jottings from tertius

views of the world from my worldview window

"If there was no God, there would be no atheists." G.K. Chesterton


SITES OF NOTE

Tektonics Apologetics Ministry
blogs4God
The Adarwinist reader
Bede's Library: the Alliance of Faith and Reason
A Christian Thinktank
Doxa:Christian theology and apologetics
He Lives
Mike Gene Teleologic
Errant Skeptics Research Institute
Stephen Jones' CreationEvolutionDesign
Touchstone: a journal of mere Christianity: mere comments
The Secularist Critique: Deconstructing secularism
Ex-atheist.com: I Wasn't Born Again Yesterday
imago veritatis by Alan Myatt
Solid Rock Ministries
The Internet Monk: a webjournal by Michael Spencer
The Sydney Line: the website of Keith Windschuttle
Miranda Devine's writings in the Sydney Morning Herald
David Horowitz frontpage magazine
Thoughts of a 21st century Christian Philosopher
one-eighty
Steven Lovell's philosophical themes from C.S.Lewis
Peter S. Williams Christian philosophy and apologetics
Shandon L. Guthrie
Clayton Cramer's Blog
Andrew Bolt columns
Ann Coulter columns




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"These are the days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed except his own." G.K.Chesterton


"You cannot grow a beard in a moment of passion." G.K.Chesterton


"As you perhaps know, I haven't always been a Christian. I didn't go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that."C. S. Lewis

"I blog, therefore I am." Anon


Saturday, February 01, 2003

Total Disbelief

 
Recently in comments about one of my blog entries regarding atheistic scientists I was gently reminded by the editors of blogs4God that not all scientists see conflict between faith and science. I agree, and am most thankful for that, but nevertheless there is disturbing confirmation in a recent important study on scientists’ religious beliefs by Larson and Witham that among the “top” natural scientists “disbelief is… almost total”.

In this blog I include a large number of quotes. I fully appreciate that including such quotes will leave me open to the increasingly popular charge of "quote mining". However the majority of these quotes came from atheist quote sites, so it seems "quote mining" is also apparently very big in those circles. A search on the net will reveal how many atheist/freethinker quote sites exist, many of the quotes presented without attestation - which is why some such appear here similarly.

A selection of the sites that I perused is given here:
The Athiest Alliance
Mark Vuletic's page on Infidels.org
Positive Atheism's Big List of Victor J. Stenger Quotations
Atheism: famous quotes
Positive Atheism's Big List of Quotations
Positive Atheism
The Freethought Zone
Evolution, Etc.Quotes
Ed's Page of Dog, Cat and Atheist Quotes
The Celebrity Athiest List
American Atheists

Among the meatier bites one gets lots of dumb quotes like these gems:

"I don't see any god up here."
Yuri Gagarin, speaking from orbit in 1961.

or,
"A believer is a bird in a cage. A freethinker is an eagle parting the clouds with tireless wing."

One issue that needs to be addressed is the correlation between atheism and the practice of biology. The most relevant, up to date findings come from the study by Larsen and Witham published in "Nature". Their summary:

"The question of religious belief among US scientists has been debated since early in the century. Our latest survey finds that, among the top natural scientists, disbelief is greater than ever - almost total...

As we compiled our findings, the NAS issued a booklet encouraging the teaching of evolution in public schools, an ongoing source of friction between the scientific community and some conservative Christians in the United States. The booklet assures readers, 'Whether God exists or not is a question about which science is neutral'. NAS president Bruce Alberts said: "There are many very outstanding members of this academy who are very religious people, people who believe in evolution, many of them biologists.' Our survey suggests otherwise."
Larson, E. J. & Witham, L. Nature 386, 435-436 (1997). Nature, Vol. 394, No. 6691, p. 313 (1998)
The Freethought Zone

Commenting on the results of the Larson and Witham study, Chris Mooney in "Slate" magazine writes:

