Criticism of religion from the viewpoint of the science
Dispute about Religion, Science and Ideology
Then I perceived that wisdom is more profitable than folly,
as light is more profitable than darkness.
Ecclesiastes 2, 13
As a professional scientist I am fighting for truth throughout all my life. I know very well how difficult it is to find the truth, to verify it, or even to prove it. In ordinary life, however, I encounter people (some of them being my colleague scientists) who “just so” declare nonsense of any kind as true and do not take troubles to support its truth in any way. On the contrary, they seem to be going to ask others to disprove their fictions – since they view them to be self-evident.
Those present day prophets include astrologers, homeopathists, “experts” on UFOs, admirers of Däniken, inventors of perpetuum mobile, politicians of all possible orientations, ideologists, propagators of oriental mysticisms, various preachers, god seekers, heralds shouting aloud “Jesus loves you” at every corner. Their views are in my opinion mostly absurd, comical, illogical, although sometimes they make appearance of interest in truth. The majority of scientists just shake their heads over them – they would not debase themselves by considering them seriously. I was also originally holding such a position against them but when after the year 1989 in my country (fall of Communism in Czechoslovakia) the positions vacated by Communist ideologists became filled by Christian dignitaries, when the Communist party is being replaced by the Church, when the Communist leaders and party secretaries are going to be substituted by bishops and cardinals, when the craving for power shifts from Communist heads to Catholic hearts, I consider keeping silent for coward.
I hold the view that scientists have responsibilities towards the majority of population. They are professional thinkers, they are those who know most about truth and the ways how to discover it, and the people trust them in many situations. However, if a scientist does not object against delirious visions of spiritualists, or experts on Bermud triangles, when he keeps silent under the trumpets of creationists, the people can make the conclusion that he agrees with them. This holds especially in situations, occurring from time to time, when some well-known scientists publicly declare that some ideologies are in agreement with the truth of their own specialization. Of course, it is their right – if they are able to prove the claim. But they regularly just declare the claims admitting that they just believe in them. However, simple people think that if a well-known scientist believes in something, his belief has solid footing, since the belief of a well-known scientist has to be essentially different from the belief of an ordinary man claiming in a pub that he believes his wife. Scientists represent for many people authorities and they must understand that their claims are taken by simple-minded public as serious and reliable assertions. Scientists should not gamble with confidence, because people generalize views of one scientist to all scientists, they take the attitude of one scientist to represent science as a whole.
That is the reason why I have decided to show inquisitive readers what is the present-day attitude of science to the most widespread ideologies, what actually the majority of scientists says about truth, exceeding their own field of specialization. As various sorts of pseudoscience are unanimously criticized by all scientists, including those defending religious beliefs, I will concentrate mainly on criticism of religion since this is the only ideology which, due to certain pseudomoral motives, is defended by many politicians and scientists. I will try to prove that the belief in various religions and ideologies has nothing in common with science. I stress the word try because I have rich experience with fanatics (e. g. those who are again and again inventing perpetuum mobile) and this experience destroyed all my illusions that reasonable arguments will persuade everyone.
I was writing something on the topic long ago, but I mostly satisfied myself with drafts. Now I decided to refurbish older works, finalize the drafts and submit to reader’s judgment a sort of essays which I would like at last publish in a form of a book.
Since I do not understand some mental procedures of believing colleagues or common believers, it is rather difficult for me to criticize them. That is why I expect that the readers will continue to approach me and through their suggestions, criticism and questions, will contribute to making these essays better and responding to questions actually posed by people, not the questions which just I think people are interested in. My intentions are namely outspoken and sincere. I am interested solely in truth and my fundamental vantage point is the one of wordless amazement, how such a crude misunderstanding of truth, as I am facing, is possible at all.
I hope the feedback from readers will help me in making the final work, which will give true answers to the majority of questions distressing people, the answers being of the form formulated by people themselves.
I would also acknowledge very much the help in correcting major errors to English, since this is not my mother tongue!
In my view the collection of essays, growing before reader’s very eyes and in cooperation with him, can be arranged into several parts according to the relation of erroneous views to truth, belief, science, moral and ideology. Many essays represent just glosses pertaining to current events manifesting various attitudes of people (Examples). To prevent the reading from being boring, I will add from time to time hints for independent thinking (Exercises).
I wish you a lot of amusement and enlightenment while reading my attempts at clear formulation of controversial views. I hope that not only I will learn how to write intelligibly but also you will learn how to read with understanding.
science, religion, truth, proof, god, logic