snopes.com Post new topic  Post a reply
search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hello snopes.com » Non-UL Chat » Techno-Babble » What Percentage Of Scientists Are Atheists?

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: What Percentage Of Scientists Are Atheists?
KingDavid8
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


Icon 1 posted      Profile for KingDavid8   Author's Homepage     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I'm wondering if anyone has any hard data on this question. I'm searching a lot of websites and finding a lot of different answers, but since the only sites I'm finding seem to have either a pro-theism or pro-atheism bent, I'm not sure if I can trust their numbers. I've seen the percentages of atheists among scientists as high as 93% and as low as 25%. The number that seems to crop up most often is 60%, but that seems to include all who are non-religious, and not all believers in God are religious (i.e. deists).

David

--------------------
www.MySpace.com/KDavid8

Posts: 2530 | From: Lansing, MI | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Muncle
I Saw Three Shipments


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Muncle   E-mail Muncle   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
It's hard to really tell. At my university I know a couple of scientists who are Christian (Real Christian, as opposed to those who talk the talk but not walk the walk). Generally though, they don't make it an obvious part of their working lives, since many more members of the faculty look at faith and religion as foolish, and being too outward about it would be a bad career move.
It's almost akin to asking how many gay people are in the world, many people aren't going to jump up and announce it in front of everyone else.

Posts: 69 | From: Nova Scotia | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
DaGuyWitBluGlasses
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


Icon 1 posted      Profile for DaGuyWitBluGlasses     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Any scientist that would ridicule the belief in god is a bad scientist.

Good scientists are "Agnostic," not "atheistic"

Our universe has laws, why does it have laws?

Because the only creature that can make sophisticated laws, is man, science is supposed to personify whatever created those laws/and the universe, because taht would actually be the simplest explanation based.

Posts: 201 | From: Toronto, ON | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
RLobinske
Deck the Malls


Icon 1 posted      Profile for RLobinske   E-mail RLobinske   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I'm not familiar with any solid studies on the subject. Even if you found a study, you'd need to be careful to understand what group of scientists were actually studied. US only? Asia? Worldwide? Biologists? Astronomers?


My personal experience has exposed me to scientists of many different faiths.

Posts: 296 | From: Crawfordville, Florida | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Muncle
I Saw Three Shipments


Icon 203 posted      Profile for Muncle   E-mail Muncle   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by DaGuyWitBluGlasses:

Good scientists are "Agnostic," not "atheistic"

True, as far as their research goes.

[QUOTE]

Our universe has laws, why does it have laws?
Because the only creature that can make sophisticated laws, is man, science is supposed to personify whatever created those laws/and the universe, because taht would actually be the simplest explanation based.
[/Quote
Our universe doesn't have "laws", it only appears to obey formulae that we have created to explain it. If something doesn't go according to those rules, we're mistaken, the universe hasn't broken any rules.
Science doesn't personify anyone. We've based the laws on our own understanding and observations, but we certainly didn't create the universe to follow these rules.

Posts: 69 | From: Nova Scotia | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
pinqy
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 24 posted      Profile for pinqy   E-mail pinqy   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by DaGuyWitBluGlasses:
Any scientist that would ridicule the belief in god is a bad scientist.


Why? Since gods are outside the study of science and have nothing to do with scientific research then belief or disbelief is irrelevent.

quote:
Good scientists are "Agnostic," not "atheistic"
It's possible to be both. But again, not accepting a belief has nothing to do with good or bad science.

quote:
Our universe has laws, why does it have laws?

I think that you're making the same mistake about "laws" as many others. Human laws are written and then obeyed. But in science "laws" are simply observations of how things work. Just because they do work a certain way doesn't mean that some outside force decided they would work that way and then imposed the laws on the universe. Laws are a description of what does occur, not a mandate for them to occur.

quote:
Because the only creature that can make sophisticated laws, is man, science is supposed to personify whatever created those laws/and the universe, because taht would actually be the simplest explanation based.
Again...nothing had to create the laws. The laws aren't requirements on the universe, but descriptors of the universe. If A's favorite color is blue, and I observe that, all other things being equal, she will pick a blue object over any other color, then I can formulate a scientific law that for A, Bt>XT where t~=T. (B=Blue, X=any other color, T and t are Things) But there's nothing or no one making or forcing or requiring A to do so, it's just what she does.
A did not create the law, A is the subject of the law.

pinqy

--------------------
Don't Forget!
Winter Solstice Hanukkah Christmas Kwanzaa & Gurnenthar's Ascendance Are Coming!

