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(2007-11-05 23:01:17)
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科学和理性支持无神论吗?

 

 作者:爱德华.A.雷姆勒 

No, says a nuclear physicist. To understand why, you must be prepared to face the Fundamental Question of Philosophy: Why is there anything rather than nothing?

一位核物理学家的答案是“不”。为了理解个中原因,你必须做好准备,面对哲学的基本问题:为什么这个世界是有而不是无?

The challenge of militant Islam is focusing new attention on religion. Many, especially in Europe, are turning from being indifferent to religion to being militantly anti-religious. Christian and Islamic fundamentalism are both being blamed for roles in the bloody war on terrorism. Thus secular Europeans have voiced dismay at American religiosity and worry that faith-based reasoning is spreading in Europe, too. Many Britons, for example, believe the Christian faith of Prime Minister Tony Blair helped lead him to entangle Britain in America's war in Iraq. Thus also, the Oxford zoologist Richard Dawkins, who calls himself "the world's most prominent atheist", asserts the "irrationality of belief in God and the grievous harm religion has inflicted on society, from the Crusades to 9/11".

由于好战的伊斯兰教发起了挑战,人们正以新的姿态关注宗教。尤其是在欧洲,许多人正从漠视宗教转向以好斗的姿态反对宗教。基督宗教和伊斯兰教的原教旨主义者们都因为在恐怖主义的血腥战争中所扮演的角色而受到谴责。因此,世俗主义的欧洲人已对美国呼吁宗教虔诚的声音感到恐慌,并且担心这种基于信仰的论调也在欧洲蔓延开来。比如,许多英国人认为,托尼.布莱尔首相的基督教信仰对他把英国卷入美国在伊拉克的战争起到了促进作用。因此,自称“世界上最著名的无神论者”的牛津动物学家理查德.道金斯断言说,“从十字军到911,上帝信仰的非理性以及宗教令人忧伤的伤害已让社会饱受痛苦。”

The resurgence of a militant atheism represented by these remarks has been the immediate impetus for writing this essay. My primary goal is to analyse the question of the rationality of belief in God with emphasis on the claim that such is irrational because it contradicts science.

这些言论代表了一种好斗的无神论的复兴,而这种复兴则是撰写这篇文章的直接原因。我的基本目标是分析关于上帝信仰合乎理性的问题,重点放在关于此类信仰有违科学所以才属于非理性的主张上。

For simplicity, belief in God will be identified with theism and with the assertion God exists. This ignores the distinction between theism, which usually considers God as an active agent in world history, and deism, which does not.

为了简单起见,我把上帝信仰等同于有神论和关于上帝存在的断言。这忽略了有神论和自然神论之间的明显差异,前者通常把上帝当作世界历史的一个积极参与者,而后者则不这样认为。

Science cannot answer why anything (including science itself), rather than nothing, exists. There is nothing in the universe that can explain the existence of the universe.

科学无法回答为什么这个世界是有(包括科学自身)而不是无。宇宙之中没有任何东西可以解释宇宙的存在。

Theism generally comes packaged in a religion. The latter is a complex set of ideas that relate God to all aspects of nature including, especially, human nature. For example, religions explain thunder, stars, good/bad fortune, the existence of humankind, the meaning and proper conduct of life, and so on. Each religion relates these to God or gods.

有神论一般都夹杂在宗教之中。后者是把上帝和自然的所有方面,尤其是人性,联系起来的复杂的整套观念。比如,宗教解释雷、星、好运和厄运、人类的存在、生命的意义和适当行为,如此等等。每个宗教都把这些和上帝或者诸神联系起来。

A belief in some religion can and should be distinguished from a belief in God. Religion is a diffuse topic liable to unending disputation whereas theism is not. Unfortunately, most discussions fail to keep this distinction clear. Thus one often reads that religion has made a claim in contradiction to scientific truth, theism is irrational. This is simply a confusion of words and concepts: the rationality of theism does not stand on the scripture of any religion.

