The eminent chemist, Peter Atkins, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oxford, Senior Member of the Oxford Secular Society, Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society and outspoken atheist, has the following to say about science and religion,
Religion, it’s just fantasy, basically…and is evil as well.
But Atkins demonstrates that he himself is the fantasist (or else ‘ignorant, stupid or insane’, to use the language of Richard Dawkins against those who do not share his beliefs) by making the laughable declaration:
…there is no reason to suppose that science cannot deal with every aspect of existence
According to 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…
So what are you then: an unreal scientist, a fake scientist, an imaginary scientist? And an evil fantasist to boot?
Thus, according to Atkins, in the subset of scientists who are ‘real scientists’, none can be theists. Only atheist scientists, like Atkins, are “beacons of rationality, and intellectually honest”. That excludes Robert Boyle, the ‘father of chemistry’ – that discipline of which Atkins is a practitioner – Newton, Hooke, Franklin, Priestley, Dalton, Faraday, Maxwell, Thomson and Einstein, to name a few. Well, if these folk were not real scientists, one should be very happy to be not a real scientist, as it’s very good company to be in.
Robert Merton (Social Theory and Social Structure, 1949) determined that a majority of the founder members of the Royal Society were distinctively Puritan. Certainly, a considerable number of them were Calvinists. It was very largely the Calvinist constituency who brushed away the dead hand of the pagan Aristotle, and gave birth to modern science. They developed the necessary motivation and the methodology, logical and experimental. Modern science would never have got any traction without the Calvinists, and today’s scientists are simply building on the foundations and superstructure that they have inherited from the Christian worldview. Atheist scientists have to sit on God’s lap to be able to reach up to slap him in the face.
Take a look at the list of members of the Westminster Assembly of Divines and one finds that the secretary to the Assembly (1643-9) was one John Wallis. Wallis was also instrumental in drawing up the Shorter Catechism used by Presbyterians down to this very day. Ordained in 1640, he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1654. Wallis was one of the original fellows of the Royal Society – the first scientific society in history. In the mid-seventeenth century, Wallis was perhaps the greatest English mathematician, eclipsed only later by Newton, and was Savilian Professor of Geometry at Oxford from 1649 until his death in 1703.
The chief founder of the Royal Society was the Calvinist John Wilkins DD, brother-in-law to Oliver Cromwell, and grandson of John Dod. He was the first Secretary of the Royal Society (1662-8), and became its vice-president in 1663. He became bishop of Chester in 1668.
In the royal charters of the Royal Society we see the aim of the society from its inception. The second charter of 1663 declares that the king, his heirs and successors
do make, ordain, create and constitute the same Society, by the name of The President, Council, and Fellows of the Royal Society of London for Promoting Natural Knowledge…and that by the same name they may have perpetual succession;
But the charter further mandates that their studies and those of their successors in perpetuity
…are to be applied to further promoting by the authority of experiments the sciences of natural things and of useful arts, to the glory of God the Creator…
In the third charter we read that the Society’s president and deputies are to be men of piety and are to take an oath ‘upon the holy Gospels of God’ to execute matters of office faithfully.
We learn that, as of this day, 97% of fellows of the Royal Society do not believe in a creator God, and have no piety, so they cannot be said to be properly qualified, or working within the aims and objects of the Society as constituted.
In the previous post we dealt with the charge by Sir Harry Kroto that theists do not have the intellectual integrity to teach science. But seeing the foundation of the Royal Society, we must question whether atheists have the integrity to be members of such a scientific society. It would be better that they set up their own society fashioned out of their own ideals. But they would rather remain members of the Royal Society for reasons of money, power and prestige.
Behind the scenes, these atheistic fellows are acutely aware of the inconsistency of being in an institution whose object is the glory of God the Creator. Thus we read in Times Higher Education on September 25, under the title Royal Society is considering casting out God, that there are moves afoot by the atheists to have all references to God expunged from the charters. Rather than take the honest course and get out, they would prefer to poison the wells. After all, they are the real scientists, and those who have gone before were just a bunch of superstitious charlatans.