Atheism Intelligent Design Science

Templeton winner: Atheism is inconsistent with the scientific method

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Yesterday, we noted that physicist Marcelo Gleiser won the Templeton Prize. Now we think we have a better idea why Darwinian evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne is mad (“Templeton Prize awarded to physicist for blending science and woo”). We thought Coyne maybe didn’t have enough to do in his retirement if he even cares so much but then there Gleiser said something that must have yanked his chain real hard:

A physics and astronomy professor whose specializations include cosmology, 60-year-old Gleiser was born in Rio de Janeiro, and has been in the United States since 1986.

An agnostic, he doesn’t believe in God—but refuses to write off the possibility of God’s existence completely.

“Atheism is inconsistent with the scientific method,” Gleiser told AFP Monday from Dartmouth College, the New Hampshire university where he has taught since 1991.

“Atheism is a belief in non-belief. So you categorically deny something you have no evidence against.”

“I’ll keep an open mind because I understand that human knowledge is limited,” he added. AFP, “Physicist Marcelo Gleiser: ‘Science does not kill God’” at

That is, of course, a problem. To prove that something cannot exist, one needs a mathematical type of proof. For a look at this kind of question, see Robert J. Marks on Things that exist that are unknowable – though in that case, we are looking at a number that must exist and yet is unknowable.

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See also: Apparent non-crackpot physicist wins Templeton Prize Marcelo Gleiser sounds as though he thinks that the great mysteries of physics are about this universe, not space aliens, computer sim universes, cyborgs, and so forth (for another view, see 2011 Templeton winner Sir Martin Rees).


Neuroskeptic: Atheists are NOT genetically damaged Of course, the claim is nonsense but then those of us who have listened to rubbish about the God gene and such can’t help hiding a giggle. Hey, given that it’s Hate Your Local Atheist Week anyway, how about “Atheists have mutant genes, don’t live as long ” (This relates to Jerry Coyne being upset at Gleiser’s win. Coffee ready yet?)

4 Replies to “Templeton winner: Atheism is inconsistent with the scientific method

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    AaronS1978 says:

    It’s refreshing to see somebody say that. Literally I was just reading a forum post about how stupid that argument is, of course this is posted by an atheist.

    So it’s just nice to see

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    News says:

    AaronS1978, Gleiser likely means that proving a negative is a tricky business. It requires mathematical rigor, not merely an unfortunate experience with a church.

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    bornagain77 says:

    as to “Atheism is a belief in non-belief.”

    by David Bentley Hart – June 2013
    One of the strangest claims often made by purveyors and consumers of today’s popular atheism is that disbelief in God involves no particular positive philosophy of reality,,,,
    it is absurd to think that one can profess atheism in any meaningful way without thereby assenting to an entire philosophy of being, however inchoate one’s sense of it may be. The philosophical naturalist’s view of reality is not one that merely fails to find some particular object within the world that the theist imagines can be descried there; it is a very particular representation of the nature of things, entailing a vast range of purely metaphysical commitments.

    Principally, it requires that one believe that the physical order, which both experience and reason say is an ensemble of ontological contingencies, can exist entirely of itself, without any absolute source of actuality. It requires also that one resign oneself to an ultimate irrationalism: For the one reality that naturalism can never logically encompass is the very existence of nature (nature being, by definition, that which already exists); it is a philosophy, therefore, surrounded, permeated, and exceeded by a truth that is always already super naturam, and yet a philosophy that one cannot seriously entertain except by scrupulously refusing to recognize this.

    It is the embrace of an infinite paradox: the universe understood as an “absolute contingency.” It may not amount to a metaphysics in the fullest sense, since strictly speaking it possesses no rational content—it is, after all, a belief that all things rest upon something like an original moment of magic—but it is certainly far more than the mere absence of faith.

    Moreover, although some atheists may claim “belief in non belief” Studies establish that the design inference is ‘knee jerk’ inference that is built into everyone, especially including atheists, and that atheists have to mentally work suppressing their “knee jerk” design inference!