可以而且应当把对某种宗教的信仰和对上帝的信仰区分开来。宗教是一个容易引起无休止争论的弥散型话题,而有神论则不是。令人遗憾的是,大多数讨论都未能坚持这种明确区分。因此,人们经常看到这样的内容:宗教的主张和科学真理相抵触,有神论是非理性的。这完全是词语和概念的一种混淆:有神论的理性和任何宗教的经文并不一致。

Relating God to science

把上帝和科学联系起来

Another important way in which theism is commonly said to contradict science is in respect to creation. Particular scenarios depend on particular scriptures but God is always the creator of the universe. On the other hand, one often hears that science can or will explain creation (eg, the Big Bang) and so the role -- indeed the primary role -- of God as creator is superfluous or just wrong.

另一种断言通常认为有神论和科学相抵触,这种重要断言和创世有关。宗教典籍不同,创世的具体情节也就有所差异,但是不管怎样,上帝都是宇宙的创造者。另一方面,人们经常听说科学能够而且将会解释创世(比如,大爆炸),因此,上帝作为创世者的角色——这的确是一种基本角色——就是多余的或者干脆就是错误的。

Thinking just beyond this shallow point, one realises that science can only explain the creation of something in terms of something else ("something" here includes non-substantials such as laws of nature). After a bit more thought one arrives at the key creation question known as the Fundamental Question of Philosophy: why is there anything at all rather than nothing at all? Analysis of the FQP leads to a clear understanding of the relation between theism and science.

这是一种肤浅的观点,只要稍微深入思考一下,人们就会认识到,科学只能根据一种事物解释另外一种事物的创造(这里的“某种事物”包括自然规律等非物质)。在经过稍许思考之后,人们就会想到关于创世的关键问题,即哲学的基本问题:为什么这个世界竟然是有而不是无?对哲学基本问题的分析导致了对有神论和科学之间关系的明确理解。

As a start, let us try to answer the FQP with science. To do this fairly we grant the stipulation that everything in the universe is explicable, or will ultimately be physically explicable. This means, in particular, that all fields of science are reducible to physics and that every area of knowledge is a proper subject for scientific inquiry. It does not mean that all explanations will be reduced to physics. It means just that they could be, at least in principle.

首先,让我们试着用科学来回答哲学基本问题。为了公正起见,我们同意这样的假定:宇宙中的一切都是可以解释的,或者最终都将得到物理学上的解释。具体来说,这意味着,科学的所有领域都可以简化成物理学,知识的每个方面都是科学探索的适当主题。这不意味着所有的解释都将被简化成物理学。它只意味着它们或许能被简化,至少是在原则上。

This assumption underlies virtually all of modern science. Biologists seek ultimate causes of biological phenomena in terms of chemistry; chemists, in terms of physics. Even mental phenomena are assumed to be ultimately explicable in terms of the physical brain. Not everyone believes this scheme to be true, but a real scientist would never attempt to base scientific explanations on some sort of non-physical, spiritual essence, force, soul, or will. Even a scientific study of artistic or religious inspiration would not use the classical interpretation of inspirations as the in-taking of a spirit.

实际上,所有现代科学都建立在这个假定的基础之上。生物学家根据化学,寻求生物化学现象的终极原因;而化学家则又依据物理。甚至对于精神现象,人们也做出假定说,它们最终可以根据物质性的大脑得到解释。并非每个人都相信这种方案的真实性,但是一个真正的科学家绝对不会试图把科学解释建立在某种非物质的精神性本质、力量、灵魂或者意志的基础之上。甚至关于艺术或者宗教灵感的科学研究也不会按照经典的灵感解释看待灵魂。

Science and the fundamental question

科学与哲学基本问题

Returning to the task of answering the FQP, pick anything -- say a drop of water -- and ask yourself: why is there this thing? Why does this drop exist? An attempt to answer this within the framework of science leads to a series of existing things, and a why-question for each of them.

