outstanding members . . . who are very religious". There is nothing
          wrong with that. According to the survey, 7% believe in a personal
          god. There is no indication that I've seen about WHICH god, but that
          really isn't the question, is it? Why doesn't the author admit such
          people exist, and can reconcile their beliefs and convictions
          adequately? And if you include those who are agnostic, or possibly
          deistic, the figure jumps to over a quarter of the respondants. Not
          exactly "small change", eh?

          >
          > 3.Higher level of disbelief and doubt among "greater" scientists [is
          > attributed] to their "superior knowledge, understanding, and
          experience"
          >
          > 4.Oxford University scientist Peter Atkins commented on our 1996
          survey,
          > "You clearly can be a scientist and have religious beliefs. But I
          don't
          > think you can be a real scientist in the deepest sense of the word
          because
          > they are such alien categories of knowledge."
          >

          Yes, they are "alien" categories of knowledge. The fact that there
          are many who reconcile those is disproof in itself of this claim.

          Overall comparison figures for the 1914, 1933 and 1998 surveys appear in
          Table 1.
          >
          > Table 1 Comparison of survey answers among "greater" scientists
          >
          > Belief in personal God 1914 1933 1998
          >
          > Personal belief 27.7 15 7.0
          > Personal disbelief 52.7 68 72.2
          > Doubt or agnosticism 20.9 17 20.8
          >
          > Belief in human immortality 1914 1933 1998
          >
          > Personal belief 35.2 18 7.9
          > Personal disbelief 25.4 53 76.7
          > Doubt or agnosticism 43.7 29 23.3
          > Figures are percentages.
          >
          > > Edward J. Larson
          > Department of History, University of Georgia,
          > Athens, Georgia 30602-6012, USA
          > e-mail:edlarson@u...
          >
          > Larry Witham
          > 3816 Lansdale Court, Burtonsville,
          > Maryland 20866, USA
          >
          >
          >
          > Further Larson and Witham state:
          >
          > "Beit-Hallahmi (1988) found that among Nobel Prize laureates in the
          > sciences, as well as those in literature, there was a remarkable
          degree of
          > irreligiosity, as compared to the populations they came from." The
          reference
          > is to: Beit-Hallahmi, B. (1988). The religiosity and religious
          affiliation
          > of Nobel prize winners. Unpublished data.
          >

          Interestingly, it appears that writers are also afflicted with the
          scourge of atheism. Or, at least the Nobel winners in literature.
          Fascinating that no one mentioned this point...


          Thomas Covenant
        • Stephen E. Jones
          Group On Mon, 01 Oct 2001 22:12:37 -0000, averylinden@hotmail.com wrote: [...] ... [...] Just briefly, Thomas can rest assured that if he has no sin, he won t
          Message 4 of 4 , Oct 2, 2001
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            Group

            On Mon, 01 Oct 2001 22:12:37 -0000, averylinden@... wrote:

            [...]

            >According to most christians, I
            >will be going to Hell because of my convictions and beliefs.
            >Regardless of how honest, ethical, decent, and compassionate I am,

            [...]

            Just briefly, Thomas can rest assured that if he has no sin, he won't
            go to Hell. It is only for actual sins committed that one is sent to
            Hell.

            The Bible says (inter alia) that we will not even be judged by God's
            standards, but by our *own* standards, that we have all our lives
            applied to others:

            Mt 7:2 "For in the same way you judge others, you will be
            judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to
            you."

            I don't know about Thomas, but this verse alone would condemn me!

            Steve

            --------------------------------------------------------------------------
            "Gould occupies a rather curious position, particularly on his side of the
            Atlantic. Because of the excellence of his essays, he has come to be seen by
            nonbiologists as the preeminent evolutionary theorist. In contrast, the
            evolutionary biologists with whom I have discussed his work tend to see
            him as a man whose ideas are so confused as to be hardly worth bothering
            with, but as one who should not be publicly criticized because he is at least
            on our side against the creationists. All this would not matter, were it not
            that he is giving nonbiologists a largely false picture of the state of
            evolutionary theory." (Maynard Smith J., "Genes, Memes, & Minds."
            Review of Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life
            by Daniel C. Dennett. Simon and Schuster. The New York Review of
            Books, Vol. XLII, No. 19, November 30, 1995, pp.46-48, p.46.
            http://www.nybooks.com/articles/1703)
            Stephen E. Jones. sejones@.... http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones
            Moderator: CreationEvolutionDesign@yahoogroups.com
            Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CreationEvolutionDesign
            --------------------------------------------------------------------------
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