Links to sites on science and by scientists
There seems to be a highly pervasive idea that hardly any scientists are theists and that if you 'understand' science you don't need religion anyway. It is fact that within the scientific professions you will find many fewer Christians than elsewhere. However, I ceased to be an atheist while actually engaged in reading a physics degree and therefore find the plea that science disproves God particularly annoying. Below are some links to scientific sites of all persuasions.
American Scientific Affiliation
The belief rating is defined as follows:
Content is rated out of ten. This rating in no way reflects my agreement with the material offered - but rather the amount of original material presented, web site presentation and the quality of writing.
The ASA is an association of Christians who are scientists (isn't it annoying you can't say Christian scientist). The produce a newsletter called "Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith" many articles from which are available on line. The ASA are committed to scientific standards and are quite happy to debunk some of the wackier ideas you find in some Christian apologetics (like the urban legend of a man swallowed by a whale proving Jonah as credible). Indeed, they seem to regard such claims as not being conducive to selling Christianity in the modern world. The site also includes a horde of book reviews on subjects of interest to ASA members. If your an atheist and think that all scientists should be too, you will not enjoy this site at all.
This site is the Internet presence of a print magazine that they would very much like you to subscribe to. If you do then you get access to a vast database of articles. However, what is here for free justifies a score of seven on its own. There are articles from the latest print edition, links and best of all some very useful tutorials. These use a shockwave plug in and cover quantum mechanics, evolution and relativity. They are designed for laymen who want to know about these esoteric topics and I can vouch that the physics subjects at least are handled clearly and accurately. So if you want to know a bit about these the cutting edge of science then do check these out.
Stenger is a retired professor of physics at Hawaii University and very anti theist. He seems to find the idea that Christians are daring to use science's findings for their own ends quite outrageous. His indignation bubbles through all of his writing. Stenger's trouble is that the alternatives he offers are every bit as subjective as any apologetic. I fear he would be happy to vouch the moon was made of blue cheese if it helped do away with God. A non physicist reading Stenger's work might feel brow beaten into accepting his point of view because of the technical issues involved. His polemic against the design argument is based on the premise that there might be loads of other universes we don't know about. True - but a God we do know about seems more likely.
That said, do read his stuff because it is well written and a forceful argument for atheistic science.
This website is the home of an ongoing series of lectures at the University of Cambridge. I have attended a few and found them of invariably good quality. The main point of the lectures is to promote the peaceful dialogue between science and religion. The experts who have delivered talks have all been highly esteemed in their fields and I have frequently pointed enquirers towards their work. All the lectures are supplied both as a transcript and audio recordings, as well as notes on discussions that took place afterwards.
I bet all scientists wish they had a fan site like this on the web. Catalano painstakingly assembled every word ever uttered by his hero that is to be found on the web. You can bet that Catalano shares Dawkins's strong atheism and he is good enough to supply space for various attacks on the heresy of creationism in all its forms. Dawkins himself is an excellent communicator and his stuff is definitely worth reading. An article in The Sceptic is probably the finest piece of science writing I have ever come across although it's attracted some strong rebuttals. A lot of people, including me, find his views on religion arrogant and intolerant. To his fans, this attitude is exactly why they love him so much. Sadly, this site hasn't been updated since 2001 and can now be found fossilised on Richard Dawkins's own website which is worth a look in itself.
My introduction to Pinker was his book The Blank Slate which has kept my wife and I in dinner party conversation for months now. The author's homepage at Harvard is really just a collection of his articles, both academic and popular, but they are all well written and provocative. Pinker is rapidly becoming the most controversial scientist out there and his views are always worth reading. It is unfortunate that he is an unthinking atheist and has never seen fit to justify his beliefs. On the other hand, he lacks Dawkins's snide streak and is all the better for that.
Davies is another popular writer of books on physics. Davies has always had a slightly mystical bent that is unpopular with some of his fellow scientists who fear he is putting 'God' in his titles to ensure they are best sellers. His web site used to include an archive of loads of articles that Davies has written but now appear not to be on line. However, the very full bibliography does contain some links to the relevant articles. Otherwise, the website is kept up to date with Davies's public appearances and lectures.
I have only recently found this site but it looks excellent. A number of academics have contributed articles on all manner of scientific issues that impinge on matters of faith. The site is a very good starting off point if you are interested in the philosophical background to modern research from a theistic angle. Subjects such as neurology, genetics, cosmology and more are covered. This makes a change from the usual evolution/creation site that sets a narrow agenda (although Creationism is looked at).
This site represents the intellectual end of the intelligent design fraternity. It contains a number of excellent articles by the likes of Michael Behe and William Dembski and is almost totally unreligious in tone. Neo-Darwinists rightly see these guys as a real threat and even Daniel Dennet has written a detailed response to their ideas. The topic of intelligent design is vast and not restricted to challenging evolution. The physical fine tuning of the universe is also causing scientific materialists real headaches. The best general page of links on the subject is at World of Dawkins although it is, naturally, hostile.
© James Hannam 2005.