"... the fundamentalists seem to be exactly right about the religious implications of the study of evolution. Sure, Kenneth Miller can separate his scientific research and his religious beliefs. But few top scientists actually do so. In 1998 in the journal Nature, the historian Edward Larson and Washington Times religion writer Larry Witham reported the results of their survey of the religious views of National Academy of Sciences members. Nine out of 10 were atheists or agnostics, and among NAS biologists, just 5.6 percent believed in God, the lowest percentage for any scientific field. Larson and Witham quoted the Oxford scientist Peter Atkins: 'You clearly can be a scientist and have religious beliefs. But I don't think you can be a real scientist in the deepest sense of the word because they are such alien categories of knowledge.'" See also Atheists.org

I believe the high correlation between atheism and the practice of evolutionary biology has been clearly demonstrated and is irrefutable. A majority of evolutionists would clearly endorse Julian Huxley's pronouncement that "Darwinism removed the whole idea of God as the Creator of organisms from the sphere of rational discussion."

This notion is a recurring theme in many populist books about evolution. Take, for example, the late Stephen Jay Gould, an atheist. I am not aware of him explicitly pushing atheism (though he comes close at times) in any of his writings but I submit that such an idea is often implicit in them. At times, of course, Gould makes concessions towards the "separate magisterium" of religion, making statements such as this:

"To say it for all my colleagues and for the umpteenth million time (from
college bull sessions to learned treatises): science simply cannot (by its
legitimate methods) adjudicate the issue of God's possible superintendence
of nature. We neither affirm nor deny it; we simply can't comment on it as
scientists. If some of our crowd have made untoward statements claiming that
Darwinism disproves God, then I will find Mrs. McInerney and have their
knuckles rapped for it (as long as she can equally treat those members of
our crowd who have argued that Darwinism must be God's method of action).
Science can work only with naturalistic explanations; it can neither affirm
nor deny other types of actors (like God) in other spheres (the moral realm,
for example)."

Stephen Jay Gould, "Impeaching a Self-Appointed Judge," Scientific
American, 267(1), July 1992; from Liz R. Hughes, ed., Reviews of Creationist
Books, Berkely, CA: The National Center for Science Education, Inc., 1992,
pp. 79-84.
Freethought Zone

Great stuff. How I wish scientists would practice what Gould preaches here. The question is would Gould get Mrs McInerney to deal with some of his fellow atheistic evolutionists [see below]? Or even with himself, for on other occasions Gould contradicts this view:

"We are here because one odd group of fishes had a peculiar fin anatomy that
could transform into legs for terrestrial creatures; because the earth never
froze entirely during an ice age; because a small and tenuous species,
arising in Africa a quarter of a million years ago, has managed, so far, to
survive by hook and by crook. We may yearn for a higher answer -- but none
exists.”

Stephen Jay Gould, Life magazine, December 1988, from James A. Haught, ed., 2000 Years of Disbelief

"Before Darwin, we thought that a benevolent God had created us."
Gould, Stephen Jay in "Ever Since Darwin: Reflections in Natural History," Penguin: London UK, 1991, p.267.

And even when Gould does make conciliatory gestures towards religion there are other scientists who quickly rally to criticise him as shown below in this letter to the editor of the webpage of "Positive Atheism" Magazine (it's motto: "Five years of service to people with no reason to believe"):

"I had written a critical letter to Stephen Jay Gould for saying in one of
his essays "we (scientists) study how the heavens go, and they (theologians) determine how to go to heaven". I told him that 'the heavens, as any astronomer will tell you, is a euphemism for everything out there -- the universe; Heaven, for most believers is something very different -- a preposterous notion of an actual, non-locatable place where
everyone who has ever existed, and didn't piss off the church, will always
reside with everyone else, lounging around listening to Beethoven while
eating hot pastrami sandwiches.


