I think belief in a god, or gods is much like the belief in the Simulation Hypothesis, or that we are Boltzmann brains, with one key difference. Reasoning about the simulation hypothesis brings up an interesting conversation about computer science, consciousness and psychology. Boltzmann brains bring up physics and entropy. Religion brings up history and the statement ‘we have all the answers (or god does) so don’t bother asking’. Each of them are are possible but considering them is somewhat pointless. It doesn’t make any future predictions, they are all unverifiable.
My issue with religion is that it stops us from moving forward and exploring the next unknown. I was brought up in a fairly fundamental Christian family, and when I finally ditched literal creationism I kept a ‘God of the gaps’. Saying we (humanity) don’t know what caused the big bang, or abiogenesis, therefore God. The flaw in this seem obvious now in retrospect, it stops us from look and from exploring these unknowns, all to protect the faith. To me this is not a good way to move forward. I am now a student taking a double major in Physics and Computer Science, hoping to one day research and understand some of these unknowns, rather then accredit my imagination.
Feel free to point holes in my argument, I’d love to know where I’ve gone wrong this time. At least I will once the pain of being wrong wears away.
With that, I’d like to respond to some of what I’ve seen here:
I hope no one is saying the multiverse is proven, your right it isn’t. It is based on the Copernican principle, which says we are not privileged in anyway, we are merely an average, or usual value. Not the centre of the solar system, galaxy or universe. Expanding this says that even the universe is not privileged, it is one of many. Your right this doesn’t proven anything, but is more of a guiding principle in how we do cosmology. There are however some less energy dense spots in the cosmic microwave background that could be caused by our universe bumping into another and exchanging energy. Of cause this cannot be proven, but neither can anything. If we can somehow make a theory of the multiverse that makes accurate predictions which we can measure in our own universe, then that would be enough. After all no one can observe gravity, only the effect it has. Your right in that we don’t have such a theory yet. (Until string theory makes verifiable predictions, it should be called string hypothesis. Yes everyone mixes up terminology.)
Now abiogenesis is something we can experimentally test. No, no one has made life yet, but a lot of work is going into simulating conditions of the early earth. There are several possible hypothesizes that are still being testing. I would not call it belief that life arose from natural processes. Simply because we do not know exactly how it happed, or have not yet been able to replicate it does not falsify it, or make it ‘the religion of atheism’. In fact, or that point, many scientists who accept evolution and that life arose through natural cases subscribe to major religions such as Christianity. (Also, I don’t think your doing this but a see a lot of religious people trying to disprove evolution by saying it cannot explain how life arose. Abiogenesis is not in the domain of evolution, much like the function f(x)=4/x has the domain of all the real number excluding zero.)
On this, yes I would actually agree that some textbook are badly worded. Science occurs in the boundary between knowledge and ignorance. I think that textbooks need to acknowledge this a lot more then they do. Not knowing something is not bad, it mean there is work to do. Schools tend to get this message very wrong.
We have directly observed mutations, both beneficial, negative and neutral. We have directly observed beneficial mutations being selected for. Unfortunately humans have simply not been around long enough to see these mutation accumulate to give a vastly different species. (I say vastly different because we have observed mutations to the point where evolved species can no longer interbred with the original.) However what some people don’t seem to get is that ‘microscopic evolution’ and ‘macroscopic evolution’ are the same thing, over different time periods. It is a matter of extrapolation. Additionally there is much indirect observation of evolution. This isn’t really my field, so I’ll probably mess up trying to explain it, but I encourage you to look into this.
Copying into LibreOffice, I’ve written 1.5 pages, so I’ll have to stop now, but any comments or rebuttal are most welcome.