现在回到哲学基本问题上来,随便拿一样东西来问你自己,比如一滴水:为什么会有水这种东西?为什么会有这一滴水?在科学框架内回答这个问题的企图会导向一系列现有的东西,而且它们当中的每一个都有一个为什么的问题。

The series starting with a drop of water might be sketched as follows. A drop's existence can be understood in terms of its individual water molecules, the particular forces between them, and the general physical laws governing motion: quantum mechanics (QM).

对于从一滴水开始的这个系列,可以粗略地描述如下。在理解一滴水的存在时,可以依据它单个的水分子、分子之间的特定力量以及约束运动的一般物理法则,即量子力学。

Why molecules and inter-molecular forces exist can be understood in terms of atoms, inter-atomic forces, and again, QM. Similarly, atoms and inter-atomic forces, in terms of electrons, nuclei, the electrodynamic forces between them and QM; and so on.

对于分子以及分子间作用力存在的原因,可以依据原子、原子间作用力以及量子力学。类似地,对于原子和原子间作用力,可以依据电子、原子核、它们之间的电动力以及量子力学;如此等等,不一而足。

Eventually one reaches the most fundamental level of physics, its most basic concepts and equations. All paths of why-questions, starting from all things, all lead to the same end: the basis of physics. At this point, the FQP requires you to ask why this basis -- the set of concepts and equations underlying physics -- exists.

最终,人们会到达最基本的物理学层面上,即物理学最基本的概念和方程式。一切事物都有一个“为什么”的问题,而所有“为什么”的问题全都通向同样的结局:物理学的基础。于是,哲学基本问题要求你提出一个新的问题:为什么存在这种基础,即为什么存在为物理学奠定基础的成套的概念和方程式。

The known basis of physics changes in time, and deepens as our understanding of nature deepens. However, at any given time, physics cannot explain the existence of its basis. Its sole job is to explain what is not in its basis in terms of its basis--which is why a basis is called a basis. Thus the FQP creates a series of questions all leading to an unanswerable end -- unanswerable, that is, within the framework of science. Science cannot answer why anything (including science itself), rather than nothing, exists. There is nothing in the universe that can explain the existence of the universe.

物理学已知的基础随着时间的变化而变化,并且随着我们对自然的理解的加深而加深。然而,在任何特定的时间,物理学无法解释自身基础的存在。它的唯一工作就是根据自己的基础去解释在其基础之外的东西——这正是基础之所以被称作基础的原因。因此,哲学基本问题产生了一系列问题,所有这些问题全都导向一个无法回答的结果——也就是说,在科学的框架内无法回答。科学无法回答为什么这个世界是有(包括科学自身)而不是无。宇宙中没有任何东西可以解释宇宙的存在。

That the answer to the FQP cannot be found within the bounds of science and rationality means only that. It does not mean its answer does not exist. If an answer is assumed to exist, in some sense of the word exist, there can be no error in naming it. The traditional name is God. Thus a very important conclusion: within the framework of science, God is unknowable -- and therefore, unknown. Furthermore, the unknowable God must be conceived to be an indivisible unity. For how can one know of parts of that of which nothing can be known?

在科学和理性的限度内无法找到哲学基本问题的答案,这个陈述的寓意仅此而已,它不意味着这个问题的答案就不存在。如果已经假定一个答案是存在的,那么,根据“存在”这个字眼的某种意义,给它起个名字不会有错。它传统的名字是上帝。因此,我们得出一个非常重要的结论:在科学的界限内,上帝是不可知的——因此,也是未知的。进而,这个不可知的上帝必须被设想成一个不可见的统一体。因为,当一个事物的任何方面都不可以被认知的时候,一个人怎么能够认识它的某些部分呢?

Common mistakes concerning creation

有关创世的常见错误

It is worth mentioning two red herrings commonly dragged into this argument. People with a smattering of physics may bring up "quantum mechanical vacuum fluctuations". Could the universe have been created out of nothing via a vacuum fluctuation? Could it have been created all by itself out of nothing (and therefore, it is implied, without need of God)?