'I am appalled that a world-class thinker and writer such as yourself would
betray the few of us who retain some semblance of rational thinking by
juxtaposing the two concepts in such a way as to indicate that they actually
might be related. We rely, to some extent, on the published opinions of
respected scholars to maintain the strength and vigor of the position,
unfortunately held by so few, that supernaturalism has no value in our
society, in fact is an obstacle to free inquiry, and more often than not
brings about harm to individuals.... If you have time read your colleague
Richard Dawkins' excellent article on related issues in The Humanist,
January/February 1997.'"
Gil Gaudia, Ph.D.
Letter to the Editor of Positive Atheism

To which the editor, felt it necessary to respond:

"Richard Dawkins, [...] alienates many people with his abrasive,
almost dogmatic-sounding anti-theism pronouncements. Ditto for Victor
Stenger. Don't get me wrong, I love both men, and I fully agree with each of
their controversial pronouncements. But I think some of this would be toned
down if either author's stated goal was to reach a wider audience for
showing the basic integrity of, in Dawkins's case, the Theory of Evolution,
and, in Stenger's case, the Inflationary Big Bang Model."


Notice he "loves both men" and agrees "fully" with Dawkins and Stenger's pronoucements (so that's not his concern) but he recognises it would be politically expedient for them to tone down their comments in order to make evolution more acceptable to the general public. I read a lot of shrill pronouncements about creationist lies, misrepresentations, deceptions and conspiracies to undermine "Science" and the American way of life but what is this then if not more of the same?

But then along comes another scientist and accuses Gould of the very opposite thought crime. I was as bemused on reading this assessment from Robert Wright as you will no doubt be:

'Gould also performs a more subtle service for creationists. Having bolstered their caricature of Darwinism as implausible, he bolsters their caricature of it as an atheist plot. He depicts evolution as something that can't possibly reflect a higher purpose, and thus can't provide the sort of spiritual consolation most people are after. Even Gould's recent book "Rocks of Ages," which claims to reconcile science and religion, draws this moral from the story of evolution: we live in a universe that is "indifferent to our suffering."

Obviously, if the grounds for this conclusion are as firm as he says, then we have to live with it. But they're not. Though modern Darwinism is incompatible with various religious beliefs (such as a literal interpretation of Genesis), it needn't alienate religious seekers of a liberal-minded variety: those with no attachment to any scriptural creation scenario but with a suspicion—or, at least, a hope—that life has more meaning than meets the eye. Indeed, the Darwinian account of our creation, once stripped of the misconceptions that Gould has covered it with, is not only compatible with a higher purpose but vaguely suggestive of one.'
THE ACCIDENTAL CREATIONIST: Why Stephen Jay Gould is bad for evolution.
ROBERT WRIGHT Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny, by Robert Wright, Pantheon Books 2000.

That leads us naturally to the views of Richard Dawkins. I would submit that the central thesis of all Dawkins popular books, articles and op-ed pieces is that evolution proves the truth of atheism. Dawkins uses biology as a vehicle to push his dogmatic belief that atheism is the only rationally defensible intellectual position. His claim is that "Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist".

"...although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist."
(Richard Dawkins, "The Blind Watchmaker," Penguin: London, 1991, p.6).

At the beginning of 'The Blind Watchmaker' Dawkins says: "Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of being designed for a purpose" and then spends the rest of the book trying to prove that this appearance is deceptive. His numerous articles are available all over the Net and his pathological hatred of religion is openly displayed in TV interviews, newspaper articles, public lectures and "hero worship" pages on the Net. His position at Oxford is ironically as Professor for the Public Understanding of Science, which means for Dawkins a personal crusade against religion, an advocacy of atheism and the use of evolution to support these positions. Thankfully, of course, Dawkins views are not yet universally held, but I also submit that he is the best known living scientist in the world and certainly the most widely read, and thus perhaps the most influential with the public. Can he be any plainer than this on the connection between evolution and atheism?

" The more you understand the significance of evolution, the more you are pushed away from the agnostic position and towards atheism."
Richard Dawkins, from the New Humanist, the Journal of the Rationalist Press Association, Vol 107 No 2

Dawkins is very open about his views. "To me, religion is very largely an enemy of truth." He condemns all theism including theistic evolution. Dawkins states that his best selling book, The Selfish Gene:

". . . brings home to people the truth about why they exist, something they
previously took for granted. No one had given them such a ruthless, starkly
mechanistic, almost pointless answer. "You are for nothing. You are here to
propagate your selfish genes. There is no higher purpose to life." One man
said he didn't sleep for three nights after reading The Selfish Gene. He
felt that the whole of his life had become empty, and the universe no longer
had a point. Another way of putting it is of people losing religious faith.
People now felt they understood what it was all about, where previously they
had been fobbed off with religious pseudo-answers."

