Opponents of Faith
"Science, the system of belief founded securely on publicly shared reproducible knowledge, emerged from religion. As science discarded its chrysalis to become its present butterfly, it took over the heath. There is no reason to suppose that science cannot deal with every aspect of existence. Only the religious - among whom I include not only the prejudiced but the uninformed - hope there is a dark corner of the physical universe, or of the universe of experience, that science can never hope to illuminate. But science has never encountered a barrier, and the only grounds for supposing that reductionism will fail are pessimism on the part of scientists and fear in the minds of the religious."
"We humans are blobs of organized mud, which through the impersonal workings of nature's patterns have developed the capacity to contemplate and cherish and engage with the intimidating complexity of the world around us ...The meaning we find in life is not transcendent ..."
"Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved."
"Biology is the study of complex things that appear to have been designed for a purpose."
"To put it bluntly but fairly, anyone today who doubts that the variety of life on this planet was produced by a process of evolution is simply ignorant - inexcusably ignorant."
"Philosophically, the notion of a beginning of the present order of Nature is repugnant ... I should like to find a genuine loophole."
Bart Ehrman "The bottom line I think is one we haven't even talked about, which is whether there can be such a thing as historical evidence for a miracle, and, I think, the answer is a clear 'no,' and I think virtually all historians agree with me on that."
Niles Eldridge "One of the most arresting facts that I have ever learned is that life goes back as far in Earth history as we can possibly trace it ... In the very oldest rocks that stand a chance of showing signs of life, we find those signs."
"By coupling undirected, purposeless variation to the blind, uncaring process of natural selection, Darwin made theological or spiritual explanations of the life processes superfluous."
About Darwin's theory "an evolutionary theory based on chance variation and natural selection ... a rigidly materialistic (and basically atheistic) version of evolution "
"Before Darwin, we thought that a benevolent God had created us ...biology took away our status as paragons created in the image of God."
"My practice as a scientist is atheistic. That is to say, when I set up an experiment I assume that no god, angel, or devil is going to interfere with its course; and this assumption has been justified by such success as I have achieved in my professional career. I should therefore be intellectually dishonest if I were not also atheistic in the affairs of the world." Fact and Faith (1934) Preface.
"to destroy the intellectual and moral pretensions of Christianity in its most committed forms."
"Religion poisons everything."
"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is impotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Whence then evil?" Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, p. 244
"I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently assumed that it had not; and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption. The philosopher who finds no meaning for this world is not concerned exclusively with the problem of pure metaphysics; he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he should personally not do as he wants to . . For myself .. the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation, sexual and political."
British evolutionary biologist, eugenicist, and internationalist. He was a proponent of natural selection, and a leading figure in the mid-twentieth century modern evolutionary synthesis. "Darwinism has come of age, so to speak. We are no longer having to bother about establishing the fact of evolution."
An English biologist specialising in comparative anatomy. He is known as "Darwin's Bulldog" for his advocacy of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. Huxley's famous debate in 1860 with Samuel Wilberforce was a key moment in the wider acceptance of evolution and in his own career.
"As a natural process, of the same character as the development of a tree from its seed, or of a fowl from its egg, evolution excludes creation and all other kinds of supernatural intervention."
"I am not an agnostic. I am an atheist. My attitude is not based on science, but rather on faith... The absence of a Creator, the non-existence of God is my childhood faith, my adult belief, unshakable and holy."
"One of the things about quantum mechanics is not only can nothing become something, nothing always becomes something. Nothing is unstable. Nothing will always produce something in quantum mechanics."
Naturalism is "a philosophical position, empirical method that regards everything that exists or occurs to be conditioned in its existence or occurrence by causal factors within one all-encompassing system of nature."
Reported but not historically confirmed dialogue: Napoleon: "They tell me you have written this large book on the system of the universe, and have never even mentioned it Creator." Laplace: "Sire, I had no need of that hypothesis."
Cited in Meyer's "Return of the God Hypothesis", p59.
Living organisms "appear to have been carefully and artfully designed."
"that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door."
"I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn't just that I don't believe in God and, naturally, hope I'm right in my belief. It's that I hope there is no God! I don't want there to be a God; I don't want the universe to be like that. My guess is that this cosmic authority problem is not a rare condition and that it is responsible for much of the scientism and reductionism of our time."
"It is more reasonable to believe such elemental things [wife beating, child abuse] to be evil than to believe any skeptical theory that tells us we cannot know or reasonably believe any of these things to be evil ... I firmly believe that this is bedrock and right and that anyone who does not believe it cannot have probed deeply enough into the grounds of his moral beliefs."
"The basic assumption of science is that the world can be explained entirely in physical terms, without recourse to godlike entities. "
"As the creationists claim, belief in modern evolution makes atheists of people. One can have a religious view that is compatible with evolution only if the religious view is indistinguishable from atheism. "
"..ethics as we understand it is an illusion fobbed off on us by our genes to get us to cooperate .."
"..Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving .."
"The cosmos is all there is, or was, or ever shall be."
"Man is the result of a purposeless and materialistic process that did not have him in mind. He was not planned.
We can no longer base our ethics on the idea that human beings are a special form of creation made in the image of God, singled out from all other animals, and along possessing an immortal soul. Our better understanding of our own nature has bridged the gulf that was once thought to lie between ourselves and other species, so why should we believe that the mere fact that a being is a member of the species Homo Sapiens endows its life with some unique, almost infinite value?"
"If God created the universe as a special place for humanity, he seems to have wasted an awfully large amount of space where humanity will never make an appearance." "God: The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows that God Does Not Exist" (Amherst, NY: Promethius, 2007), p156.
"All religious theories must submit to the control of science and relinquish all thought of controlling it."
"I will not believe that philosophically because I do not want to believe in God. Therefore, I choose to believe in that which I know is scientifically impossible: spontaneous generation arising to evolution."
"how surprising it is that the laws of nature and the initial conditions of the universe should allow for the existence of beings who could observe it. Life as we know it would be impossible if any one of several physical quantities had slightly different values."
Wilson describes his philosophy, which he calls "scientific humanism", which he claims will "drain the fever swamps of religion and blank-slate dogma'. "Still held by only a tiny minority of the world's population, it considers humanity to be a biological species that evolved over millions of years in a biological world, acquiring unprecedented intelligence yet still guided by complex inherited emotions and biased channels of learning. Human nature exists and it was self-assembled. It is the commonality of the hereditary responses and propensities that define our species."
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