Posts: 8671 | From: Washington, DC | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
surfcitydogdad
Jingle Bell Hock


Icon 1 posted      Profile for surfcitydogdad     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
There are surveys out there; we should keep searching. I'm going to back to bed, but the rest of you can do it, and I'll join in later!

As has been stated, many scientists are not atheists, but are diests, which means that they believe in a god, but not necessarily that of mainstream, orthodox, or organized religion. I'd be surprised if more scientists were agnostic than were diests or even believers of some sort. I suspect actual athiests are in the minority.

Many are believers; many Christian churches - non-fundamentalists - have no problem with evolution, etc. The current pope has stated that science and evolution are not contrary to the gospel, and evolution is certainly part of the biology curriculum at Mormon BYU. I'm not aware that most mainstream Christian religions, or other world religions, have a problem with evolution.

On the other hand, many fundamentalist religionists ARE threatened by science and reason...

I believe that faith is not mutually exclusive with being highly educated. However, LESS education - or education in subjects that allow one to bury one's head in the sand - makes one more likely to reject scientific thought. If you study biology, geology, or several other subjects (as opposed to business, or even physics), it's much harder to reject the evidence of evolution right in front of you.

I'm a Mormon, and I majored in anthropology at University of California, and I can't remember a time when I didn't believe in both Jesus and Darwin. And the "big bang" theory is also not inherently contrary to the teachings of most religions, either, as far as I know.

We should probably define "scientist," as well. I'm not a professor, or a working physical anthropologist or social scientist; it was simply my major for my BA. So who or what constitutes the scientists who are surveyed? Biology professors? Working chemists? It's a broad field.

--------------------
Only when we remake ourselves can we remake the world.
- Outer Limits (2001)

Posts: 559 | From: Santa Cruz, CA | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Sandman
Deck the Malls


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Sandman     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I like the statement that true scientists are agnostics. I am heavily interested is science myself, and I have to concede that a true scientist makes no assumptions and does not think that the absence of proof constitutes the proof of absence.

You really can't prove that God does not exist because it is not logically possible to prove a negative, so a true scientist can't simply discard the idea out of hand. They may believe, based on empirical evidence, that God does not exist, but the moment they make the decision that (s)he does not, they have closed their minds to the possibility that perhaps (s)he does. It's tricky, since the existence of God is highly implausible. But "implausible" and "impossible" are not the same thing.

--------------------
"I will tell you in another life, when we are both cats."

Posts: 308 | From: Cleveland | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
DaGuyWitBluGlasses
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


Icon 1 posted      Profile for DaGuyWitBluGlasses     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Whatever created the universe created the laws, whether that was an entity or just a random anomoly… Either way there's a reason that they exists. So that reason has to be personified.

Saying that's jsut the way they are is not scientific. Science asks "why?".


We know that there are more dimensions beyond the ones we can observe (which is why the everything is further apart as time progresses.

Ans so a god(s) is accepted until science has a better understanding of the dimensions beyond.

No, you're not an agnostic and atheists.

Agnostic, says the belief in god is irrelevant, but they would likely

Atheist are people not who "don't believe in god" but rather "believe that god(s) don't exist"

Posts: 201 | From: Toronto, ON | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
pinqy
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 24 posted      Profile for pinqy   E-mail pinqy   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Sandman:
I like the statement that true scientists are agnostics. I am heavily interested is science myself, and I have to concede that a true scientist makes no assumptions and does not think that the absence of proof constitutes the proof of absence.

Scientists make assumptions all the time...you have to or you never get anything done. Most common assumption: the universe exists. Other assumptions: that observations will hold true at all times in all places. When an assumption is shown not to be true, or useful, then it is dropped (even if an assumption is not true it may still be kept in order to keep the equations simpler).

And while abscence of proof is not proof of absence, abscence of evidence is sufficient reason to not accept a proposition.

quote:
You really can't prove that God does not exist because it is not logically possible to prove a negative, so a true scientist can't simply discard the idea out of hand.
But since you also can't prove that a god does exist, there is reason to not accept the idea.

quote:
They may believe, based on empirical evidence, that God does not exist, but the moment they make the decision that (s)he does not, they have closed their minds to the possibility that perhaps (s)he does.
But without good evidence to support the idea that a god exists, why should the possibility be kept open until/unless new evidence presents itself?


quote:
It's tricky, since the existence of God is highly implausible. But "implausible" and "impossible" are not the same thing.
Not believing that a god exists is not saying that it is impossible for one to exist, though, just that the individual does not believe that one actually does.

pinqy

--------------------
Don't Forget!
Winter Solstice Hanukkah Christmas Kwanzaa & Gurnenthar's Ascendance Are Coming!

