‘Induction over the history of science suggests that the best theories we have today will prove more or less untrue at the latest by tomorrow afternoon.’ Fodor, J. ‘Why Pigs don’t have wings,’ London Review of Books, 18th Oct 2007

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Kroto fails to convince

Harry Kroto explains why Professor Reiss was ‘asked’ to resign from the Royal Society in the Guardian 'Blinded by a divine light Creationists such as the Rev Reiss don't have the intellectual integrity to teach science.' (28/09/2008) Kroto may be brilliant as a scientist in his own field, but his knowledge of the philosophy and history of science is not so hot.

Kroto in the Guardian

Kroto comments that ‘It is clear that there is almost total ignorance about the real issues involved and a truly pathetic understanding of science – the culture that created the modern world – from anaesthetics and penicillin to jet engines and the internet.’ Interestingly Professor Peter Harrison of Oxford has argued that the Protestant Reformation, with its commitment to the literal reading of Scripture, enabled the development of science away from the pre-modern symbolic interpretation. In other words it led to the literal reading of nature. If you lose that where will science end up? Atheism will ultimately lead science to post modernism and hence destroy it because it takes away the notion of objective truth. Christian theism on the other hand is the true custodian of science because of its commitment to truth as an objective reality.

Kroto speaks about ‘intellectual integrity’ arguing that the religious person somehow lacks such integrity. He comments that the ‘fundamental philosophical issue’ is ‘the scientific mindset’ where ‘science is based solely on doubt-based, disinterested examination of the natural and physical world. It is entirely independent of personal belief.’ ‘…that is to accept absolutely nothing whatsoever, for which there is no evidence, as having any fundamental validity.’ But atheists deep down have an emotional commitment to the non-existence of God. The anger expressed when atheists are faced with the Christian challenge reveals an underlying emotional need to deny faith; as former Westminster Chapel Minister RT Kendall said, deep down atheists hate God, which is why they get so angry when pressed.

Further there is no evidence for atheism; there is no evidence at all for the non-existence of God. The truly honest intellectual position from a scientific perspective is to say that one cannot know whether God exists or not when starting science, and then proceed from an assumption that a deity may or may not exist - but also to accept that science may provide clues to God's existence when nature is studied closely, which is what the design argument does claim. Science must also recognise that there is knowledge, including knowledge about God, that lies beyond science. Scientism, the belief that science is the only source of objectively verifiable truth, is a self refuting fallacy because that statement is not objectively verifiable. Atheism then is as much belief as theism. Kroto comments that ‘only those questions that can be formulated in such a way that they can be subjected to detailed disinterested examination, and when so subjected reveal unequivocally and ubiquitously accepted data, may be significant.’ But all of science is based on untestable foundational assumptions because it is impossible to develop an infinite regress of causality. Why must atheistic assumptions have priority over theistic assumptions? Does Kroto know absolutely that there is no God? Of course he doesn’t, it is an emotional response and one based on belief. Pretending that atheism is superior to other foundations for science does not represent intellectual integrity.

Having demanded that the atheist position must take precedence over theistic or religious influences in science, Kroto then wants to believe that this is a ‘freethinkers perspective.’ Hardly – it is another type of dogmatic hegemony imposed upon science, this time by atheistic belief.

Kroto wants school children to read Sam Harris’s ‘Letter to Christian Nation’ so that the ‘flock may understand what intellectual integrity and true humanity actually involve’ and ‘see that the really "vicious" people are the religious ones who are dragging us back into the dark ages, rather than humanists struggling to save the Enlightenment.’

Forgive me for mentioning where atheistic humanism led the world in the last century; to Marxism, Hitler’s fascism, Pol Pot, Lenin, Stalin etc etc. The removal of Reiss by Kroto, Roberts and Dawkins may be seen as a ‘vicious’ act against a man who desired respectful dialogue. Even Dawkins thought it a ‘witch hunt,’ although one he accepted. In a multi-cultural nation, how can atheists claim the sole right to dictate what is taught in science, and in such a dogmatic manner? Atheists such as Kroto need to provide a reason why science should hold to objective truth in a world without ultimate meaning and value.
Andrew S


Ktisophilos said...

Oh yeah, making buckminsterfullerene really makes this Kroto an expert on biological evolution, the history of science, philosophy and all the rest he prattles on about.

Recommending that clown Sam Harris destroys Kroto's credibility. See Letter to a Maladjusted Misotheist: point by point response to Letter to a Christian Nation.

Anonymous said...

As with all right thinking religionists you like to point to the slaughters of the last century.

But what about the slaughters prior to the last century?
Who was responsible for and committed them?

Indeed isnt the HIS-story of christian Europe an endless chronice of slaughter all done in the name of the christian deity?

What about the many decades of carnage and destruction that was practised with a cruel vengeance by both catholics and protestants during the "religious" wars sparked off by the protestant reformation and the associated catholic counter-reformation.

People were slaughtered in their hundreds of thousands because of mean-spirited nit-picking differences.

Plus I quite like this reference which chronicles the benighted bllod-soaked truth of the role of the churches (both protestant and catholic) in the history of the world.


Hey ho, hey ho a slaughtering and a plundering we will go.

Onward christian soldiers indeed.

John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said...


Let's compare oranges with oranges.

The English Revolution is known as the bloodless revolution. Very few people were killed and the reason that some historians have put this down to was the restraining influence of Christianity.

On the other hand the French Revolution was very much a bloody one because it openly threw out Christianity and posited man (actually a hooker!) as the centre of the universe.

In any case, Christians killing each other (or others) goes very much against what Christ said and how he acted. The same can't be said for Pol Pot, Stalin etc. They WERE acting consistent with their low view of man.

Anyhow, how can an atheist even say what 'good' is? On whose/what authority do we take an objective measure and definition of THAT 'good'? Surely one atheist's good is another's evil. An atheist is not able to provide an ethical reason for acting good, whatever that good is, which is neither question begging nor redundant.