Catdui's Comment - NewStatesman 25th April 2011 - "I have no religious belief and yet I am a tribal Christian" Martin Rees Astrophysicist, Astronomer Royal and Master of Trinity College, Cambridge.
I enjoyed Martin Rees article in the NewStatesmen this week "I have no religious belief and yet I am a tribal Christian" but, I am always surprised by the notion perpetuated by intelligent and respected scientists when writing these articles or similar books, the notion that they themselves have no faith (religious belief) or bias.
Everyone has a faith, belief, religion, world view or ism of some kind. To suggest otherwise is either ignorance or lies. To state the blooming obvious you will fall into one of two camps "Atheism" a set of beliefs held by Atheists "There is no God" and "Theism" is a set of beliefs held by Theists "There is a God". From each of these flow the details of one's belief i.e. Naturalist (Nature did it like this....), Christian (God did it this way......), Muslim (God did it that way), etc.
Even though Martin says in his article "But we shouldn't set up this debate as "religion V science"; instead we should strive for peaceful coexistence....." he still does not seem to recognise that his own "beliefs" and "studies" effect his view of the universe or science in general. This perpetuates the myth that study in the sciences is carried out in someway, by people with no bias, an empty mind and no life experiences to cloud their view.
I applaud Martin for his request for more critical thinking and wider debate in science however, in order to do this, we first need to be a little more honest with ourselves regarding the effect of our own beliefs on science. After all, we share the same facts and the same universe, it is how we interpret and critic this information through scientific method that matters.
I suggest a good place to start would be in the schools and universities. Let our students and scientists for that matter, ask any questions they wish regardless of its premise, which I have already postured, we all have. We should not have a situation in scientific study, as is the case in the United States at the moment, where you are not allow to challenge the current paradigm (belief), this just takes science back to the times of Galileo and others.
Science must! be open to critic. It has been stuck in one 19th century dogma for far to long without allowing any proper, open scientific critic or debate in our institutions and especially in the our media. This is the biggest threat to science and our future.
I leave you all with one of my favourite sayings "Beware the sound of one hand clapping!"
Catdui Comment - Adams Apple - April 2011