Posts: 8671 | From: Washington, DC | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
surfcitydogdad
Jingle Bell Hock


Icon 1 posted      Profile for surfcitydogdad     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
We're ignoring the OP.

Our discussion is well and good, but we are neglecting to cite surveys.

I'll be busy for the next several hours, so I can't help right now. But, we should try to find those surveys; I've seen them. They're not all biased, being sponsored by a pro- or anti- group of some sort. I'll do some searching myself if no one has any luck while I'm away, but surely you all out there can do it before I get back! [Smile]

--------------------
Only when we remake ourselves can we remake the world.
- Outer Limits (2001)

Posts: 559 | From: Santa Cruz, CA | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Alex
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Alex   Author's Homepage   E-mail Alex   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by DaGuyWitBluGlasses:
Either way there's a reason that they exists. So that reason has to be personified.

No, it doesn't. Things can happen without being personified. Gravity exists and is a "law" of nature, but it is not a cognizant presence.

And yes, I am a scientist. [Smile]

--------------------
1/2 of Fox & Crane
Revivify || Fantabulous || Destined

Posts: 18 | From: Pasadena, California | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Lonely Mountain
Jingle All the Layaway


Icon 204 posted      Profile for Lonely Mountain   E-mail Lonely Mountain   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Another thing that makes a survey tricky is what you mean by atheist. Technically it means the lack of belief in a higher being of some sort so one could be religious and an atheist (Buddhism or Taoism are two examples). However common usage has atheism as synonomous with having no religion.

--------------------
"Tis too much proved that with devotion's visage and pious action we do sugar o'er the devil himself." - Hamlet

Posts: 344 | From: Pittsburgh, PA | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
DaGuyWitBluGlasses
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


Icon 1 posted      Profile for DaGuyWitBluGlasses     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
If your definition of scientist is:

One whose activities make use of the scientific method to answer questions regarding the measurable universe (wiktionary)

Then, by definition 0% are atheists. 100% are agnostic/ (and if they work in a field like history or psychology, than deistic as well, but that wouldn't really matter to other fields)


If you go by other definitons, then, well i have to ask, what exactly is [u]not[/u] a scientist? Everything applies of a science of some sort, jsut some are fuzzier lofically than others. If your definition involves the word "expert," than any survey of all "experts" (e.g. university graduates) of all field would do. Elsewise, refer to the Census statistics on religious beliefs.


quote:
Originally posted by Alex:
No, it doesn't. Things can happen without being personified. Gravity exists and is a "law" of nature, but it is not a cognizant presence.

And yes, I am a scientist. [Smile]

Things happens just because they happen?
It exists jsut because it exists?

We call that "begging the question," not science.

Why does gravity exist? Why does mass cause gravity?


ETA: @ That's a more descriptive definition, what they call weak atheism prescriptively should be "agnostic". Especially since if you ask, you don't have people saying I'm a "weak" or "strong" atheists. So weak atheism is a misuse of the term, by people who never learned/ or don't remember the other term.

I.e. Agnostic people might describe themselves as "atheistic" but doesn't mean they really are.

Volume shouldn't be a defense to error

Posts: 201 | From: Toronto, ON | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Stoneage Dinosaur
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Stoneage Dinosaur   E-mail Stoneage Dinosaur   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by DaGuyWitBluGlasses:
If your definition of scientist is:

One whose activities make use of the scientific method to answer questions regarding the measurable universe (wiktionary)

Then, by definition 0% are atheists. 100% are agnostic/ (and if they work in a field like history or psychology, than deistic as well, but that wouldn't really matter to other fields)

Wiktionary also defines an atheist as both:

quote:
A person who does not have a belief that one or more deities or gods exist. (weak atheism)

A person who believes that no god exists (strong atheism)

So for the first definition (weak atheism) 100% of scientists are atheists, whereas you are assuming the second definition only is correct:

quote:
Atheist are people not who "don't believe in god" but rather "believe that god(s) don't exist"


--------------------
"You learn something new every day if you're not careful" - Wilf Lunn

Posts: 893 | From: Durham City, England | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Richard W   E-mail Richard W   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Sandman:
You really can't prove that God does not exist because it is not logically possible to prove a negative, so a true scientist can't simply discard the idea out of hand.

Leaving aside quibbles over definitions of the word "proof"*, the real reason that you can't prove that God doesn't exist is that God isn't well defined. There are plenty of testable claims made about "God", and most are clearly (to me) false, at least without a great deal of special pleading. So most thoughtful religious people have redefined their God so that those claims are no longer made.