Richard Dawkins, Omni 12 (4) (Jan. 1990) 60-61.

Privately many scientists seem to agree with me about Dawkins, but I will specifically ask this of of them: What have you done to distance yourself from Dawkins anti-religious obsessions and to challenge his metaphysical hijacking of science?

I turn to a comment from "the Venerable Bede":
"Unfortunately for everyone concerned, atheists [ ...] insist on using evolution as a justification for their lack of faith. It is, of course, Richard Dawkins, who is most famous for this. His most popular book, The Blind Watchmaker is also his most basic and it is sad to think that people might have had their world view affected by reading it. That this author thinks that evolution makes it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist suggests he has a very narrow view of the world. We all know that he is fantastically arrogant and dismissive of anyone who doesn't share his point of view, but I do so wish he would come out and admit that science has nothing to do with his lack of belief. He simply hates religion. The existence of the dichotomy between evolution and atheism is never demonstrated in any of Dawkins' books. Big questions about how and why the universe came to be are totally ignored except to recommend fellow atheist, Peter Atkin's dirisable [sic] book Creation - now mercifully out of print.

Dawkins makes various snide and unnecessary asides about what he thinks of religion like mentioning how he saw it coupled with UFOs on a bookshop's shelf, or using a waving statue of Mary to say we should never look for a supernatural explanation. Actually, the main problem with Dawkins is that far too many Christians actually agree with him. Instead of realising his point of view on religion is both irrelevant and rubbish he has persuaded lots of normal people that there really is a conflict between science and faith. So, given the choice of either rejecting those nasty atheistic theories or their entire way of life, religious people have become more hostile to science. Like so many successful demagogues, Dawkins has made his opponents appear extreme.

Kenneth Miller, who gets a walk on part in Behe's book, has responded to anti-Darwinian arguments in his book Finding Darwin's God. Miller is a devout Christian and a highly respected biologist who has never had any trouble reconciling neo-Darwinism with his faith. Extremists on both sides have found this book hard to swallow but it just goes to show that even the most knowledgeable expert on evolution doesn't feel the need to buy into atheism. He finds the attitude of Dawkins and others both patronising and offensive. Dawkins himself is the real extremist... "

Bede's Library

Others disagree, however.
"PBS's mainstreaming of Darwinism also trims back some of the theory's more controversial implications. Evolution flatly denies equal time to Darwin's religiously based rivals, Creationism and intelligent design theory, yet the program repeatedly argues that evolution and religion are compatible. If you eat Darwin's theory for your main course, Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould and others seem to say, you can have religion for dessert...

Evolution's [the PBS television series] attempt to divorce Darwinian science from atheism, though well intentioned, is finally naive. Darwinism presents an explanation for life's origins that lacks any supernatural element and emphasizes a cruel and violent process of natural selection that is tough to square with the notion of a benevolent God. Because of this, many students who study evolution will find themselves questioning the religions they have grown up with. What's insidious is that Evolution allows fundamentalists to say this, but not evolutionists. The miniseries interviews several experts who could be expected to oppose the reconciliation outlook, notably Daniel Dennett, author of Darwin's Dangerous Idea, and the Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins... But neither Dennett nor Dawkins gets much of a say on the topic of religion."
Darwin's Sanitized Idea. PBS's Evolution is an exercise in Creationist appeasement. by Chris Mooney in Slate magazine

It seems undeniable that some [many?] atheist evolutionists do in fact "proselytise for atheism". Let's examine William Provine, Professor of Biological Sciences at Cornell University.

