Scientists and belief in the existence of God

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In his essay Of Atheism Sir Francis Bacon wrote: "I had rather believe all the fables in the Legend, and the Talmud, and the Alcoran (Koran), than that this universal frame is without a mind."[1]

The scientific revolution was birthed in a Christianized Europe (see: Christianity and science). And devout Christians played a significant role in the scientific revolution.[2]

Strictly speaking, the existence of God is a philosophical question and not a scientific question since God is supernatural and thus outside of nature.

The majority of philosophers of religion, or those who have extensively studied the issue of the existence of God, are theists (72 percent).[3]

Poll: Over half of American scientists believe in some form of deity or higher power

According to a 2009 Pew Research poll of the members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, "just over half of scientists (51%) believe in some form of deity or higher power; specifically, 33% of scientists say they believe in God, while 18% believe in a universal spirit or higher power."[4]

Doctors believe in God more than social scientists. Medical science is often more reliable than social science

Few, if any, political scientists predicted early on that Donald Trump would be the leading Republican candidate in the 2016 GOP primary. 27 percent of American political scientists believe in the existence of God while 76 percent of American doctors said they believe in God.[5] Compared to medical science which has many effective medicines and surgical procedures, the social science of political science is often unreliable.

See also: Atheism and health

NBC News reported: "In the survey of 1,044 doctors nationwide, 76 percent said they believe in God, 59 percent said they believe in some sort of afterlife, and 55 percent said their religious beliefs influence how they practice medicine."[6]

On the other hand, according to Livescience.com, 31 percent of social scientists believe in God.[7] 27 percent of political scientists, who are social scientists, believe in the existence of God.[8]

Compared to medical science which has many effective medicines and surgical procedures, social science is often unreliable. For example, few economists (economics is a social science) in academia predicted the Great Depression or the 1987 financial crisis. Ludwig von Mises was snubbed by economists worldwide when he warned of a credit crisis in the 1920s.[9] Few, if any, political scientists predicted early on that Donald Trump would be the leading Republican candidate in the 2016 GOP primary.

The political scientist Emily Thorson wrote at the Politico website:

Late last semester, a student showed up during my office hours. She sat down across from me, looking worried. I assumed she wanted to discuss her upcoming paper, but she had something else in mind. “Professor,” she said. “How did Donald Trump happen?”

This is the question everyone seems to be asking these days. Trump’s rise has defied the predictions of pundits and pollsters, repeatedly embarrassing those who swore that he would flame out. I’m a political scientist, and I count myself among that number. In September, I offered my students a $500 bet that he wouldn’t become the Republican nominee — a wager I’m increasingly glad that none of them took me up on.[10]

In an article entitled How reliable are the social sciences?, Cary Cutting wrote in the New York Times:

While the physical sciences produce many detailed and precise predictions, the social sciences do not. The reason is that such predictions almost always require randomized controlled experiments, which are seldom possible when people are involved. For one thing, we are too complex: our behavior depends on an enormous number of tightly interconnected variables that are extraordinarily difficult to distinguish and study separately. Also, moral considerations forbid manipulating humans the way we do inanimate objects. As a result, most social science research falls far short of the natural sciences’ standard of controlled experiments.[11]

Social science of psychology very frequently contains pseudoscience

See also: Psychology

Psychology is a social science.

Among American college professors, psychology professors have the highest percentage of atheists (50% of American college professors are atheists).[12]

In 2014, the science journal Nature reported that over half of psychology studies fail reproducibility test.[13]

In 2011, the New York Times declared:

Also common is a self-serving statistical sloppiness. In an analysis published this year, Dr. Wicherts and Marjan Bakker, also at the University of Amsterdam, searched a random sample of 281 psychology papers for statistical errors. They found that about half of the papers in high-end journals contained some statistical error.[14]

Theodore Beale reported:

This is why therapy is reliably doomed to failure:..

In addition to the 46 percent of psychologists who the NHS reports as being depressed, "out of 800 psychologists sampled, 29 per cent reported suicidal ideation and 4 per cent reported attempting suicide."...

Would you go to a plumber whose toilet is overflowing? Would you hire a computer programmer who didn't know how to use a computer? Then why would you ever talk to one of these nutjobs in order to fix whatever mental issues you might be having?...

There is very little scientific evidence of the benefits of psychology. I read one recent study which showed that neurotic individuals actually stabilize on their own at a higher rate than those who seek therapy. This is no surprise, as the foundations of psychology are literally fiction.[15]

The atheist psychologist Sigmund Freud promoted pseudoscience

See: The atheist psychologist Sigmund Freud promoted pseudoscience

Atheism and science

See also: Atheism and science

In the both the physical sciences and social sciences atheism has had a negative effect on science (see: Atheism and science).

See also

Notes