I’m a firm believer in melding science and spirituality. Any religion or metaphysical system that is clearly at odds with evident scientific facts has no appeal for me.
So the book by Victor Stenger that I wrote about in my previous post, “God: The Failed Hypothesis. How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist,” is right up my alley. It hasn’t been published yet, but today I took a look at a sample chapter via Stenger’s web site.
“Possible and Impossible Gods” is thought-provoking. And Judeo - Christian - Islamic religion-demolishing. Stenger argues persuasively that it isn’t possible for the God of the Bible and Koran to co-exist with what is known about the physical universe.
--The universe doesn’t show any expected signs of design. Scratch a Designer God.
--There’s no evidence that humans have an immortal aspect to them. Scratch a God Who Creates and Saves Souls.
--No independent evidence exists of divine interactions with human beings. Scratch a God of Miracles.
--No violations of physical law were necessary to create the universe. Scratch a Creator God.
--No claimed divine communication ever has been confirmed empirically. Scratch a God of Revelation.
--Evidence shows that humans define morals and human values for themselves. Scratch a Law-Giving God.
--Evil evidently exists. Scratch an Omnibenevolent God.
Now, this doesn’t mean that it is impossible for some higher power, a.k.a. “God,” to exist. It just means that the God most Christians, Jews, and Muslims believe in doesn’t exist. The God who communicates and interacts with people, who intervenes in human affairs, who created the universe through supernatural means.
However, it seems to me that philosophical (as contrasted with religious) Buddhism and Taoism are mostly, if not completely, compatible with modern science.
Living in harmony with the Nature both within and without ourselves — scientific. Searching for the essence of consciousness through meditation — scientific. Accepting that what lies beyond physical matter and energy is a profound mystery — scientific.
There’s plenty of room for spirituality in the house of science. Reality doesn’t have to be shoved out of the window. It’s even possible to envision god living on an inaccessible upper floor.
As Stenger puts it:
When I demonstrate that a particular God is rejected by the data, I am not proving that all conceivable gods do not exist. I am simply showing beyond a reasonable doubt that a God with the specific, hypothesized attributes [of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic God] does not exist.
All praise to the Possible Gods. And good riddance to the Impossible Gods.