"Evolution is the greatest engine of atheism ever invented."
William B. Provine, "DarwinDay" website, University of Tennessee Knoxville, 1998.

"Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin
understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death
exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning
in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent."

"Evolution: Free will and punishment and meaning in life", Abstract of Provine's 1998 Darwin Day Keynote Address.

Now can Provine say it any clearer than that? But, it may be argued, perhaps he only proselytises on "appropriate occasions"? Well, Provine noted in 1993 that at the beginning of his class about 75% of his students "were either creationists or believed in purposive evolution". After exposure to his "incisive, direct, hard-hitting teaching on origins" (how students often describe his lectures) research shows that the number of creationists and those who "believed in purposive evolution" dropped to about 50% by the end of the course.
(William Provine, Creation/Evolution 32, 62-63 1993).

Last time I checked no one has hauled Provine into court for openly indoctrinating students in atheism. Indeed he is highly regarded in the scientific community.

"Let me summarize my views on what modern evolutionary biology tells us loud and clear … There are no gods, no purposes, no goal-directed forces of any kind. There is no life after death. When I die, I am absolutely certain that I am going to be dead. That’s the end for me. There is no ultimate foundation for ethics, no ultimate meaning to life, and no free will for humans, either."
Darwinism: Science or Naturalistic Philosophy? A debate between William B. Provine and Phillip E. Johnson at Stanford University, April 30, 1994. Provine, W.B., Origins Research 16(1/2), p.9, 1994. Access Research Network

This last quote is from Provine's Stanford debate with Intelligent Design advocate, Philip Johnson but that is is neither here nor there. Provine has never been backward about letting his students know what is "the truth". Some time ago I watched an ABC documentary about creation/evolution that featured Provine and creationist paleontologist Kurt Wise (who studied under Stephen Gould). Provine is suffering from some sort of degenerative disease which made his vociferous assertions of his atheism all the more painful (to me). Wise on the other hand is a very gentle, soft-spoken individual. Anyway, in the documentary Provine is shown being very up front - in his inimitable aggressive way - about atheism with his students.

Unfortunately such indoctrination occurs in science education, one place where, to quote an online atheist I once exchanged views with, “the introduction of the teacher's (or author's) philosophical conclusions is out of place.”

However no lesser luminary than Julian Huxley thought that evolution was the central component of any educational program:

"I would turn the argument the other way around and hold that it is
essential for evolution to become the central core of any educational
system, because it is evolution, in the broad sense, that links inorganic
nature with life, and the stars with earth, and matter with mind, and
animals with man. Human history is a continuation of biological evolution in
a different form."

Julian Huxley, "At Random," Evolution after Darwin 1960, p. 65.

Consider, also the following comments:
"The classroom must and will become an area of conflict between the old and the new -- the rotting corpse of Christianity, together with its adjacent evils and misery and the new faith of Humanism, resplendent in its promise of a world in which the never-realized Christian idea of ‘Love thy Neighbor’ will finally be achieved."
John J. Dunphy, "A Religion for a New Age," The Humanist, January/February 1983, page 26.

I would submit that a key philosophical component of neo-Darwinism is the assumption that "evolution works without either plan or purpose" and that "evolution is random and undirected"(as quoted from Miller and Levine's widely used textbook "Biology", 1993, p.658, also 1998 and 2000 editions) and that it is "an unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable, and natural process" (US National Association of Biology Teachers 1995 Position Statement). The implication of this should be patently obvious to any unbiased person.

The authors of another leading biology textbook openly state:
"Darwin compiled enough support for his theory of descent with modification
to convince most of the scientists of his day that organisms evolve without
supernatural intervention. Subsequent discoveries, including recent ones
from molecular biology, further support this great principle-one that
connects an otherwise bewildering chaos of facts about organisms."

N. Campbell, L. Mitchell and J. Reece. Biology: Concepts and Connections
(Benjamin/Cummings Publishing Co., Redwood City, CA, 1994), p. 258.

