There was a debate on intelligence2 US called Science Refutes God, with Lawrence Krauss and Michael Shermer in support of the motion and Dinesh D’Souza and Ian Hutchinson opposing the motion. I like the argument, particularly how Lawrence Krauss framed the argument: we haven’t found God and we’ve shone a light into every dark corner people said God exists to not find him there either.
So has science refuted God? I’m going to hedge my bets a little by explaining why I have kept the word “refutes”, instead of using disproves or demonstrates the non-existence of. ‘Refutes’ is the weaker of these expressions, but it is the only one within the scope of science. God is too vague and flexible a concept to be disproven. People have made God sufficiently malleable to be unfalsifiable. So by “refutes” I mean ‘given us a good argument against’. And I want to answer my question with a “yes”. (I consider my blog an open debate, so feel free to respond in the comments section).
And I want to begin with a story where I hope the analogy is clear. My friend of many years claims to have a life-long friend called “Blorg Sbattan”. Being a little taken aback I ask why I’ve never seen Blorg despite having a mutual close friend for many years. I’m told we just happen to have not all hung out together. When I get home I search my friend’s Friend List on Facebook, no Blorg. So I do a generic Facebook search, still no Blorg. So I try something unlikely, a Google+ search and still no Blorg. Then I do a Google search for “Blorg Sbattan”, and there are precisely no results and the suggestion that I meant “Blog button”.
I thought this was weird, so I checked electoral roles, publicly available birth certificates and 123People. No Blorg Sbattan. So I went to my friend and I told him that I searched for his friend Blorg and couldn’t find any record of him on the internet, and asked if we could go to his house, because I was curious about meeting him. My friend agreed and told me that Blorg lived at 5 Bouncemeadow road, and we walked there.
The road we arrived at was called Springfield road. My friend told me it must have been a translation error and not to take him so literally. We got to number 5 and a lovely lady named Mrs. Galileo answered the door, but looked at us with utter confusion when we asked if Blorg lived there: “There’s no one here by that name I’m afraid, lovelies. Don’t know of anyone by that name, either. Sorry”.
By this point my investigation convinced me that Blorg Sbattan was not real. I had not proved he was not real, but my investigation and attempt to meet him bore no fruit; I had refuted the existence of Blorg Sbattan to most people’s satisfaction.
And this is the exploration science has had with God. Everything science has looked at is somewhere people claim God is, and He isn’t. It’s all natural stuff. God doesn’t make the sun come up every day and doesn’t make it hotter for one part of the year than another; it turns out that gravity does that. Diseases come from little life forms that live all over the place. The diversity of species comes from the fact that life is hard and children have non-identical traits and pass on their traits if they win the struggle. God is not in all the places people said He was. Instead we find physics, chemistry, biology and other natural sciences.
There is one bastion left for God, the creation of the universe; the ‘something from nothing’ dilemma. History tells us that this is just another place we won’t find Him when given the chance to explore, and the something from nothing thing will be another natural phenomenon. But with integrity science is shining a light in that direction too, and we can’t see Him there.