Short and sweet today. It blows my mind how many science folk think that to be a REAL scientist you have to be an atheist. (While this is from my experience the minority, it is still a vocal minority.) I appreciate that some who espouse this view have come to an atheistic position via in-depth study and logical reasoning. I think that some do this by taking reductionistic scientific materialism to the logical extreme and thus come to the conclusion (at this extreme) that belief in God is impossible. If it is impossible, then clearly you can’t be a scientist and hold this belief, with the assumption that all will take it to the logical extreme and that this is, of course, valid. I get why they think that way.
But what most annoys me about this vocal minority is that it is apparent that a number of them didn’t do the thinking and reasoning for themselves. Instead, it’s become ‘cool’ or it gets you in the ‘in-crowd’ to shout out that real scientists can’t believe in God. I have worked in labs ranging from small ma and pa shop types to corporate beasts run by Nobel Prize winners. None of the lab heads has been to my knowledge an atheist. Perhaps I’m wrong and they are. The point is that it doesn’t matter.
For Francis Collins to go from a real scientist to not because he shares his Christian beliefs is ridiculous. If scientists are afraid that he will “use his belief” in negative ways as NIH head, fine, say that. (I don’t agree but that’s beside the point.) But to say that he is now no longer a REAL scientist is, to me, ignorant and reeks of grasping at straws to defend an atheist position. There are other better ways to defend atheism. Use one of them instead.
We don’t use faith and beliefs to monitor the abilities or quality of scientists. Degrees, peer-reviewed publications, promotions, awards, etc., is how we do it.