Are Scientists Atheists?

“The world would be astonished if it knew how great a proportion of its brightest ornaments…are complete skeptics of religion….I am thus one of the very few examples, in this country, of one who has, not thrown off religious belief, but never had it.” -John Stuart Mill

“No respectable scientist is also a born again Christian, not in this day and age.” -Edward Wilson

A study done by Rice University in 2015 found that scientists are generally less religious than a given general population.

Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan and James Watson (the co-discoverer of the structure of DNA), are all famous scientists who are also atheists.

Carl Sagan put it beautifully, “If by ‘God’ one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God. This God is emotionally unsatisfying…it does not make much sense to pray to the law of gravity.”

Stephen Hawking‘s states clearly, “There isn’t a God, I’m an atheist.”2 In fact, when he was invited to Rome to meet the late Pope John Paul II, he asked to be shown the records of the trial of Galileo. The reason Hawking asked this was because Galileo, a 16th-century astronomer, was spreading the Copernican view that the earth wasn’t at the center of the universe. The church, who taught that the earth was at the center couldn’t handle it. So they banned Galileo’s work for 116 years after his death.

Newton was very religious. So was almost everyone during that time. This was probably for three reasons:

  1. The fact that there was less scientific support for atheism
  2. Social peer-pressure
  3. Judicial pressures

As can be seen, the greatest scientists and most scientists in general have all been atheists.

To end, I’ll leave the reader with this quote by Dawkins: “Raphael and Michelangelo were Christians –it was pretty much the only option in their time. If history had worked out differently, and Michelangelo had been commissioned to paint a ceiling for a giant Museum of Science, mightn’t he have produced something at least as inspirational as the Sistine Chapel?”

To your success,
Nikhil Mahadea