Eventually "God" does end up at the point where it can't have any consistently observable effect on the universe, and therefore people are free to believe what they like - hence your agnosticism argument. The trouble is, that as soon as you accept this (non-)definition of God, a lot of religious people then say that you've accepted God and start to sneak the testable claims back in.

You end up with a situation where people can say something like "So you accept that the universe as a whole is what it is? Some people would state that this means the universe is God - it's called Pantheism. Do you see that point of view? Yes? You accept that the universe could be called God? Well then you must see that it's morally wrong to eat fish on a Friday, or listen to that awful music!"

I'm perfectly happy to be an atheist and a scientist (in the sense that I have a science degree), even if I'm agnostic in some technical senses. The senses of "God" that I'm agnostic about are, to me, meaningless.

* (eta) "Proof" in the absolute sense is a mathematical concept, not a scientific one. You can't mathematically prove a false statement, but you can certainly prove a negative, in that you can prove that the positive version of the statement is false. (If "A" is false, the "Not A" is true.) In strictly scientific terms, you can't prove a positive either.

Posts: 8725 | From: Ipswich - the UK's 9th Best Place to Sleep! | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
pinqy
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 1 posted      Profile for pinqy   E-mail pinqy   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by DaGuyWitBluGlasses:
If your definition of scientist is:

One whose activities make use of the scientific method to answer questions regarding the measurable universe (wiktionary)

Then, by definition 0% are atheists. 100% are agnostic/ (and if they work in a field like history or psychology, than deistic as well, but that wouldn't really matter to other fields)

How so? Since gods are not part of the measurable universe (by definition) and therefore not subject to the scientific method, beleif or disbelief has nothing to do with science so scientists could be theists, atheists, or agnostics with no impact on their function as scientists.


quote:
Elsewise, refer to the Census statistics on religious beliefs.
Which are non-existent. The Census Bureau is forbidden by law to collect information on religious beliefs.


pinqy

--------------------
Don't Forget!
Winter Solstice Hanukkah Christmas Kwanzaa & Gurnenthar's Ascendance Are Coming!

Posts: 8671 | From: Washington, DC | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
DaGuyWitBluGlasses
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


Icon 1 posted      Profile for DaGuyWitBluGlasses     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jedi_census_phenomenon

Census collects religious information elsewhere.


Outside the observable universe is also subject to the scientific method, experiments and observations currently try to observe the effect the other dimension have on us.

@ R W III
Doesn't atheism have somethig against "Slippery Slope" arguments?

And saying you believe in god or gods, you can jsut say you don't believe in a specific god, (or you could say something like I believe god is a (insert insulting description here))

Posts: 201 | From: Toronto, ON | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Richard W   E-mail Richard W   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by DaGuyWitBluGlasses:
@ R W III
Doesn't atheism have somethig against "Slippery Slope" arguments?

Eh? Atheism doesn't have anything against anything, as such. And where was my slippery slope?

If you mean my exaggerated attempt to show how I think people argue unneccessarily for "God" because, even though it's a meaningless and arbitrary concept, they're comforted by certain aspects of it that traditionally impose a moral order on the universe, then I don't think that's a slippery slope - it's hyperbole perhaps, but I was trying to make the point obvious.

As for saying that I do or don't believe in specific Gods, fair enough. The pen on my desk is a God, after all (I've just defined it as one) and I believe that it exists. So I'm not an atheist, right?

I don't believe that anything worthy or deserving of the label "God" exists. How about that?

Apologies for ignoring the OP. (edit) I wasn't exactly ignoring the OP - more addressing the point that 100% of scientists must be anything by definition.

Posts: 8725 | From: Ipswich - the UK's 9th Best Place to Sleep! | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
chillas
Coventry Mall Carol


Icon 1 posted      Profile for chillas     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by surfcitydogdad:
There are surveys out there; we should keep searching.
I'm going to back to bed, but the rest of you can do it!

quote:
Originally posted by surfcitydogdad:
We're ignoring the OP.

Our discussion is well and good, but we are neglecting to cite surveys.

I'll be busy for the next several hours, so I can't help right now.

Threads drift. If you're so hot on having these surveys, find them yourself. Don't tell other people to do it for you because you're too lazy.

--------------------
Come on, come on - spin a little tighter
Come on, come on - and the world's a little brighter


Posts: 5595 | From: Columbus, OH : The Soccer Capital of America | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
pob14
Jingle Bell Hock


Icon 1 posted      Profile for pob14     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Reported here as being from Nature, 1998:

quote:
The latest survey involved 517 members of the National Academy of Sciences; half replied. When queried about belief in "personal god," only 7% responded in the affirmative, while 72.2% expressed "personal disbelief," and 20.8% expressed "doubt or agnosticism."
quote:
Originally posted by DaGuyWitBluGlasses:
If your definition of scientist is:

One whose activities make use of the scientific method to answer questions regarding the measurable universe (wiktionary)

Then, by definition 0% are atheists.