值得一提的是两个常被扯进这种争论的用来转移注意力的话题。对物理学一知半解的人们可能会提出“量子力学真空涨落”。宇宙能够通过一种真空涨落被无中生有地创造出来吗?它能够完全依靠自身,被无中生有地创造出来吗(因此,也就是意味着不需要上帝)?

The scientific answer is No: a physical vacuum is a thing, something rather than nothing. Furthermore, there still remains the question of why quantum mechanics itself exists -- or any natural law for that matter?

科学的答案是“不能”:物理学上的真空是一种物,是有而不是无。此外,量子力学本身或者就此而言任何自然规律何以存在的问题仍未得到解决。

Others feel that the FQP can have meaning only if one believes that the universe was created at some time, before which there was neither time nor universe. They feel that, therefore, if time extends to the infinite past, then no moment of creation ever existed and therefore it need not be explained.

有人觉得只有当一个人相信宇宙是在某个时间被创造出来的时候,哲学基本问题才有意义,在那之前既没有时间,也没有宇宙。因此,他们觉得,如果时间会延伸至无穷的过去,那么就不存在创世的时刻,因此也就没有必要加以解释。

Unfortunately, this still leaves open the question of why the universe exists at all? Furthermore, why, if it exists today, must it continue to do so tomorrow?

遗憾的是,这仍留下了悬而未决的问题:为什么竟有宇宙的存在?进而,如果它在今天是存在的,那么它为什么必须明天仍会存在?

Alternative views of the FQP

关于哲学基本问题的各种观点

Should the Fundamental Question of Philosophy be taken seriously? Many (if not most) people ignore the FQP simply because they are not intellectually serious themselves, but some serious thinkers also ignore it.

哲学基本问题应当受到严肃对待吗?许多人(如果不是大多数人的话)完全由于在知性上不够严肃的缘故而无视哲学基本问题,但是有些严肃的思想家也对它视而不见。

There seem to be three possible views of the FQP:

对于哲学基本问题,似乎存在三种可能的观点:

(1) It is irrational, and hence, uninteresting.

(1)它是非理性的,因而也是令人不感兴趣的。

(2) It is rational, but scientifically unanswerable and hence uninteresting.

(2)它是理性的,但是无法通过科学予以回答,因而让人提不起兴趣。

(3) It is rational and scientifically unanswerable, but still interesting.

(3)它是理性的,也是科学无法回答的,但它仍是令人感兴趣的。

In the first of these, the claim of irrationality may rest on the phrase "nothing at all" contained within the FQP. Try to visualise "nothing at all"! It is not empty space because space is something. It is not altogether clear that we can conceive of "nothing at all"; but we cannot coherently talk or ask about that of which we have no conception. In a similar vein, some people may feel that the claim that God created the world ex nihilo (from nothing) is irrational since we have no conception of nihilo.

在第一种观点中,关于非理性的主张可能是由于哲学基本问题所包含的“无”这种说法。试着设想一下“无”是什么样子!它不是空空如也的空间,因为空间是有。总的来说,我们不清楚自己能否设想“无”是什么样子;不过我们无法条理清楚地谈论或者问及我们对其没有任何概念的事物。类似地,由于我们没有关于“无”的概念,所以有人可能觉得上帝从“无”中创造世界的主张是非理性的。

Another possible irrationality in the FQP is contained in the word "why". Some thinkers read motivation into "why", not causality. Since there is no reason to assume that every cause has human-style motivation, and certainly no scientific cause includes motivation, the FQP seems to include an irrational assumption. Many serious people (such as the 18th century Scottish philosopher David Hume) view scientifically unanswerable questions of this sort as uninteresting.

