In his recent post being touted over at Project Reason, Sean Carroll, an atheist physicist, reiterates the fact that he does not take money from the Templeton Foundation because Templeton believes that science and religion can be reconciled. Why science and religion need to be "reconciled" (I'm not sure if this is Templeton's term or Carroll's) is a little mysterious.
Things only need be reconciled when they are at odds. But since science and religion are not at odds, they have no need to be reconciled.
What would we think if someone asked whether history and economics could be "reconciled?" Or mathematics and sociology? Or literature and physics?
Carroll asks questions like this because he is an atheist and he sees his scientific work through the lens of his scientific materialism. In fact, much of what you hear from the New Athiests (of which Carroll is one) is the product of this central equivocation between science and scientism. Atheists like Carroll think they are one and the same despite the fact that, well, they aren't.
In his post, he reiterates the same assertion he has made before:
Think of it this way. The kinds of questions I think about—origin of the universe, fundamental laws of physics, that kind of thing—for the most part have no direct impact on how ordinary people live their lives. No jet packs are forthcoming, as the saying goes. But there is one exception to this, so obvious that it goes unnoticed: belief in God. 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.Did you get the argument here? A "wide majority" of "scholars" have "concluded" that "God does not exist." Seriously. This is what New Atheists consider a competent argument.
Do we really determine the answers to important questions like this by taking a head count? A question is settled by majority vote? A majority of whom? Contemporary scholars? 21st century scholars? Scholars over the last 100 years? The total number of scholars who have ever existed?
Who is he talking about? How does he know this? Is there a study that has shown this? Who did it include? When was it done? Who conducted it?
Carroll clearly doesn't know the first thing about how science and religion relate to one another. A link from this post takes us to one of his previous posts where he argues that because religions make miracle claims: "And science says: none of that is true. So there you go, incompatibility."
Huh? Where has "science" shown that, say, the Resurrection (one of the miracles he mentions) is not true? What study has shown this? Who conducted it and when was it conducted? What piece of evidence is there that militates against it?
The only reason atheists like Carroll aren't laughed out of civilized discourse is because so many people are philosophically naive--that and the mere utterance of the word "science" has an incantational effect.
If I were Templeton, I wouldn't worry about Carroll not taking my money for scholarship on this question. If this is the level of discourse at which he operates, it would be embarrassing to be associated with him at all.