Friday, October 5, 2012

Can atheism be detrimental to science?

A common caricature of religion is that it is opposed to science and has even hindered the development of science. The New Atheists certainly promote this view.
A previous post discussed why most modern historians disagree with this caricature.

One might ask an alternative question.
Is atheism always good for science?
Have there been historical examples where atheist ideology has been opposed to scientific progress?
Helge Kragh has a nice paper The Universe, Cold War, and Dialectical Materialism
which discusses a significant example in the former Soviet Union. Although, it was at the centre of many advances in theoretical physics, research in big bang cosmology was opposed because it was considered to be "religious" and opposed to Marxist-Leninist theory.


  1. Is atheism always good for science?"

    Absolutely not! Atheism forces "science" to draw conclusions that are not warranted and waste countless decades following proposals (eg. dozens of Atheist Origin of the Universe Mythologies) that are anti science and flat out absurd (imaginary time) much less unworkable.

  2. Hi Thesauros,

    This comment seems a bit strong to me, making broad generalisations without support.
    I am not sure what your scientific background is.
    In quantum theory imaginary time is a well-defined mathematical construct which has useful consequences, particularly for calculating properties of quantum systems at finite temperatures.