The Myths of Atheism

The Myths of Atheism

Myth #1

Atheists are smarter than believers.  This is a common myth among many non-intellectual atheists and even the sentiment of some of their more intelligent expounder’s.  If this myth is true, we would expect to find those on the higher IQ level to be unbelievers.  However, that is not what we find.  In fact we find somewhat of the opposite for example; Christopher Langan who many believe to be the smartest man on earth has a IQ of close to 200 and he is a theist.  The philosopher William James who some believe to be the smartest man that ever lived with an IQ of 270 or above, he also was a believer.  Albert Einstein did not believe in a personal God but did believe in a higher power[i].  Then there comes is Copernicus, Newton and Galileo, Shakespeare and Goethe.  All of these men were estimated to have had with very high IQ’s and all were also believers.  The founding fathers of our country were all brilliant men with high IQs and all were either Christians or Deist.  My personal belief is that IQ has little or nothing to do with belief or non-belief in God.  It most likely has includes a number of components ranging from genetics to environment.

Myth #2

Most scientists are unbelievers.  A survey of scientists who are members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, was conducted by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press in May and June of 2009 and they found finds that members of this group are, on the whole, much less religious than the general public.1  Indeed, the survey shows that scientists are roughly half as likely as the general public to believe in God or in a higher power. According to the poll, just over half of scientists (51%) believe in some form of deity or higher power; specifically, 33% of scientists say they believe in God, while 18% believe in a universal spirit or higher power.  By contrast, 95% of Americans believe in some form of deity or higher power, according to a survey of the general public conducted by the Pew Research Center in July 2006.  Specifically, more than eight-in-ten Americans (83%) say they believe in God and 12% believe in a universal spirit or higher power. Finally, the poll of scientists finds that four-in-ten scientists (41%) say they do not believe in God or in a higher power, while the poll of the public finds that only 4% of Americans share this view.  This poll was taken in 2007 and may not reflect present figures.

Myth #3

Science disproves religion.  “Science doesn’t draw conclusions about supernatural explanations Do gods exist? Do supernatural entities intervene in human affairs? These questions may be important, but science won’t help you answer them. Questions that deal with supernatural explanations are, by definition, beyond the realm of nature — and hence, also beyond the realm of what can be studied by science.”  Science Dept, University of California at Berkeley

“Science describes and explains the natural world: it does not prove or disprove beliefs about the supernatural.”  American Anthropological Association

“No aspect of science can address supernatural questions…supernatural entities by definition operate outside of natural laws and so [truly] cannot be investigated using methods of experimentation.”  American Association for the Advancement of Science

“Science is not based on faith, nor does it preclude faith.”  American Astronomical Society”

“Theologians may also be interested in the physical world, but in addition they usually believe in a metaphysical or supernatural realm inhabited by souls, spirits, angels, or gods, and this heaven or nirvana is often believed to be the future resting place of all believers after death. Such supernatural constructions are beyond the scope of science.”  National Academy of Sciences

The National Science Teachers Association adds, “Science is precluded from making statements about supernatural forces because these are outside its provenance.”

“Explanations employing no naturalistic or supernatural events, whether or not explicit reference is made to a supernatural being, are outside the realm of science …. all of science, is necessarily silent on religion and neither refutes nor supports the existence of a deity or deities.”  National Association of Biology Teachers.

The US National Academy of Sciences has gone on record with the following statement: “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.”

When a scientist speaks about religion he is not speaking as a scientist.  He is speaking as a philosopher or a theologian.  For example, when you ask a scientist if there something outside of the natural order?  He may say no, but his answer is not based on science but on presuppositions taken from philosophy.

[i] Einstein faith question has been settled by Max Jammer’s book on “Einstein and Religion, Physics and Theology.”