So Richard Dawkins is not a scientist? Daniel Dennett isn't? Steven Jay Gould and Carl Sagan weren't? Or are you saying something I'm not understanding here?

--------------------
Patrick

Posts: 576 | From: Illinois | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Mr. Billion
The First USA Noel


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Mr. Billion   Author's Homepage   E-mail Mr. Billion   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I don't think anybody has yet posted the Wikipedia article on the demographics of atheism. That page points us to this article, which is probably the one the atheists.org link pob14 just gave is referring to.

--------------------
"For the U.S. to get involved militarily in determining the outcome of the struggle over who's going to govern Iraq strikes me as a classic definition of a quagmire." ~Dick Cheney.

Posts: 747 | From: Kansas | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Signora Del Drago
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


Icon 05 posted      Profile for Signora Del Drago     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by chillas to the bone:
quote:
Originally posted by surfcitydogdad:
There are surveys out there; we should keep searching.
I'm going to back to bed, but the rest of you can do it!

quote:
Originally posted by surfcitydogdad:
We're ignoring the OP.

Our discussion is well and good, but we are neglecting to cite surveys.

I'll be busy for the next several hours, so I can't help right now.

Threads drift. If you're so hot on having these surveys, find them yourself. Don't tell other people to do it for you because you're too lazy.

It appears that you misinterpreted. surfcitydogdad didn't start this thread, and it seems that he was trying to get someone to help the original poster find more information because he (surfcitydogdad) didn't have time at the moment. I thought that was rather nice of him and didn't realize there were rules against trying to help another poster. No need to call him "lazy." I hope you feel better.

ETA: Do scientists believe in god?
This article contains a survey, but the last stats are ten years old.
This article gives a few stats from a survey but does not contain the survey.

I had no idea it would be so difficult to find information on this subject.

--------------------
"This air we're breathing. Oxygen, isn't it?"~I’mNotDedalus, impersonating Vincent D’Onofrio.|"Sometimes trying to communicate can be like walking through a minefield."~wanderwoman
"Give people a break. It's not easy doing a life."~Joshua Halberstam

Posts: 4020 | From: Oklahoma | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


Icon 105 posted      Profile for Silas Sparkhammer   Author's Homepage   E-mail Silas Sparkhammer   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by DaGuyWitBluGlasses:
Outside the observable universe is also subject to the scientific method, experiments and observations currently try to observe the effect the other dimension have on us.

Tricky question of semantics here. What do you mean by "observable."

For instance: telescopes and microscopes have vastly increased our ability to "observe" distant or small events. Are distant quasars, and minuscule germs, part of the "observable" universe?

If there is "another dimension" where gods, angels, devils, heavens, and hells reside...is it, too, observable via sufficiently inventive instrumentation? Would a "soul telescope" allow us to see Zeus disporting with his Nymphs?

I am a Freudian, and I accept the notion that we can only "observe" some psychological events indirectly, by sensing the pain surrounding them. In a more physical sense, we can't directly observe Black Holes, but only the energetic activity near the Event Horizon.

So: if one suggests that the Spirit Dimension *can* be studied, even indirectly, then it *is* (I think) part of the "observable universe." On the other hand, if the Spirit Dimension can (as many suggest) never be approached, or even understood, then it lies entirely outside the scope (pun intended) of science.

You have to ask yourself (in essence): Is God a mind that we *can* understand, or a mind that we *cannot* understand? If the latter, then science is in no way involved, nor even much interested.

Silas

Posts: 16801 | From: San Diego, CA | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
chillas
Coventry Mall Carol


Icon 1 posted      Profile for chillas     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Signora Del Drago:
It appears that you misinterpreted. surfcitydogdad didn't start this thread, and it seems that he was trying to get someone to help the original poster find more information because he (surfcitydogdad) didn't have time at the moment. I thought that was rather nice of him and didn't realize there were rules against trying to help another poster. No need to call him "lazy." I hope you feel better.

I'm quite aware the he didn't start the thread, which is why I find his attitude so irritating. If he had it would have been more understandable. Standing on the sideline, however, insisting that other people do work while you can't be bothered is undeniably lazy.

