Sunday, December 27, 2015

Can A Scientist Be An Atheist?

Just a quick one for a Sunday morning.

Whenever I've got a question about something in Catholicism and I dig into what's behind it, I always find a reasonable proof of the practice or article of faith derived from basic first principles. The recent hoo-hah about marriage is a good example. Since the days of St. Thomas Aquinas and his mentor, St. Albertus Magnus in the 1200s, Catholicism has reconciled classical philosophy, science and theology. Our definition of marriage is based upon a few, basic principles.
  1. Theology cannot contradict science.
  2. Biology shows that babies come from the union of one man and one woman.
  3. Babies are human beings which are created as distinct from other animals and are the apex of Creation as they have souls*.
Ergo, one man and one woman is a unique and special relationship above all others as it creates that which is above all others. We call that relationship, "marriage." You may not agree with it and you may prefer a more expansive definition, but you have to admit the Catholic position holds together logically.

Dittos with creation and existence. All of those nasty empirical constants that just happen to have values exactly what were needed to sustain life were created by a loving God who designed the Universe for us. Again, you don't have to agree with it to admit that it holds together.

As a scientist, if you're faced with a theory that works, in order to dispute it you need a superior theory. I've yet to encounter one in atheism. Atheists always get tripped up by the empirical constants, free will, consciousness and more. 

Money-grubbing charlatans like Sam Harris provide no defense as they wave their hands at these things while sneering at us. Nietzsche himself, perhaps the most honest atheist of all, struggled with (among other things) the concept of art in a Godless world. What the heck was it and why did we do it? I've consumed a bit of Richard Dawkins, Bill Maher and Christopher Hitchens, but once you strip away their scoffing, you're left with ... what?

It would be an interesting experiment to bring one of their books into Google Docs and delete all of the sections critical of religion, leaving only the parts where they posit an alternative theory of things. I wonder what would be left. Anything? "Science is great!" perhaps? I've already got that, thanks to St. Thomas Aquinas.

Where's the competing, superior theory?

If your opponent throws down a full house, you're going to need four of a kind or a straight flush to beat it. Holding a pair of jacks and yelling isn't going to work.
* - I'm butchering this one, but I hope you get the point.

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