It seems to me that many atheists think evangelical Christians are naive about science. According to some recent events, there is some ongoing discussion happening between Christians in science with secular scientists, that are addressing the topics of religion and science.
See his for more info:
The secular science group is AAAS; the evangelical “Christians in science” group is ASA.
Both the university system and natural science in the modern sense are the creations of Christianity. The Christian Weltanschauung was a unique develpment in the history of thought, since it held that God is rational and that (unlike in, e.g., Judaism or Islam) the mind of God could be better known through the systematic study of His creation; as opposed to the arbitrary and capricious gods of the Greeks and Romans. It was this change in worldview which made systematic study into the physical world possible. For much more on this, see the below article and book by Prof. Thomas E. Woods, Jr.:
“How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization,” LewRockwell.com, May 2, 2005. http://www.lewrockwell.com/woods/woods40.html
How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, 2005). http://www.amazon.com/dp/0895260387
Below one can obtain Chapter 3: “How the Monks Saved Civilization” from the above book for free:
The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences of the People’s Republic of China concluded in 2002:
One of the things we [the Chinese Academy] were asked to look into was what accounted for the success, in fact, the pre-eminence of the West all over the world. We studied everything we could from the historical, political, economic, and cultural perspective. At first, we thought it was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity. That is why the West has been so powerful. The Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the successful transition to democratic politics. We don’t have any doubt about this.
Quoted in David Aikman, Ph.D., Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity Is Changing the Global Balance of Power (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2003), p. 5. Aikman is a former Time magazine Beijing bureau chief.
Natural science as a discipline in the modern sense didn’t exist before the Scientific Revolution. The Scientific Revolution began with the publication of De revolutionibus orbium coelestium by clergyman Nicolaus Copernicus in 1543. Before then, what existed in the Western intellectual world (going all the way back to the Greeks) was Aristotelianism, which held to geocentrism based upon philisophical ideals. This lead to the persecution of Galileo Galilei, which was demanded by the Aristotelian academics of the time in order to protect their bailiwick; the actual churchmen and the pope were quite enthusiastic about Galileo’s observations confirming heliocentrism, but caved-in to the demands of the Aristotelian academics. For the details on that, see:
Prof. Jerry Bergman, “The Great Galileo Myth,” Investigator, No. 95 (March 2004), pp. 36-47. http://web.archive.org/web/20071212222840/http://www.adam.com.au/bstett/ReligGalileoMyth95.htm
Many of the top names in the history of science have been deeply devout Christians, such as Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton and James Clerk Maxwell, just to name a few. For these men, their scientific investigations were driven by their desire to better know the mind of God.
Traditional Christian theology has maintained that God never violates natural law, as God, in His omniscience, knew in the beginning all that He wanted to achieve and so, in His omnipotence, He formed the laws of physics in order to achieve His goal. The idea that God would violate His own laws would mean that God is not omniscient. In traditional Christian theology, miracles do not violate natural law—rather, they are events that are so improbable that they can only be explained by the existence of God and His acting in the world.
Interestingly, physics, in the form of the Big Bang cosmology, has many decades ago already proved that God exists in all of existence’s ultimate past, since the Big Bang singularity is the uncaused first cause, one of the ancient definitions of God held by all the Abrahamic religions.
Unfortunately, most modern physicists have been all too willing to abandon the laws of physics if it produces results that they’re uncomfortable with, i.e., in reference to religion. It’s the antagonism for religion on the part of the scientific community which greatly held up the acceptance of the Big Bang (for some 40 years), due to said scientific community’s displeasure with it confirming the traditional theological position of creatio ex nihilo, and also because no laws of physics can apply to the singularity itself (i.e., quite literally, the singularity is supernatural, in the sense that no form of physics can apply to it, since physical values are at infinity at the singularity, and so it is not possible to perform the arithmetical operations of addition or subtraction on them; and in the sense that the singularity is beyond creation, as it is not a part of spacetime, but rather is the boundary of space and time).