--------------------
Come on, come on - spin a little tighter
Come on, come on - and the world's a little brighter


Posts: 5595 | From: Columbus, OH : The Soccer Capital of America | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Alex
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Alex   Author's Homepage   E-mail Alex   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by DaGuyWitBluGlasses:
]Things happens just because they happen?
It exists jsut because it exists?

We call that "begging the question," not science.

I didn't say things happen just because they happen - I said we don't have to personify the cause. Energy, chemical reactions, and plain old chance cause things to happen without having any personality themselves.

--------------------
1/2 of Fox & Crane
Revivify || Fantabulous || Destined

Posts: 18 | From: Pasadena, California | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
surfcitydogdad
Jingle Bell Hock


Icon 1 posted      Profile for surfcitydogdad     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Lighten up chillas, I meant no harm, and I wasn't telling anyone what to do. Drago was kind enough to defend me, and has found some stats for us. I took no offense at your remarks in my direction, though, as I may not have conveyed my tone properly. I was simply asking for help in finding stats, and as Drago says, it was difficult (as I surmised earlier, hence I took off without doing it, and making myself late).

I know threads drift, and I've done plenty of that myself in numerous discussions. But as no one had cited any stats, and the original OP poster had apparently had trouble finding any, I wasn't so sure I'd be able to either. I'm back for the moment, before rushing off to another appointment.

It looks like we've already uncovered a variety of religious or non-religious sentiments on the topic. My experience is that it's helpful to have flexible paradigms. If we have rigid personal paradigms within our religious beliefs, we set ourselves up for disappointment, as when the Second Coming doesn't happen at the predicted date. And, it must be terribly hard to be a Biblical literalist and be at odds with every modern scientific theory. It's far better to be open to new ideas.

As a Mormon, and a student of anthropology, I have long known that the American Indians didn't come from the Holy Land, as described in the Book of Mormon. It could only have been that the peoples in that book were a small group who came and mixed in. Now that DNA evidence shows NO middle eastern genetic markers in the indigenous population of the Americas, it doesn't particularly bother me, as I already had great doubt about the historicity of the B of M, anyway. Likewise for the Bible; I question its historical accuracy, but never even thought of Genesis as being anything but figurative, hence it was never a problem to believe in evolution.

So, because I keep liberal interpretations, science doesn't disrupt my religious beliefs, nor do I attempt to force science to fit into my faith, as so many people of faith have attempted to do over the centuries. Now, I'm not a "scientist, but I believe my same types of thought processes are involved in keeping a scientist's, or anyone's, faith and work separate. We have to wear different hats. Besides, religion is best at answering the whys, while science is best suited to answer the hows.

As Steve Martin once said, "science, by definition, excludes the metaphysical." And so it should. It's best not to mix the two, which compromises both. IS there any reason for science and religion to conflict? Do scientists tend to be more agnostic than other groups of people? We'll have to keep looking for polls of scientists.

--------------------
Only when we remake ourselves can we remake the world.
- Outer Limits (2001)

Posts: 559 | From: Santa Cruz, CA | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Cervus
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Cervus   E-mail Cervus   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
It's a minor munchkin of mine when "scientists" are lumped together as though they all study the same things. What fields are we talking about here? Biology? Chem? Astronomy? Geology? Genetics? Insects? Physics? Neurology? There are hundreds of fields of science.

quote:
Originally posted by DaGuyWitBluGlasses:
Any scientist that would ridicule the belief in god is a bad scientist.

By whose standards?

quote:
Good scientists are "Agnostic," not "atheistic"
Again, who is defining what is good and bad?

I've never done a study or experiment that had anything to do with religion, so I don't know why this would be a factor. I work with some atheists, some agnostics, some religious people, and a majority of whom I have no idea what their religious beliefs are. It has no reflection on what we do in our sciences.

quote:

Our universe has laws, why does it have laws?

Because the only creature that can make sophisticated laws, is man, science is supposed to personify whatever created those laws/and the universe, because taht would actually be the simplest explanation based.

pinqy's already explained this, but the "laws" of the universe are just our observations of phenomena have been lab-tested and found to always occur the same way.

quote:
Originally posted by Sandman:
I am heavily interested is science myself, and I have to concede that a true scientist makes no assumptions and does not think that the absence of proof constitutes the proof of absence.

Wrong. Scientists always have to make assumptions in any study. These are "givens" based on previous data, logic, and direct observations. On the most basic level, you assume the "laws" of physics will hold true. You assume that the same chemical reactions will occure each time you mix the same chemicals. When you design an experiment using a previously tested method, you assume this method is the most appropriate for your experiment and that your data will be correct. You assume your hypothesis will be testable and your data will be verifiable. You assume your sample size is large enough to accurately represent the data you are trying to collect. If you're interviewing people, you have to assume they're telling you the truth. If you're counting bird populations in two different areas, you assume the birds will be equally detectable in both areas.

