PZ Myers vainly justifies his bankrupted Atheistic belief by attempting to connect it to science.
What should a scientist expect from an idea? That it be a reasonable advance in knowledge; that it be built on a foundation of evidence; that it be testable; that it should lead to new and useful questions and ideas. If we look at religion from that perspective, it doesn’t help. At best, the hypothesis of the supernatural and/or a supreme being is vague, unfounded, and inapplicable in any practical fashion-deistic views, for instance, are so abstract and so carefully divorced from risk of challenge that they represent an empty hypothesis, and the most flattering thing you can say about them is that they’re harmless. At worst, religion is confused, internally contradictory, and in conflict with evidence from the physical (and near as we can tell, only) world.
Myers is attempting to create an intersection between the scientific method and the materialistic requirement of an atheistic worldview. Unfortunately he is being inconsistent and he doesn’t even realize it. Why does Atheism expect an idea to advance in knowledge? IOW what is intrinsic about Atheism that requires an idea to advance in knowledge? It seems to me Myers is making a subjective and non-scientific judgment on what Atheism should be. It is just as likely that an atheist can arrive at his faith because he finds the idea of a personal God repulsive. There is nothing intrinsic with a belief system that denies the existence of a personal God that requires it to advance in knowledge or empirically based. Myers is projecting his own scientific training onto his metaphysical belief. I would wager a very large portion of self professing atheists did not come to their faith by detail study of all the evidence for and against such a belief system. I doubt many atheists have read and studied the philosophies of the world’s major religions. For that matter, I doubt they even possess the understanding against Atheism. Find a regular Joe in the street who professes to be an atheist. Ask him if he know anything about the anthropic principle, the implication of the Big Bang, the criticism to Darwinian evolution and the moral implication of Atheism? Myers’s claim of intersection between science and Atheism is just patently false.
While Myers claims that Atheism like science requires that it be built on a foundation of evidence and testability, he rejects this very premise by his commitment to Atheism. The entire theological basis for Atheism asserts that there is no God and no evidence for God. Unfortunately for the atheist he/she is not omniscience. There may be evidence somewhere out there in the universe for God’s existence, but because of Myers’s limitation he does see that evidence, so he must base his belief on faith. As I’ve already mentioned, not every atheist have evaluated and understood all the evidence for and against Atheism before becoming an atheists.