The question of what particular textbooks actually say is addressed in this paper: An Analysis of Biology Textbooks Submitted for Adoption to the State of Alabama by Norris A. Anderson. It will be observed that textbooks generally refrain from making overt attacks upon God or links with atheism, which is commendable, but it should be plain that the subtle - and not so subtle - inference is the exclusion of any sort of intelligent creator/designer coupled with an inherent philosophic naturalism.

The same online atheist quoted above responded: "Contrary to the paranoia of Johnsonian theists, natural selection is science, and advocating it is not the same as advocating atheism."

What exactly are "Johnsonian theists"? Perhaps a figment of an atheist's imagination? If this charge is directed at Phillip Johnson, I can only assume the skeptic has never actually read his books because Johnson most definitely accepts natural selection as science. In fact I don't know anyone who doesn't - even young earth creationists! My skeptical interlocuter was right though, advocating natural selection should have nothing to do with atheism - nor has it anything to do with Johnson's critique of Darwinism.

Anyway on to more quotes regarding evolution and atheism beginning with this staggering admission by a world class geneticist. Deducing atheism from biology may be bad philosophy however, in some prominent cases, it is not a case of the philosophy being deduced from the science, but the reverse:

"We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door."
Richard Lewontin, ‘Billions and billions of demons’, The New York Review, January 9, 1997, p. 31.

Could Lewontin be any clearer?

"In the beginning, there were no reasons; there were only causes. Nothing had
a purpose, nothing has so much as a function; there was no teleology in the
world at all."

Daniel C. Dennett, "Consciousness Explained".

“The kindly God who lovingly fashioned each and every one of us and sprinkled
the sky with shining stars for our delight -- that God is, like Santa Claus,
a myth of childhood, not anything a sane, undeluded adult could literally
believe in. That God must either be turned into a symbol for something less
concrete or abandoned altogether."

Daniel Dennett, Darwin's Dangerous Idea, p. 18.

"Among today's scientists, ... on matters of religion, the strongest reaction
expressed by most of my fellow physicists is a mild surprise and amusement
that anyone still takes all that seriously?"

Steven Weinberg, Dreams of a Final Theory; The Search for the Fundamental Laws of Nature Pantheon Books, New York, 1992, pp. 256-257.

The eminent philosopher Roger Scruton who, on being asked why he did not believe in God, replied:
"I have a scientific mind; I can't just dismiss the evidence of Darwinism: it seems to me to be obviously true."
The Times newspaper Dec, 1997.

"Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, is at the very root of the stupendous edifice of evolution with the result that man at last knows that he is alone in the unfeeling immensity of the universe... Neither his destiny nor his duty have been written down."
Jacques Monod, Chance and Necessity transl. by A. Wainhouse (London: Collins, 1972) p110

"Man is the result of a purposeless and materialistic process that did not
have him in mind. He was not planned. He is a state of matter, a form of
life, a sort of animal, and a species of the Order Primates, akin nearly or
remotely to all of life and indeed to all that is material."

George Gaylord Simpson[late Professor of Vertebrate Paleontology, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, USA], "The Meaning of Evolution: A Study of the History of Life and of its Significance for Man," Yale University Press: New Haven CT, 1960, p.344.

"In the evolutionary pattern of thought there is no longer either need or
room for the supernatural. The earth was not created: it evolved. So did all
the animals and plants that inhabit it, including our human selves, mind and
soul as well as brain and body. So did religion. "

Julian Huxley [late grandson of Thomas Henry Huxley, former Professor of Zoology at King's College, London, and founding Director-General of UNESCO] "The Humanist Frame", in "Essays of a Humanist," Penguin Books: Harmondsworth, Middlesex UK, 1969, reprint, pp.82-83).

"The only faith that we need... is the belief that everything can be understood and, ultimately, that there is nothing to explain".
Cosmologist Peter Atkins, "Creation Revisited"

"Christianity has fought, still fights, and will continue to fight science to the desperate end over evolution, because evolution destroys utterly and finally the very reason Jesus' earthly life was supposedly made necessary. Destroy Adam and Eve and the original sin, and in the rubble you will find the sorry remains of the Son of God. If Jesus was not the redeemer who died for our sins, and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing."
G. Richard Bozarth, 'The Meaning of Evolution', American Atheist 20 September, 1979, p. 30.

