A reader’s response to one of my previous posts. Alan graciously agreed to let me share his thoughts with you:
My name is Alan. By way of introduction, I come from a young-earth creationist background, but “evolved” to an old-earth creationist position when I was in my early 20s, and then “evolved” further to an “evolutionary creationist” position about 3 years ago in my late 30s.
Anyway, I enjoyed many of your posts, in particular the one entitled “3 seriously bad theological implications of YEC.” I wanted to give you my two cents regarding your comment on the prevalence of atheism/agnosticism in the sciences (particularly the biological sciences). My view is that while it may be true that atheism is more prevalent in the sciences, my sense is that part (not all) of the reason for that is that Christians have largely abandoned the field!
Because of the false dichotomy between “evolution” and “belief in God,” a dichotomy promoted by BOTH atheists like Richard Dawkins AND creationists like Ken Ham and Ray Comfort, you are bound to have atheists more inclined to study/pursue subjects (evolutionary biology, paleontology, etc.) which they have been conditioned to believe 1) upholds their worldview and 2) undermines Christianity. Additionally, and for the same reason, you are bound to have Christians who tend to fear the study/pursuit of those same subjects, which they have been conditioned to believe (just like the atheist) 1) upholds atheism and 2) undermines Christianity. If the church had long ago come to reject the false dichotomy, it might have rather encouraged its people to pursue careers in biology, paleontology, etc., and there would likely be much more proportional representation of both Christians AND atheists in those fields.
What do you think?
I told Alan that I think he might be onto something. We know belief in God is much lower among scientists than it is in the general public, and, ironically, that fact is used to serve the agendas of two extreme and diametrically opposed views. Richard Dawkins, for example, makes use of the data in his book, “The God Delusion” and elsewhere, as proof that science has unraveled enough of life’s mysteries that we no longer have any “need” for God. Meanwhile, K-Ham and the like use it as evidence that the findings of science can’t be trusted (unless they come from Answers in Genesis!), and that the scientific endeavor itself is built upon a fundamentally atheistic worldview that erodes faith like acid.
I suppose the only way to really test their theories would be to analyze the percentage of individuals whose preexisting spiritual beliefs change upon in-depth exposure to the sciences. I’ve heard a number of anecdotes either way (believers becoming atheists the more they study science and vice versa), but I’m not aware that any comprehensive study such as this has ever been done. If it were undertaken, I would wager that its findings would support Alan’s hypothesis: That atheist scientists were generally inclined toward atheism before they became scientists, and that theist scientists were generally inclined toward theism before they became scientists.
And of course, I agree with Alan’s opinion that “faith or science” is a false dichotomy. I think the church, as a whole, was far more in line with what it should be when devout clergy like Gregor Mendel and Georges Lemaître were helping lead the world into a new era of scientific breakthrough, than it has been since certain branches of it embraced nonsense like “The Genesis Flood” with open arms.
What do you think, readers? Why is faith in God so much lower among scientists than the general public?