Sean Carroll on the compatibility of science and religion as well as the Templeton Foundation.

Badass physicist Sean Carroll has some strong words in slate about whether or not religion and science can ever coexist, as well as for the Templeton Foundation.

I don’t think that science and religion are reconciling or can be reconciled in any meaningful sense, and I believe that it does a great disservice to the world to suggest otherwise. Therefore, way back in the day, I declined an opportunity to speak at a Templeton-sponsored conference.

That’s just lovely.

And that’s the real reason why I don’t want to be involved directly with Templeton. It’s not a matter of ethical compromise; it’s simply a matter of sending the wrong message. Any time respectable scientists take money from Templeton, they lend their respectability—even if only implicitly—to the idea that science and religion are just different paths to the same ultimate truth. That’s not something I want to do. If other people feel differently, that’s for them and their consciences, not something that is going to cause me to shun them.

I…kind of want to marry this man.

There are two excerpts that really solidified this for me.

Due to the efforts of many smart people over the course of many years, scholars who are experts in the fundamental nature of reality have by a wide majority concluded that God does not exist. We have better explanations for how things work. The shift in perspective from theism to atheism is arguably the single most important bit of progress in fundamental ontology over the last 500 years. And it matters to people … a lot.



And if anyone is tempted to award me the Templeton Prize, I will totally accept it! And use the funds to loudly evangelize for naturalism and atheism. (After I pay off the mortgage.)

Smiles all around.  :)

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Glodson

    I completely agree with Carrol. There’s lots of factors in how I came to be an atheist. A good bit of it was stripping away the armor of respect I was conditioned to give religious beliefs. Oddly enough, I’m still peeling that armor away from myself as I still feel a vague sense of guilt when I say something I know to be blasphemous. Thirty years of thinking in a particular way is hard to shake.

    But stripping that automatic respect was one part. The other part is that I had no use for a god in explaining anything. And no real room in which to put good in my understanding of the universe. And I had no evidence. God is a needless hypothesis. We need god for the universe to exist. We need no god for the solar system to exist. We need no god for evolution. We need no god for civilization. We need no god for morality.

    In order for me to believe in a god, evidence needs to be put for this god. In the end, it isn’t the problems with theology, the contradictions in the Bible, the questions arising form the problem of evil, the ahistorical nature of the Bible, the splintering of the faith into radically different denominations, and so on. It is the lack of evidence.

  • invivoMark

    Everyone I know of with the name Sean Carroll is a badass. (There’s a developmental biologist named Sean Carroll.)

  • Silent Service

    Very pragmatic. And pretty much how I think too. Love it.

  • Jasper

    Religion and science are compatible in the same sense that matter and antimatter are compatible – as long as they aren’t trying to occupy the same space at the same time.

  • Little Magpie

    “I…kind of want to marry this man.”

    Not to dissuade you but…
    1) what would your fiancee think about that?
    2) do we know if he has a spouse/partner/what-have-you?

    3) is that legal in your state of residence (or his?)

    I know what you mean, though. I once said about a female graphic artist that she could father my children. :)

    • Loqi

      3) SOON!