They [scientists of centuries past] call on God only from the lonely and precarious edge of incomprehension. Where they feel certain about their explanations, however, God gets hardly a mention.
Whenever people have used religious documents to make accurate predictions about our base knowledge of the physical world, they have been famously wrong.
Regarding the unanswered questions the religious community poses to science:
We should not be ashamed of not having answers to all questions yet…I’m perfectly happy staring somebody in the face saying,I don’t know yet, and we’ve got top people working on it.The moment you feel compelled to provide an answer, then you’re doing the same thing that the religious community does: providing answers to every possible question.
Great scientific minds, from Claudius Ptolemy of the second century to Isaac Newton of the seventeenth, invested their formidable intellects in attempts to deduce the nature of the universe from the statements and philosophies contained in religious writings.… Had any of these efforts worked, science and religion today might be one and the same. But they are not.
It’s quite literally true that we are star dust, in the highest exalted way one can use that phrase. … I bask in the majesty of the cosmos. I use words, compose sentences that sound like the sentences I hear out of people that had revelation of Jesus, who go on their pilgrimages to Mecca.
Regarding a seventeenth-century scientist’s invocation of the Almighty to explain phenomena:
Today secular philosophers call that kind of divine invocation “God of the gaps”—which comes in handy, because there has never been a shortage of gaps in people’s knowledge.
[A]s they are currently practiced, there is no common ground between science and religion.…Although just as in hostage negotiations, it’s probably best to keep both sides talking to each other.
There’s no tradition of scientists knocking down the Sunday school door, telling the preacher,That might not necessarily be true.That’s never happened. There’re no scientists picketing outside of churches.
I simply go with what works. And what works is the healthy skepticism embodied in the scientific method. Believe me, if the Bible had ever been shown to be a rich source of scientific answers and enlightenment, we would be mining it daily for cosmic discovery.
I don’t have an issue with what you do in the church, but I’m going to be up in your face if you’re going to knock on my science classroom and tell me they’ve got to teach what you’re teaching in your Sunday school. Because that’s when we’re going to fight.
If all that you see, do, measure and discover is the will of a deity, then ideas can never be proven wrong, you have no predictive power, and you are at a loss to understand the principles behind most of the fundamental interconnections of nature.
Not only are we in the universe, the universe is in us. I don’t know of any deeper spiritual feeling than what that brings upon me.
Once upon a time, people identified the god Neptune as the source of storms at sea. Today we call these storms hurricanes.… The only people who still call hurricanes “acts of God” are the people who write insurance forms.
So what is true for life itself is no less true for the universe: knowing where you came from is no less important than knowing where you are going.