Why are so many philosophers and scientists atheists?

Discussion about scientific issues as they relate to God and Christianity including archaeology, origins of life, the universe, intelligent design, evolution, etc.
Lux Aeterna
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Re: Why are so many philosophers and scientists atheists?

#16

Post by Lux Aeterna » Wed May 16, 2012 7:36 am

Ivellious wrote:
Higher education is generally biased against religion. It's not a surprise that products of that system will generally be less religious.
I hear this argument a ton, but this seems to contradict the argument brought up by a few members that say "well, actually there are lots of Christians that are professors". You can't claim bias in the system AND having a large number of people in the system. That just doesn't make sense.
No, there is no contradiction here. Just because lots of professors are Christian does not mean the system is without discrimination or bias, in the same way that having a black president doesn't mean that racism no longer exists in the United States.

My impression, after going through college and law school, is that promoting an atheist worldview in the classroom is far more acceptable than espousing Christian ideas. When a student is subjected to years of criticism of religion with no counter-balance, it seems reasonable that many of them would grow up to internalize the values that they were bombarded with for years. Of course, I doubt a Christian professor could get away with even vaguely promoting a religious belief, even as an aside, in most institutions.

This bias has no effect on how many Christian professors there actually are, other than the effect of indoctrination of course. My position is that the system allows for advocacy of atheist worldviews, but not religious worldviews, and you end up with more non-religious students as a result.

To be clear, I'm not advocating for forced religious instruction in colleges and institutions of higher learning. I don't think that professors should use their position of power to advocate for atheism, theism, or anything in between.

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Re: Why are so many philosophers and scientists atheists?

#17

Post by Ivellious » Wed May 16, 2012 11:29 am

Are you sure you aren't mixing up a secular worldview in class with an atheist worldview? With the exception of one professor (who only teaches a field school class, not regular classes), I haven't experienced a single professor who openly espouses atheism. Rather, everyone is basically religion-neutral and the subject is rarely even brought up. Some Christians consider "not talking about religion" as "fostering atheism", but I disagree.

Also, I disagree with your analogy about the president. The president might be mixed-race, but he does not actually impact all possible situations involving racism. On the other hand, professors actually are the ones involved with teaching and what they teach. At the college level, they are it as far as primary teachers. If they have such great numbers in academia, then the only explanation is that they choose not to blend religion with their field, and in that case it isn't bias, it is a choice.
A point: There are hundreds of Christian institutions in the US, and absolutely zero atheist institutions. At those schools, there is clearly a religious bias.

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Re: Why are so many philosophers and scientists atheists?

#18

Post by jlay » Wed May 16, 2012 11:38 am

Rather, everyone is basically religion-neutral and the subject is rarely even brought up.
If anyone believes there is such a thing as 'religion-neutral', then I have some ocean front property in Tennessee to sell you.

Also, there is little to distinquish secualar-humanism and atheism.
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Re: Why are so many philosophers and scientists atheists?

#19

Post by Ivellious » Wed May 16, 2012 12:08 pm

What I meant by religion neutral had nothing to do with what they practiced, but rather that they did not bring those views into the classroom. We have Christians, atheists, agnostics, Hindus, Muslims, and probably others that teach in our college of biology. All I meant was that there isn't any religion being offered in the classroom.

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Re: Why are so many philosophers and scientists atheists?

#20

Post by Lux Aeterna » Thu May 17, 2012 3:38 am

Ivellious wrote:Are you sure you aren't mixing up a secular worldview in class with an atheist worldview? With the exception of one professor (who only teaches a field school class, not regular classes), I haven't experienced a single professor who openly espouses atheism. Rather, everyone is basically religion-neutral and the subject is rarely even brought up. Some Christians consider "not talking about religion" as "fostering atheism", but I disagree.

Also, I disagree with your analogy about the president. The president might be mixed-race, but he does not actually impact all possible situations involving racism. On the other hand, professors actually are the ones involved with teaching and what they teach. At the college level, they are it as far as primary teachers. If they have such great numbers in academia, then the only explanation is that they choose not to blend religion with their field, and in that case it isn't bias, it is a choice.
A point: There are hundreds of Christian institutions in the US, and absolutely zero atheist institutions. At those schools, there is clearly a religious bias.
I'm not saying that teachers get up in front of class and tell the students how great atheism is. The bias I refer to usually comes in the form of derisive comments about religion or about a church. In my college experience, I recall quite a few (but not all) professors who would turn religion into the butt of a joke. The moral of the story: being religious is something to be laughed at, and the last thing a college student wants to be is the subject of ridicule.

I have no problem with institutions promoting an ideological agenda as long as that agenda is part of their mission. If someone decides to attend a Christian college, they know exactly what they are going to get. It's not secret that it's a Christian college and students can decide to attend or not. My problem is when schools present themselves as ideologically neutral when that's hardly the case.

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Re: Why are so many philosophers and scientists atheists?

