Belief in Science and Belief in God

Belief in Science and Belief in God:
One Scientist’s Response to the “New Atheism” Challenge from a Bahá’í Faith Perspective
The modern-day proponents of atheism, such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam
Harris have gained the public’s imagination regarding their claims that God does not exist and that
organized religion is harmful to the human race. They also claim that “no evidence” exists whatsoever
to support the presence of God in human experience, suggesting on scientific grounds that the need for
a Divine Creator is a “failed hypothesis.” Furthermore, they contend that holding a belief in God is a
“delusional” act with disastrous consequences for global society on multiple fronts. Given that these
people are also highly respected and knowledgeable in their own fields of expertise, fellow atheists are
ready to accept any pointed arguments they make against organized religion, with the implication that
religious people are inherently incapable of exercising rational and critical thought---especially where it
concerns their own religions.
As both a scientist and a follower of the Bahá’í Faith, I am deeply concerned about the pervasive and
insidious suggestion that having a belief in science necessarily requires a denial of the existence of God,
and vice versa. According to the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, science
and religion are both complementary and necessary for the progress of humanity into the future. I
strongly believe that the moderating perspective offered by these teachings is a desperately needed
“middle way” between the two extremes of this perceived conflict that deserves serious consideration
by the public, with the hope of showing how a scientific and religious perspective can co-exist
In this presentation, I offer interested people the opportunity to thoughtfully consider my professional
and personal response to the “new atheism” of Dawkins and others with examples from theoretical
physics to suggest that “belief” within science is not fundamentally different from “belief” within
religion, and that the main conclusions drawn by these atheists about the science and religion debate
need to be thoroughly re-examined.
Dinesh Singh, Ph.D. is a Canadian research scientist in theoretical physics from the University of
Regina, Adjunct Professor from the University of Saskatchewan, and a member of the Bahá’í Faith
since 1994. He received his doctoral degree from the University of Alberta in 2001 and also holds B.Sc.
and M.Sc. degrees from Queen’s University and the University of Regina, respectively, all in Canada.
From 2001-2003, Dr. Singh completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Lancaster University in the United
Kingdom before returning to Regina as a part-time sessional lecturer in the Department of Physics.
Dr. Singh specializes in the study of gravitation based on Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity,
with interests in black holes, neutron stars, and other astrophysical phenomena, as well as applications
to gravitational waves and theoretical cosmology---the study of the Universe as a whole. His interests
also involve the interaction of neutrinos and other subatomic particles with gravitational fields as a
data-driven approach towards discovering a viable theory of quantum gravity.
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