This is part of a series of posts where I subscribe and respond to a widely advertised theistic educational course.

It’s the second day, and I’m noticing a pattern emerging here.  In the very first email we had an Einstein quote being misused, misunderstood and presented in a misleading way.  Now we have a quote from Robert Wilson being thrown into the mix.  The quote in question is:

Certainly there was something that set it all off.  Certainly, if you are religious, I can’t think of a better theory of the origin of the universe to match with Genesis

For those not in the know, Wilson was one of the scientists (with Arno Penzias) who discovered cosmic microwave background radiation.  Cosmic microwave background radiation was predicted in the Big Bang theory, and it’s discovery was seen as key to proving its viability.

This email serves an important purpose.  It nicely demonstrates the difference between most theists and most atheists.  The theist writing the email believes that by including quotes from respected figures in the world of science those who respect those figures would have their views changed.  Well I’m afraid that’s not the case.

Unlike most theisms, science does not take opinion as fact. Theories must be tested and scrutinized, and only after rigorous peer review are they accepted.  While I don’t doubt Wilson said and meant the quote above, it has absolutely no relevance on whether a God exists.  if Wilson put this forward as a serious, scientific theory, it would examined and debunked.  But rather, it was an off hand comment made during an interview.

The fact that Wilson (accidentally) discovered cosmic microwave background radiation has absolutely no bearing on whether I think a God exists. In fact, I can’t see a situation where the beliefs of another shape my own, especially where that person subscribes to a monotheistic religion.  But then again, I’m not a theist who’s happy to sit in Church every Sunday listening to another person’s interpretation of a 4000 year old book.

The email also contains quotes from Arno Penzias, including:

Most physicists would rather attempt to describe the universe in ways which require no explanation. And since science can’t *explain* anything – it can only *describe* things – that’s perfectly sensible.

Yes.  That’s necessarily the way in which science has to function.  It, of course, depends on whether you are referring to the mechanical explanations for events or the philosophical explanations and where you draw the line between the two.

Update: I’ve had to amend this post because, for some reason, I had transposed the names of Wilson and Penzias.