#21

Post by Byblos » Thu May 17, 2012 5:05 am

Lux Aeterna wrote:I have no problem with institutions promoting an ideological agenda as long as that agenda is part of their mission. If someone decides to attend a Christian college, they know exactly what they are going to get. It's not secret that it's a Christian college and students can decide to attend or not. My problem is when schools present themselves as ideologically neutral when that's hardly the case.
Very well put. :clap:
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Re: Why are so many philosophers and scientists atheists?

#22

Post by Frogsterking » Fri May 18, 2012 6:56 pm

Byblos wrote:Why are so many philosophers and scientists atheists?

The answer is very simple, because classical philosophy has been all but forgotten by modern philosophy and for good reason, it has no answer for it. And when you can't provide a rational rebuttal, the smart thing to do is to ignore it and build another movement.
Explain?

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Re: Why are so many philosophers and scientists atheists?

#23

Post by 1over137 » Sat May 19, 2012 3:02 am

Lux Aeterna wrote: I'm not saying that teachers get up in front of class and tell the students how great atheism is. The bias I refer to usually comes in the form of derisive comments about religion or about a church. In my college experience, I recall quite a few (but not all) professors who would turn religion into the butt of a joke. The moral of the story: being religious is something to be laughed at, and the last thing a college student wants to be is the subject of ridicule
.
Never ever my university teachers made any comments about religion. They are physicists and some of them are Christians. I know that teachers respect each other.
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Re: Why are so many philosophers and scientists atheists?

#24

Post by Lux Aeterna » Sat May 19, 2012 6:32 am

1over137 wrote:
Lux Aeterna wrote: I'm not saying that teachers get up in front of class and tell the students how great atheism is. The bias I refer to usually comes in the form of derisive comments about religion or about a church. In my college experience, I recall quite a few (but not all) professors who would turn religion into the butt of a joke. The moral of the story: being religious is something to be laughed at, and the last thing a college student wants to be is the subject of ridicule
.
Never ever my university teachers made any comments about religion. They are physicists and some of them are Christians. I know that teachers respect each other.
Individual experiences may vary. I certainly can't speak for all college students.

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Re: Why are so many philosophers and scientists atheists?

#25

Post by Byblos » Sat May 19, 2012 8:46 am

Frogsterking wrote:
Byblos wrote:Why are so many philosophers and scientists atheists?

The answer is very simple, because classical philosophy has been all but forgotten by modern philosophy and for good reason, it has no answer for it. And when you can't provide a rational rebuttal, the smart thing to do is to ignore it and build another movement.
Explain?
Modern philosophy has no answer for the Scholastic/Aristotelian/Thomistic brand of philosophy (Aquinas' five ways, divine simplicity, God's aseity, etc, etc) so instead of admitting that, it was much easier to ignore it.
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Re: Why are so many philosophers and scientists atheists?

#26

Post by Frogsterking » Sat May 19, 2012 10:23 am

Byblos wrote:
Frogsterking wrote:
Byblos wrote:Why are so many philosophers and scientists atheists?

The answer is very simple, because classical philosophy has been all but forgotten by modern philosophy and for good reason, it has no answer for it. And when you can't provide a rational rebuttal, the smart thing to do is to ignore it and build another movement.
Explain?
Modern philosophy has no answer for the Scholastic/Aristotelian/Thomistic brand of philosophy (Aquinas' five ways, divine simplicity, God's aseity, etc, etc) so instead of admitting that, it was much easier to ignore it.
Where can I research these?

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Re: Why are so many philosophers and scientists atheists?

#27

Post by sandy_mcd » Sat May 19, 2012 12:11 pm

Frogsterking wrote:Where can I research these?
Google.

divine simplicity http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/divine-simplicity/


aquinas http://philosophy.lander.edu/intro/aquinas.shtml
really oddball math quote at the bottom of this - i can't tell if it is serious or a joke

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Re: Why are so many philosophers and scientists atheists?

#28

Post by sandy_mcd » Sat May 19, 2012 12:16 pm

Perhaps a better question would be, why are there fewer non-atheists interested in science. Certainly as you go from theistic evolution to OEC to YEC, there is a progressively lower percentage interested in science. [like 90% of all statistics]
There does seem to be quite an interest in astronomy and dinosaurs at the YEC end of the spectrum; is this at all reflected in the composition of professional scientists?

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Re: Why are so many philosophers and scientists atheists?

#29

Post by jlay » Sat May 19, 2012 12:27 pm

Perhaps a better question would be, why are there fewer non-atheists interested in science
?? How do you know how many non-atheist are interested in science?
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Re: Why are so many philosophers and scientists atheists?

#30

Post by sandy_mcd » Sat May 19, 2012 12:55 pm

jlay wrote:?? How do you know how many non-atheist are interested in science?
Personal observation. I work at a school with a large science department. Atheists are few in number in the general US population. While there are many religious people here, there have been to my knowledge only 1 or 2 YEC's in the last 20 years. There are more atheists than predicted based on overall population.

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