Poisoning the mind

Posted on September 13, 2011 by

“Does all religion—does all promotion of religion—necessarily undermine rationality?”, it was asked.

“Oh, absolutely!  That’s the whole point of religion: it promotes faith over evidence”, thus spake Prof. Peter Atkins, Chemist and Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford University. The assertion that religion holds back our cognitive capabilities is a common refrain amongst the militant atheists. Biologist PZ Myers contributed by informing us all that:

“…I don’t just reject religion, but actively oppose it in all of its forms — because it is fundamentally a poison for the mind that undermines our critical faculties.”

Many are the ways that one can demonstrate the errors of such statements, but I am going to keep it simple and focus on the lives of two men who did more for science than, so far, either Peter Atkins or PZ Myers have come even close to doing.

Gregor Mendel

Gregor Johann Mendel

An Augustinian monk, who died in 1884, Gregor Mendel pioneered the field of genetics by conducting experiments on approximately 29,000 types of pea plant over the course of about seven years. It was not until the 20th century that the rest of the world caught up to him and recognised the importance of what are now known as the laws of Mendelian inheritance.  I say the world caught up to him, but unsurprisingly, our atheist friends over in the USSR took far longer and actually decided that persecuting Mendelian geneticists like Nikolai Vavilov – who died of malnourishment while imprisoned for his scientific work – was the rational choice.  Remember, however, that it is Christianity that limits the mind.

Georges Lemaître

Georges Lemaître
Georges Lemaître was a Jesuit priest with a flair for physics who developed what he called the ‘primeval atom hypothesis’. He discussed this with Einstein who dismissed his work with the words “Vos calculs sont corrects, mais votre physique est abominable” (“Your math is correct, but your physics is abominable.”)

However, Einstein, like many others who have argued with a Jesuit, found out that it was he and not the priest that was incorrect. Why the ‘primeval atom hypothesis’ matters might not be immediately obvious, unless you know it is what Fred Hoyle called: “the big bang theory”. Hoyle, an atheist who did not like the Big Bang’s theological consequences, had not given the theory this name to help with its marketing, but none the less it is what stuck.

That clears that up then

So, there we have it: genetics and the big bang, two of the most important scientific theories to be researched in the twentieth century given to us by priests who saw their work as harmonious with worship of God. Thankfully, now we have presented this evidence, we can all rest assured that the militant atheists are going to stop their rants about Christianity ruining our rational faculties and scientific progress along with it.

Posted in: Religion