Why Scientists Can’t be Atheists

Posted on 27th June 2008 by Ryan Somma in Enlightenment Warrior - Tags:

I found the following quote from the former Vice President of Mensa International and president of the American Humanist Association and author of like a bazillion brilliant books very thought-provoking:

Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov

I prefer rationalism to atheism. The question of God and other objects-of-faith are outside reason and play no part in rationalism, thus you don’t have to waste your time in either attacking or defending.

Asimov was an avowed atheist in the context of his personal feelings, but the point he makes here does illustrate the flaw in rationalists even bothering with atheism, because it has no place in Empirical thought. While continual rejection of theist attempts to impose their irrationality on society remains imperative, taking a position of promoting atheism is equally irrational. The theism/atheism debate has no place in rationality whatsoever.

In other words, a Scientist who has the time to be an atheist isn’t doing enough science.


  1. I suggest you read fiction. Perferably fantasy. The possibility of God IS within evidence and reason and realities with God are extremely differant than those without them.

    Examples, of the top of my head would be D&D, Warhammer 40K, Narnia, etc.

    D&D is marked by dieties quite liberally bestoying their blessing upon their followers. You have people with the power to venture to the afterlife and talk to the dead. You have demonic infestation and good and evil as physical forces in the universe.

    40K is marked by faith in the God-Emperor keeping his followers from follwing victim to the taint and the power of the Choas Gods and gives his most faithful powers beyond that of mortal arms. You have the Space Marines formed of his flesh and blood who are literal angels and miracles and more.

    Narnia is marked by long periods of peace and tranquility marked by the occasional bloody war, where their God takes part and intervenes on their side. When their battle cry is “For Aslan” there is about a fifty percent chance he is actually there with them. They have a religion that has showed no signs of change in millenia.

    By contrast in our world, we have people who claim we have a God because he spoke to people and makes images on toast… oh, and didn’t kill everyone in disasters.

    In addition atheism is about belief. If there is no reason to believe than you should have a lack of belief.

    Comment by Samuel Skinner — June 28, 2008 @ 4:42 pm

  2. I prefer Asimov’s transcending the whole argument about belief or non-belief in god with the answer, Stop wasting my time. Why even dignify belief by responding to it with an avowal on non-belief? Let’s just get on with our lives.

    Comment by ideonexus — June 29, 2008 @ 5:43 pm

  3. Ahem, this marks the second time I have used this site to help with an assignment.

    I referenced this quote and you dumbing down definition in a very short essay asking if reason and faith can ever be reconciled. :D
    (I said no)

    Comment by DJ Nicko — October 2, 2008 @ 12:28 am

  4. Thanks Nick! That really does make all my blogging worth it. : )

    Comment by ideonexus — October 5, 2008 @ 9:38 am

  5. Unfortunately, I see a lot of areas where asserting ones belief and non-belief have ‘real life’ ramifications. The first is dogma. For example, many believers cite their religion as promoting certain social and political agendas (pro-life, anti-homosexual, etc.). These things obviously affect millions of people directly (and others indirectly). Perhaps if the only question were whether a creator existed rather than what s/he preached, the issue of dogma would not exist. However, we are still left with disputes that affect many areas of science, including the origin of life, cosmology, etc. With scientists drawing different conclusions (or rather, making divergent hypotheses) based on their respective theism or non-theism, scientific understanding may be hindered. Although this is less practical from an everyday perspective, it is still dispappointing that the pursuit of truth and knowledge is affected (indeed, the very knowledge of whether a deity exists can be purused based solely on the desire for intellectual fulfillment, which can be an end in itself). Thus, while I appreciate Asimov’s premise as being a plea for agnosticism, the reality is that the vocal theistic and religious segment of society persists, and in the face of such certitude, those with atheistic proclivities provide a much-needed counter-balance.

    Comment by Jessica — October 10, 2008 @ 2:10 am

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