Scientists have to make a lot of assumptions in their experiments.


quote:
Originally posted by Alex:
Gravity exists and is a "law" of nature, but it is not a cognizant presence.

Actually, gravity is a theory. A scientific theory is a proposed explanation of why something happens. The effects of gravity are the "laws". Laws are labratory-tested and verifiable occurrances that behave the same way each time.

--------------------
"There is no constitutional right to sleep with endangered reptiles." -- Carl Hiaasen
Won't somebody please think of the adults!

Posts: 8254 | From: Florida | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Troodon
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Troodon     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Minor nitpick: in science, the term "law" is mostly a designation of prestige for certian equations but can technically be applied to any internally consistent statement. The statement "this particular law accurately describes this physical phenomenon" is a theory, but most theories don't include explicitly formulated laws.

Regarding science and religion: given what we know about the universe, it is my opinion that the correct position is that of strong atheism. Of course, it is technically true that some god could exist, but the way I see it, the following is a good analogy: experiments throughout history have confirmed that an attractive force exists between all objects and is proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. The strength of this force has been measured repeatedly and is consistent over time to a very high degree of accuracy. However, it may be possible that there is actually no attractive force and objects move totally at random, and the fact that every experiment detects an attractive force of consistent strength is merely an extremely unlikely coincidence. Despite this possibility, I think it is accurate to say that we know that this force does exist as well as we can possibly know anything. Likewise, I think that we know that god does not exist as well as we can possibly know anything, and thus it is equally valid to say "gravity exists" and "god does not exist".

Regarding religious scientists: Most of the scientists that I've met have not been openly religious. I have met several religious scientists but I did not discuss the issue with them at length because it is a sensitive subject and I wanted to retain a good relationship with them. They all appeared to be competent scientists.

--------------------
Fools! You've over-estimated me!

Posts: 3745 | From: New York City | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
surfcitydogdad
Jingle Bell Hock


Icon 1 posted      Profile for surfcitydogdad     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
The 1997 article in Nature, as linked by Drago (http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1374/is_n4_v57/ai_19582381), looks pretty good. Is that the kind of thing you were looking for, KingDavid? That the last survey was taken several years ago shouldn't make much difference.

The article cited by Mr Billion from a 1998 Nature magazine, http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/news/file002.html, seems somewhat different. Actually, I'm still trying to compare and contrast the two, which seem to rely on the same stats.

More stats and commentary here: http://www.enigmaticearth.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=148 , but not original sources.

Similar and equally non-source article, possibly a version of the same 2005 study, at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8916982/

Rather than cite more as this time, I'll just say that I did a Yahoo search for: statistics, scientists, belief in God. The two links I gave immediately above are the first two results from the Yahoo search. Anyone can run the same search and get the same results, amd check out the other results, but I hope someone will find a better permutation of the keywords, or a better engine or place to search for more academically-oriented data.

I have to go out again, but I'm wondering if any of you have tried more imaginative searches and yielded any satifactory results (I'm not being lazy; I'm making this a cooperative effort, and now that I've done some searching, using the key search words above, I'm hoping that some other key words or search methodology will find better results. If not, I'll try more when I return again).

I can see why KingDavid and Drago have found the stats they were looking for to be elusive. There must be various sociological studies about this.

I think one article we've found so far has backed up my observation that even amongst the educated and scientists, a lot depends on their field of study.

I looked at the Church of God article (cited by Drago in her first link), and indeed, it was biased, only giving quotes from various scientists, but not stats. As I have often heard or read repeated by the religiously-oriented, the article quotes Einstein affirming his belief in a God or diety. However, it conveniently neglects to mention that Einstein and many other scientists have stated they believe in a god, but not necessarily a personal god, such as that of the Bible. The Hawking quotes seem postive, but again, we don't know what kind of God he was talking about.

Unless I'm mistaken, Darwin was never hostile to religion until religion became hostile to him. I can see why many scientists feel inclined to reject certain types of religious paradigms, such as a personal God, or a literal interpretation of the Bible. There are many other ways one can deal with perceived conflict between the science and faith, unless you're a fundamentalist literalist, in which case I suppose one's attitude is that the rest of the scientific world is simply wrong.

--------------------
Only when we remake ourselves can we remake the world.
- Outer Limits (2001)

Posts: 559 | From: Santa Cruz, CA | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Errata
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Errata   E-mail Errata   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by DaGuyWitBluGlasses:
No, you're not an agnostic and atheists.

