Why Belief Isn't That Different for Atheists or Religious People
Continued from previous page
There’s far better and far more frequent "evidence" that the sun is traveling around us. We see it happen daily.
Yet almost everyone in the world is willing to accept that what we see is based on an illusion. Even that the illusion is caused by something that we cannot perceive. That the earth, which feels so solid and still beneath our feet -- another illusion, is actually spinning around.
More often, the case for God is based on inference.
"Oh look, what an amazing, wonderful world. And see how it all fits together, more intricately than a Swiss watch, but a million, million times more complicated, it must have taken one heck of a Great Watchmaker! There’s no other way to account for it!"
This is, in fact, a very normal thing to do.
We have lots and lots of theories that involve things we can’t "see," that create a whole story to explain the effects that we do see. Evolution is one.
We have theories that claim the existence of things we don’t understand.
From Newton, right up to the present, nobody knows what gravity actually is.
There are theories about things that are a lot stranger than God, who is, after all, a lot like a human -- with the same sort of values, standards, practices, consciousness -- just bigger and better.
People commonly say that God moves in mysterious ways, but not nearly as mysteriously as things move according to quantum theory.
I think it is safe to say that no one understands quantum mechanics. Do not keep saying to yourself, if you can possibly avoid it, "But how can it possibly be like that?" Because you will go down the drain into a blind alley from which nobody has yet escaped.
Nobody knows how it can be like that.
-- Richard Feynman
The more success the quantum theory has, the sillier it looks.
-- Albert Einstein
Anyone who is not shocked by quantum mechanics has not fully understood it.
-- Niels Bohr
So how do we sort out weird theories -- including those about invisible things, those with big, gaping holes, and those that involve strange, inexplicable ideas -- and pick the ones that we accept and reject others?
We play a game called "If … Then …"
We take whatever observations we have. Then we make up a story that "explains" it. Once we have a story, we say, "If this story is true, then things should happen in a certain way."
It is often stated that of all the theories proposed in this century, the silliest is quantum theory. In fact, some say that the only thing quantum theory has going for it is that it is unquestionably correct.
-- Michio Kaku
What Kaku means by that is, if you plug in quantum equations, then make a prediction, it works.
If you imagine a mystery force called gravity -- without being able to describe what it is or how it works -- you can plug in Newton’s equations and then discover that it works every time.
The same is true with evolution. Whatever the gaps, however incredible it seems, if you proceed on the assumption that it’s real, then everything else in biology works with it.
The opposite is true with theories of God.
If God tells the truth and there’s nothing wrong with the chain of evidence, then there should be no contradictions within sacred texts. But there are.