The originator of the Big Bang theory, circa 1930, was Roman Catholic priest and physicist Prof. Georges Lemaître; and it was enthusiastically endorsed by Pope Pius XII in 1951, long before the scientific community finally came to accept it.
Rabbi Moses Maimonides and Saint Thomas Aquinas, from their readings of biblical scripture, had both defined God as the Uncaused First Cause (which is equivalent to Aristotle’s conception of God as the Unmoved Mover), and so the physics community was quite reluctant to confirm with the Big Bang that God exists per this traditional definition of God.
As regards physicists abandoning physical law due to their theological discomfort with the Big Bang, in an article by physicist and mathematician Prof. Frank J. Tipler he gives the following example involving no less than physicist Prof. Steven Weinberg:
The most radical ideas are those that are perceived to support religion, specifically Judaism and Christianity. When I was a student at MIT in the late 1960s, I audited a course in cosmology from the physics Nobelist Steven Weinberg. He told his class that of the theories of cosmology, he preferred the Steady State Theory because “it *least* resembled the account in Genesis” (my emphasis). In his book *The First Three Minutes* (chapter 6), Weinberg explains his earlier rejection of the Big Bang Theory: “Our mistake is not that we take our theories too seriously, but that we do not take them seriously enough. It is always hard to realize that these numbers and equations we play with at our desks have something to do with the real world. *Even worse, there often seems to be a general agreement that certain phenomena are just not fit subjects for respectable theoretical and experimental effort.*” [My emphasis—J. R.]
... But as [Weinberg] himself points out in his book, the Big Bang Theory was an automatic consequence of standard thermodynamics, standard gravity theory, and standard nuclear physics. All of the basic physics one needs for the Big Bang Theory was well established in the 1930s, some two decades before the theory was worked out. Weinberg rejected this standard physics not because he didn’t take the equations of physics seriously, but because he did not like the religious implications of the laws of physics. ...
For that and a number of other such examples, see:
Frank J. Tipler, “Refereed Journals: Do They Insure Quality or Enforce Orthodoxy?,” Progress in Complexity, Information, and Design (PCID), Vols. 2.1 and 2.2 (January-June 2003). http://www.iscid.org/papers/Tipler_PeerReview_070103.pdf Also published as Chapter 7 in Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing, edited by William A. Dembski, “Foreword” by John Wilson (Wilmington, Delaware: ISI Books, 2004).
Prof. Stephen Hawking reinforces what Weinberg and Tipler wrote about concerning the antagonism of the scientific community for religion, resulting in them abandoning good physics. In his book The Illustrated A Brief History of Time (New York: Bantam Books, 1996), p. 62, Hawking wrote:
Many people do not like the idea that time has a beginning, probably because it smacks of divine intervention. (The Catholic Church, on the other hand, seized on the big bang model and in 1951 officially pronounced it to be in accordance with the Bible). There were therefore a number of attempts to avoid the conclusion that there had been a big bang.
On p. 179 of the same book, Hawking wrote “In real time, the universe has a beginning and an end at singularities that form a boundary to spacetime and at which the laws of science break down.”
Agnostic and physicist Dr. Robert Jastrow, founding director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, wrote in his book God and the Astronomers (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1978), p. 113:
This religious faith of the scientist [that there is no First Cause] is violated by the discovery that the world had a beginning under conditions in which the known laws of physics are not valid, and as a product of forces or circumstances we cannot discover. When that happens, the scientist has lost control. If he really examined the implications, he would be traumatized.
For more quotes by Robert Jastrow on this, see:
John Ross Schroeder and Bill Bradford, “Science and Discomfiting Discoveries” in Life’s Ultimate Question: Does God Exist? (United Church of God, 2000) http://www.gnmagazine.org/booklets/GE/discomfitingdiscoveries.htm , http://www.gnmagazine.org/booklets/GE/GE.pdf
For more quotes by scientists along the above lines, see the below article:
Mariano, “In the Beginning ... Cosmology, Part I,” Atheism’s Assertions, February 20, 2007 http://atheismisdead.blogspot.com/2009/02/in-beginning-cosmology-part-i-pre-big.html