    Is Atheism a Delusion?

    Design Thinking Is Hardwired in the Human Brain. How Come? – October 17, 2012
    Excerpt: “Even Professional Scientists Are Compelled to See Purpose in Nature, Psychologists Find.” The article describes a test by Boston University’s psychology department, in which researchers found that “despite years of scientific training, even professional chemists, geologists, and physicists from major universities such as Harvard, MIT, and Yale cannot escape a deep-seated belief that natural phenomena exist for a purpose” ,,,
    Most interesting, though, are the questions begged by this research. One is whether it is even possible to purge teleology from explanation.

    Richard Dawkins take heed: Even atheists instinctively believe in a creator says study – Mary Papenfuss – June 12, 2015
    Excerpt: Three studies at Boston University found that even among atheists, the “knee jerk” reaction to natural phenomenon is the belief that they’re purposefully designed by some intelligence, according to a report on the research in Cognition entitled the “Divided Mind of a disbeliever.”
    The findings “suggest that there is a deeply rooted natural tendency to view nature as designed,” writes a research team led by Elisa Järnefelt of Newman University. They also provide evidence that, in the researchers’ words, “religious non-belief is cognitively effortful.”
    Researchers attempted to plug into the automatic or “default” human brain by showing subjects images of natural landscapes and things made by human beings, then requiring lightning-fast responses to the question on whether “any being purposefully made the thing in the picture,” notes Pacific-Standard.
    “Religious participants’ baseline tendency to endorse nature as purposefully created was higher” than that of atheists, the study found. But non-religious participants “increasingly defaulted to understanding natural phenomena as purposefully made” when “they did not have time to censor their thinking,” wrote the researchers.
    The results suggest that “the tendency to construe both living and non-living nature as intentionally made derives from automatic cognitive processes, not just practised explicit beliefs,” the report concluded.
    The results were similar even among subjects from Finland, where atheism is not a controversial issue as it can be in the US.
    “Design-based intuitions run deep,” the researchers conclude, “persisting even in those with no explicit religious commitment and, indeed, even among those with an active aversion to them.”

    i.e. It is not that Atheists do not see purpose and/or Design in nature and biology, it is that Atheists, for whatever severely misguided reason, live in denial of the purpose and/or Design that they themselves see in nature. And yes, ‘denialism’ is considered a mental illness.

    In the psychology of human behavior, denialism is a person’s choice to deny reality, as a way to avoid a psychologically uncomfortable truth.
    Denialism – Wikipedia

    There is hope though,

    Cognitive Conditioning and the Distortion of Reality – Brian Miller – April 17, 2018
    Excerpt: On the bright side, I have found that the cognitive conditioning, (i.e. DCDD), can be overcome by those who have a very strong desire to know the truth. And people who leave philosophically oppressive academic institutions often find work in environments that are much more congenial to exploration. The conditioning can then wane, and their design-detection capacities and critical thinking can reengage. At that point, many describe a process where “scales seemed to fall from my eyes,” and the evidence for design in nature becomes self-evident, as does the logical incoherence of many materialist rationalizations to deny it.

    Synopsis of ‘Is Belief in God Properly Basic?’ by Alvin Plantinga
    Excerpt: Alvin Plangtinga argues that belief in God is properly basic as follows.
    1. Basic beliefs can be justified and therefore be properly basic.
    2. The right conditions are the justificatory grounds for proper basic beliefs.
    3. If our cognitive faculties, which are aimed at truth, are functioning properly in the right conditions they will produce properly basic beliefs.
    4. God created us with a cognitive faculty aimed at the truth of His presence. This faculty is our sensus divinitatis (SD).
    5. Belief in God is produced by our (SD) sensus divinitatis (sense of divinity).
    6. The right conditions for this faculty are everywhere since God’s glory is everywhere.
    7. (From 5 & 6) Belief in God is produced by our (SD) in the right conditions.
    8. Therefore, belief in God is properly basic.

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