On a recent podcast, the speaker conveyed a portion of a work by “an avowed skeptic” of the Christian faith named David Berlinski (PhD, Princeton University). While he does hold to intelligent design (something that many secular atheists use to disqualify him from speaking on scientific matters), he has spent his career teaching and writing in the field of mathematics and science.
Theologically, he is an agnostic. While he refuses to theorize on the origins of life, he does however refuse to set aside supernatural possibilities for origins. In his book, The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions, which he wrote in response to Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion, he asks some questions back to the scientific community that we all would do well to ponder. While this may not have been intended as a defense of religious thought, these are questions that each of us (religious or a-religious) should consider.
Proceed, Dr. Berlinski:
- Has anyone provided a proof of God’s inexistence? Not even close.
- Has quantum cosmology explained the emergence of the universe or why it is here? Not even close.
- Have the sciences explained why our universe seems to be fine-tuned to allow for the existence of life? Not even close.
- Are physicists and biologists willing to believe in anything so long as it is not religious thought? Close enough.
- Has rationalism in moral thought provided us with an understanding of what is good, what is right, and what is moral? Not close enough.
- Has secularism in the terrible twentieth century been a force for good? Not even close to being close.
- Is there a narrow and oppressive orthodoxy of thought and opinion within the sciences? Close enough.
- Does anything in the sciences or in their philosophy justify the claim that religious belief is irrational? Not even ballpark.
- Is scientific atheism a frivolous exercise in intellectual contempt? Dead on.
The very reasons many atheists lob at theists for accepting their beliefs should also be asked of themselves. Could atheism be a faith-based religion as well? Absolutely!
Should you wish to read more about Berlinski and the pretensions of atheism in the scientific community, here’s some more possibilities:
- Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions: A Conversation with David Berlinski
- A Debate Between Christopher Hitchens and David Berlinski