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Leading Scientists Reject God

  1. May 9, 2004 #1
    I'm sure all of us already know that the vast majority of scientists do not profess a belief in a god. Here are statistics among NAS scientists on their thoughts on god:

    Personal belief: 7%
    Personal disbelief: 72.2%
    Doubt or agnosticism: 20.8%


    So you have 72.2% of scientists that are atheist. 20.8% of scientists that are agnostic. Biologists had the lowest rate of belief at 5.5% and mathematicians had the highest rate of belief at 14.3%.

    Leuba attributed the higher level of disbelief and doubt among "greater" scientists to their "superior knowledge, understanding, and experience"

    Similarly, Oxford University scientist Peter Atkins commented on our 1996 survey, "You clearly can be a scientist and have religious beliefs.


    Source: http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/news/file002.html
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 9, 2004 #2

    Kerrie

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    monique...feel free to kick it to me or delete :)
     
  4. May 9, 2004 #3
    To think that guys like these created the atom bomb, that minorities make up a very small proportion of their ranks, and that knowledge itself correlates poorly with belief!
     
  5. May 10, 2004 #4

    Njorl

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    It has been my personal experience with the many scientists I've met that while they have much less belief in God, they have much more belief in people.

    Njorl
     
  6. May 10, 2004 #5
    That's really neat. According to definition I'd classify myself as Agnostic. Coolness. :)
     
  7. May 10, 2004 #6
    If the majority is wrong, they'll be a legion of out of work scientist's in Hell and platoon of overworked scientist's in Heaven.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2004
  8. May 16, 2004 #7

    Moonbear

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    I wonder how the question was phrased when they conducted the survey. Among the scientists I work with, I think the vast majority are non-religious, but not necessarily non-believers. I would have predicted the number who are agnostic to be higher than non-believers. Though, I do agree from experience that few scientists believe completely in a god. Blind faith isn't very compatible with scientific method.
     
  9. May 16, 2004 #8

    enigma

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    Also note that those statistics are only for members of the NAS
     
  10. May 17, 2004 #9

    Moonbear

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    Thanks for pointing that out enigma. I hadn't gotten around to following the link earlier.

    Here's a quote from that link:
    "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."

    These numbers better reflect what my own experience is with the scientists I know. Of course National Academy members don't believe in God, they believe they ARE God! (Only kidding if any National Academy members are reading :-) )
     
  11. May 17, 2004 #10
    I would like to ask those polled what they are certain of.
     
  12. May 18, 2004 #11
    Actually the main scientist who created the atom bomb was Oppenheimer who was in fact a jew. He had to overcome many prejudices to attain the respect of his peers because of his religion. So while he wasn't a minority exactly (since at that time many jews had in fact made it into the scientific community) he did have to overcome prejudices due to his religious belief.


    I think to automatically assume that because people do not believe that they are to be trusted less is rather biased I think. Remember athiests have more to lose when they die, it final.
     
  13. May 18, 2004 #12
    If my friends and I stated that if you don't believe that Nintendo is the greatest invention ever created, that when you die, you will spend eternity in hell. And you don't believe it, would you have more to lose?

    Superstitions and logical minds don't mix. Period. And believing in superstitions means you already lost.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2004
  14. May 18, 2004 #13
    True, at least from my (an athiests) point of view. I'm sure that people who believe in a higher power will claim that one can believe without it being a superstition that infringes upon their logical thought process.

    The point was, an athiest has more to lose by dying, at least as far as I can see. Death means the end of my existance, which is pretty damn big, at least for me. The insinuation that lack of belief is a worrying thing in a scientist while bringing up atom bombs kind of got me agitated. ;)

    To paraphrase an article I once read about the scientists who helped create the atom bomb.

    "After the bomb was created many of the scientists lamented their involvement, yet during the project they were motivated by the excitement of the scientific and technological challenge that transcended any ethical or social considerations"
     
  15. May 18, 2004 #14

    What if the scientist involved believes in a god that started it all, yet has no input on the universe now. This god was behind the initial creation of the universe and all its rules, yet from that point onwards never ever intervened. That scientist is not an athiest, some might call him an agnostic, but his belief may be too strong to classified as even that. One could only say he believes.

    In my life I have met many religious people who are capable of thinking logically without their religion interfering. I have also met one or two athiests who's lack of belief was bordering on the fanatical, to the point where their athiesm was no better than any other superstition.
     
  16. May 18, 2004 #15

    selfAdjoint

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    What if the scientist involved believes in a god that started it all, yet has no input on the universe now. This god was behind the initial creation of the universe and all its rules, yet from that point onwards never ever intervened. That scientist is not an athiest, some might call him an agnostic, but his belief may be too strong to classified as even that. One could only say he believes.

    This is pretty much what many of the founders of the US believed - the "clockmaker god" who makes the clock but then lets it run without fiddling with it. This belief is called Deism.
     
  17. May 18, 2004 #16
    Deism

    The M-W Unabridged 3.0 says, "Yes."


    • Main Entry: de·ism
      Pronunciation: 'dE,izðm
      Function: noun
      Inflected Form: -s
      Usage: sometimes capitalized
      Etymology: French déisme, from Latin deus god + French -isme -ism — more at DEITY

      : a rationalistic movement of the 17th and 18th centuries whose adherents generally subscribed to a natural religion based on human reason and morality, on the belief in one God who after creating the world and the laws governing it refrained from interfering with the operation of those laws, and on the rejection of every kind of supernatural intervention in human affairs
     
  18. May 19, 2004 #17
    Dirac surely did...

    I think Pauli said something about God and Dirac like this "If I understand Dirac correctly, his meaning is this: there is no God, and Dirac is his Prophet".
     
  19. May 19, 2004 #18
    The larger the ego, the lesser the god.
     
  20. May 20, 2004 #19
    I consider this more accurate:

    The more intelligence, the lesser the god. The more intelligence, the larger the ego.

    I don't consider ego and lack of belief in god to have any relation to each other whatsoever. But I do consider both to have relation to intelligence.
     
  21. May 20, 2004 #20

    Moonbear

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    I don't know. I think I more often see an inverse relationship between ego and intelligence. It's much easier to think you know everything before you've learned enough to know just how much you don't know!
     
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