"The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be."

"The world was not made by the gods, but instead was the work of material forces interacting in nature".

Carl Sagan. 'Cosmos'

"Some piously record 'In the beginning God', but I say in the beginning hydrogen."
Harrow Shapely [Shapely's main claim to fame is his protégé, Carl Sagan]

"The principle of Ockham's Razor ... cuts God out of the
picture. Einstein once said that "the more a man is imbued with the ordered
regularity of all events the firmer becomes his conviction that there is no
room left by the side of this ordered regularity for causes of a different
nature." In other words, the more a person understands about the workings of
the universe, the more he or she is aware of nature's simplicity, and the
less likely he or she is to believe in gods. That's why 93% of the members
of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) are nontheists. (The 93% figure
comes from Edward J. Larson and Larry Witham: "Leading Scientists Still
Reject God." Nature, 1998; 394, 313.)

Freethought

"...we have come to the crucial stage in the history of biology when religion itself is subject to the explanations of the natural sciences...sociobiology can account for the very origin of mythology by the principle of natural selection acting on the genetically evolving material structure of the human brain. If this interpretation is correct, the final decisive edge enjoyed by scientific naturalism will come from its capacity to explain traditional religion, its chief competitor, as a wholly material phenomenon."
E. O. Wilson, On Human Nature (London: Penguin, 1995 edn) p192

"My practise as a scientist is atheistic. That is to say, when I set up an
experiment I assume that no god, angel, or devil is going to interfere with
its course; and this assumption has been justified by such success as I
have achieved in my professional career. I should therefore be intellectually
dishonest if I were not also atheistic in the affairs of the world. And I
should be a coward if I did not state my theoretical views in public."

J.B.S. Haldane, cited by L. Beverly Halstead in his article "Evolution -- the Fossils Say Yes!" in Science and Creationism,edited by Ashley Montagu Oxford U. Press, 1984 page 241)

Here's another scientist who thinks atheism and evolution are joined at the hip.
"And when these same people, who I believe are basing their own lives on
lies, use specious reasoning to try to argue that science itself supports
their beliefs, I become defensive. It's time to take action, circle the
wagons, defend the ramparts. It's time to tell these people, strongly and
clearly, that they are mistaken. Not only does science provide no support
for the notion of an intelligent creator-God, it does supply us with strong
evidence that the existence of such an entity is highly unlikely.
But science cannot exist in a universe beholden to an intelligent creator.
Science eliminated God, as a hypothesis, when it first started to take
matter and observation seriously."

Talk by Dr. Norman F. Hall, "My doctoral training was in molecular genetics, and I have worked professionally as a cardiac biochemist and a physical oceanographer."Given on September 15, 1996 at a meeting of the Humanist Fellowship of San Diego at the Thomas Paine Coffeehouse [sic]. Godless.org

Can he say it any clearer than that for you?

In theory neither the scientific method nor an acceptance of the reality of evolutionary mechanisms has anything to contribute to the question of the existence of God. In practice, as a visit to any of the many atheist sites on the Net will show, Philip Johnson and Alvin Plantinga's assessment of the the pervasiveness of philosophic naturalism and its corrosive effect on all religious belief is undeniable. Evolution and atheism are increasingly intertwined for atheists need evolution like a fish needs water.

The last word:
"It is no more heretical to say the Universe displays purpose, as Hoyle has
done, than to say that it is pointless, as Steven Weinberg has done. Both
statements are metaphysical and outside science. Yet it seems that
scientists are permitted by their own colleagues to say metaphysical things
about lack of purpose and not the reverse. This suggests to me that science,
in allowing this metaphysical notion, sees itself as religion and presumably
as an atheistic religion (if you can have such a thing)."

Michael Shallis, Astrophysicist, Oxford University, "In the eye of a storm", New Scientist, January 19, 1984, pp.42-43)

1:23:00 am