Agnostic, says the belief in god is irrelevant, but they would likely

Atheist are people not who "don't believe in god" but rather "believe that god(s) don't exist"

The terms aren't as narrowly defined as you think. Agnostic covers a broad range of shades of belief. So does atheist.

Must a good scientist be agnostic about the tooth fairy and the flying spaghetti monster, rather than believing that they don't exist? No, he can find them too improbable to give credence to, unless some believer turns up some good evidence to change their mind.

Its more important that scientists be willing to change their minds based on the evidence than that they be "agnostic" about every assinine possibility that is raised until it is disproven. Its perfectly ok for a scientist to have a working belief that is proven wrong. Everyone will be wrong at some point, so you make sure you have good methods for correcting errors rather than spend eternity trying to avoid making mistakes in the first place. In that way, science is very different from religion, because religions don't take kindly to having their beliefs refuted.

At what confidence level does agnostic become atheist? If you think the odds are 50/50, then you're agnostic. If you think the odds are 0% then you're atheist. But what about if you think the odds are 10%? 1%? 1 in a million? Infinitessimal? Clearly there is a spectrum of confidence and at some fuzzy point along it the line blurs from agnostic to atheist. The default position for a "good scientist" doesn't have to be to treat every single hypothesis as equally probable until proven otherwise. In fact that would be a very bad scientist who never got anywhere.

Personally, I call myself an atheist. I am also technically agnostic. I'm a weak atheist, which is by far the most common kind. I find the odds of anything like God so slim, that its not worth worrying about, any more than its worth pondering the possibility of the tooth fairy or the flying spaghetti monster. I don't believe in any of those things, but I'm technically agnostic about them because I can't rule them out completely. Nevertheless I think they're unlikely enough that I can get through my day without factoring them into my decisions. If you're that uncertain about something, then to a first order approximation its fair to say you disbelieve it.

Posts: 2018 | From: Santa Barbara, California | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Signora Del Drago
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


Icon 206 posted      Profile for Signora Del Drago     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
surfcitydogdad, I used "scientist believe god survey," "scientists religion survey," "scientist religious survey," and similar phrases, which resulted in almost the same results pages. The articles were so contradictory, that I finally just gave up. My eyes felt like they were trying to cross after a while! Sorry I wasn't more help.

--------------------
"This air we're breathing. Oxygen, isn't it?"~I’mNotDedalus, impersonating Vincent D’Onofrio.|"Sometimes trying to communicate can be like walking through a minefield."~wanderwoman
"Give people a break. It's not easy doing a life."~Joshua Halberstam

Posts: 4020 | From: Oklahoma | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
surfcitydogdad
Jingle Bell Hock


Icon 1 posted      Profile for surfcitydogdad     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Me, too, Drago. Thanks anyway.

--------------------
Only when we remake ourselves can we remake the world.
- Outer Limits (2001)

Posts: 559 | From: Santa Cruz, CA | Registered: Aug 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
KingDavid8
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


Icon 1 posted      Profile for KingDavid8   Author's Homepage     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by surfcitydogdad:
The 1997 article in Nature, as linked by Drago (http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1374/is_n4_v57/ai_19582381), looks pretty good. Is that the kind of thing you were looking for, KingDavid? That the last survey was taken several years ago shouldn't make much difference.

The article cited by Mr Billion from a 1998 Nature magazine, http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/news/file002.html, seems somewhat different. Actually, I'm still trying to compare and contrast the two, which seem to rely on the same stats.

More stats and commentary here: http://www.enigmaticearth.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=148 , but not original sources.

Similar and equally non-source article, possibly a version of the same 2005 study, at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8916982/

The last two seem to be pretty non-biased and are pretty much what I'm looking for, and they say that 38% of natural scientists don't believe in God and 31% of social scientists don't believe in God. The earlier one gives a higher percentage (45% disbelieve and 15% doubt or are agnostic), but is discussing belief in a personal God, and I am looking more for belief in ANY kind of God, including the deist version.

It looks like the survey that the last two refer to was conducted by Rice University, and here's a page from Rice University's website about it which gives a bit more detail: http://www.rice.edu/sallyport/2006/winter/sallyport/scientists.html

It doesn't give any details on exactly how the question was phrased or what choices of answers the respondents were given. But so far, this seems to be the closest to what I was looking for. Thanks!

David

--------------------
www.MySpace.com/KDavid8

Posts: 2530 | From: Lansing, MI | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.

Instant Graemlins
   


Post new topic  Post a reply Close topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Urban Legends Reference Pages

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2