Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Does science make belief in God obsolete?


The various authors treat the question quite differently and this is fairly interesting. Most of the arguments made are not. Most seem to be pandering to the foundation, presumably in the hope of winning the prize.

In the sense that as science grows, belief in god becomes less relevant to explaining the universe, science does indeed seem to make belief in god obsolete. The fact that there are still some things we don't know about the universe in no way implies that these gaps be filled by god: the notion can be destroyed simply by asking "why god?" Not just why any particular god, but why a god at all? There is just nothing to suggest that a god is necessary.

The (dubious) idea that there is a role for belief in god because it is in some ways beneficial is not directly susceptible to this argument, because it would work whether god exists or not. However, it is tempting to speculate that as we learn more about people, how they interact, their motives, how they are affected by their environments, we might find substitutes for belief. These substitutes would be objectively superior in the sense that they would be more useful. They would allow us to make detailed predictions and to provide a systematic and objective framework to help us improve.

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