Theoretical physicist Richard Feynman (1918–1988) is not particularly Dawkins-like but note this:
Belief in God – and the facts of science
That brings us to the second difficulty our student has in trying to weld science and religion: Why does it often end up that the belief in God – at least, the God of the religious type – is considered to be very unreasonable, very unlikely? I think that the answer has to do with the scientific things – the facts or partial facts – that the man learns.
For instance, the size of the universe is very impressive, with us on a tiny particle whirling around the sun, among a hundred thousand million suns in this galaxy, itself among a billion galaxies.
Again, there is the close relation of biological man to the animals, and of one form of life to another. Man is a latecomer in a vast evolving drama; can the rest be but a scaffolding for his creation?
Yet again, there are the atoms of which all appears to be constructed, following immutable laws. Nothing can escape it; the stars are made of the same stuff, and the animals are made of the same stuff, but in such complexity as to mysteriously appear alive – like man himself.
It is a great adventure to contemplate the universe beyond man, to think of what it means without man – as it was for the great part of its long history, and as it is in the great majority of places. When this objective view is finally attained, and the mystery and majesty of matter are appreciated, to then turn the objective eye back on man viewed as matter, to see life as part of the universal mystery of greatest depth, is to sense an experience which is rarely described. It usually ends in laughter, delight in the futility of trying to understand. These scientific views end in awe and mystery, lost at the edge in uncertainty, but they appear to be so deep and so impressive that the theory that it is all arranged simply as a stage for God to watch man’s struggle for good and evil seems to be inadequate.
So let us suppose that this is the case of our particular student, and the conviction grows so that he believes that individual prayer, for example, is not heard. (I am not trying to disprove the reality of God; I am trying to give you some idea of – some sympathy for – the reasons why many come to think that prayer is meaningless.) Of course, as a result of this doubt, the pattern of doubting is turned next to ethical problems, because, in the religion which he learned, moral problems were connected with the word of God, and if the God doesn’t exist, what is his word? But rather surprisingly, I think, the moral problems ultimately come out relatively unscathed; at first perhaps the student may decide that a few little things were wrong, but he often reverses his opinion later, and ends with no fundamentally different moral view.
There seems to be a kind of independence in these ideas. In the end, it is possible to doubt the divinity of Christ, and yet to believe firmly that it is a good thing to do unto your neighbor as you would have him do unto you. It is possible to have both these views at the same time; and I would say that I hope you will find that my atheistic scientific colleagues often carry themselves well in society.“The Relation of Science and Religion” is a transcript of a talk given by Dr. Feynman at the Caltech YMCA Lunch Forum on May 2, 1956.