Why should I be scared of being proved wrong?
I was following a discussion earlier where the claim was made that science is increasingly getting stuck at certain points, various scientific theories are evidence-free, and that the discoveries of the next century will consign atheism to an insignificant rump, if not oblivion. That was meant to be a taunt, but it missed the mark in a big way.
The arguments entirely failed to convince me, but while I must confess that I’m not particularly keen on the idea that my search for answers might be taking me on a trajectory away from truth and towards some sort of epistemological dead end, I was surprised and slightly amused that atheists were expected to react badly to the idea that evidence might eventually prove them wrong.
Actually, that isn’t quite right – I should probably say that convincing evidence for some sort of creator/deity might come to light to substantiate religious claims. That might sound like an irrelevant distinction, but it’s fundamental to how people approach the issue.
I know very few atheists who dogmatically assert that there is definitely no God, but I know loads who would say the evidence is lacking or absent, or that there’s no good reason to believe the claims of religion. Unlike the stereotype of unbending religious faith, atheism is generally conditional on the evidence.
So sorry to the taunting apologists, but I don’t feel bothered by the idea that one day, there might be evidence that demonstrates my current beliefs to be mistaken. I’m where I am as a result of following the evidence, and if it takes me in a different direction, I’ll follow it there as well. And to be frank, any atheists who are bothered by that idea are doing it wrong.
Image courtesy of Prashant Jambunathan, used with permission