The scientific Fall of God part 1
There's an old bromide, that Christians, agnostics and consilience-loving scientists have managed to make everyone believe, that says "science can't prove gods don't exist".
This, of course, is utter nonsense. There are plenty of scientific arguments disproving the existence of a god, including the Argument from Scale (in Everitt, 2004), Occam’s Razor, the Big Bang Cosmological Argument For God’s Nonexistence, the Argument from Evolution, the Argument From the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and the Argument from Quantum Physics. All of these arguments use facts gleaned from scientific discoveries to show that the concept of gods does not jibe with what we know of the universe.
How can a god exist when nothing can explain its existence ? How can there be a Creator with intent when the Big Bang proves the absence of intent ? How can we assume the existence of something which contradicts basic laws of nature ? To do so is to ask for a renouncement of the intellect altogether.
This entry, however, is not about those arguments. I want to talk of the more fundamental way in which science disproves theism. What is the foundation of science ? Naturalism. More specifically, the idea that everything can be explained by looking at how nature operates. Scientific hypotheses stand or fall on the basis of empirical testing and how they fit previous testing - without any for non-empirical considerations.
The universe of naturalism is a causally self-contained one. It is a universe where no bugaboos exist to change the course of natural law, where everything is observable, ordered, and predictable, at least in theory. It is a universe where the mind of man only faces one obstacle : its own limits and foibles. The Christian universe, on the other hand, is a universe where natural law does not exist, and where man's mind is impotent and must be chained.
The efficacy of science, in effect, is a confirming experiment for atheism and against theism (as discussed on the Occam's Razor page). There is no evil daemon, no god, mucking up the mechanisms of the universe.
This is not a totally ironclad argument for the non-existence of gods - it could be, for example, that gods are mucking up the universe and we simply haven't reached the frontiers of science yet. But this is merely a "god of the gaps" argument. It could be equally true that more evidence for the non-existence of gods hasn't been discovered yet, that would make the "god of the gaps" dissapear completely. We can't make a determination based on unknowns : we have to use the evidence we have at hand. And all the evidence at hand indicates non-existence.
Any single observation of natural law disproves the concept of gods. If there was a Creator, which randomly unrolled spacetime (or if not randomly, at least in a way that has nothing to do with causality as we understand it, which is functionally the same thing), then the chance that we would obtain any single natural law is ridiculously low. Just take the law of gravity applied to a rock. This rock, at every microsecond, emits gravity (through gravity waves, gravitrons, whatever) for its exact mass, nothing more or less. So if the law of gravity is false, we are expected to believe that this rock completely randomly emits the exact amount of gravity proportional to its mass, every single microsecond. This is the equivalent of believing that you can roll a million dice, get all sixes, and do this millions of times. If anything is absurd in this universe, then this must be it.
I read this recently on a Usenet newsgroup : "I don't think you'll ever find god inside of a 100ml beaker in a science laboratory". Why not ? Did God not create everything ? Shouldn't its designs be apparent in all of Creation, just as man's designs are apparent in all of his creations ? That is to say, if God exists. If it doesn't, then we should not find a god inside of a 100ml beaker, or in anyone's mind, or in a chalice, or in a holy book, or anywhere else ! And this is what we observe.
More in part 2.