哲学基本问题中的“为什么”这几个字包含了另一种非理性的可能。有些思想家把动机理解成“为什么”而不是因果关系。由于没有理由假定每个原因都有人类形式的动机,而且任何科学原因肯定也都不包含动机,所以哲学基本问题似乎包含的一个非理性的假定。许多严肃的人们(比如18世纪苏格兰的哲学家大卫.休谟)就从科学的角度把此类无法回答的问题看作是令人不感兴趣的。

It is also possible to argue that a question which is unanswerable is therefore uninteresting. Why, for instance, hit your head against a stone wall? Or, similarly, one could argue because a question lacks a rational answer, the question is irrational. If this is the case, it is meaningless and therefore uninteresting.

对于无法回答的问题因而也是令人不感兴趣的问题,还有其它加以论证的可能。比如,为什么用你的头去撞石头墙?或者类似地,人们或许可以论证说,由于一个问题缺少理性的答案,所以这个问题是非理性的。如果属于这种情况,那么这个问题就是无意义的,因而也是令人不感兴趣的。

As these examples illustrate, "rationality" is ambiguous and "being interesting" is subjective. Hence, the first two views listed above cannot be argued; and no one who maintains either of them can be argued into seriously considering the FQP -- that question which is central to a belief in the concept of God.

这些事例表明,“理性”是模糊的,而“感兴趣”是主观的。因此,上面列举的前两种观点无法进行辩论;而且也不能说服相信其中任何一条的人们严肃地考虑哲学基本问题——在关于上帝概念中,这个问题是信仰的核心。

Tackling the existence of God

关于上帝的存在

What if we take the third view, that the FQP is rational and scientifically unanswerable, but interesting nonetheless? The modern and highly influential German metaphysician Martin Heidegger maintained that the FQP is the only genuine philosophical question. Oddly enough, he called himself an atheist -- but also claimed that atheists do not deny the existence of God. Rather, they deny that "God has an existence". This obscure wording serves to emphasise the ambiguity in the concept of existence. Heidegger's basic point was that simply stating that God does or does not exist, without further clarifying the sense of the word "exist", is ambiguous.

如果我们选择第三种观点,即哲学基本问题是理性的,而且是科学无法回答的,但是不管怎样仍是令人感兴趣的,那么又会出现什么结果呢?现代极具影响的德国形而上学思想家马丁.海德格尔认为,哲学基本问题是唯一真正的哲学问题。足够奇怪的是,他把自己称作无神论者,但又声称无神论并不否认上帝的存在。更确切地说,他们否认“上帝拥有一种存在”,因为这种晦涩的用语加重了生存概念的模糊性。海德格尔的基本观点是,简单地宣称上帝存在或者不存在而非进一步阐明“存在”这个字眼的意义,这是一种含混不清的做法。

To say that something "exists" normally means that it is within the universe (of every thing and every being). If we were to say that God "exists" in this sense, it would imply (since God is the reason for or explanation of why anything rather than nothing exists) that the universe explains its own existence. Or, if one prefers to think in terms of creation ex nihilo, that the universe created itself into something out of nothing: no-thing created some-thing out of no-thing! This incoherence amounts to merely a denial either of the meaning of the FQP, or an unwillingness to face its meaning.

说某种东西“存在”,这在正常情况下意味着它在(每一种事物和每一种存在的)宇宙之内。如果我们说上帝在这种意义上是“存在”的,那么它将意味着宇宙能够解释自身的存在(因为上帝是这个世界是有而不是无的原因或者解释)。或者,如果按照“无中生有”的创世论,那么就是宇宙从无中把自己创造出来,变成了有,即“无”从“无”中创造了“有”!这种语无伦次完全等于否定哲学基本问题的意义,或者不愿面对它的意义。

We now approach the end of our chain of logic. To say that God exists is to understand existence in an enlarged sense. It means that we accept his complete transcendence, that: the reason for the existence of the universe lies completely beyond the universe. In fact, it lies beyond nature -- it is, strictly speaking, "super-natural".

现在我们到了逻辑推理的尽头。说上帝存在就是在一种被放大了的意义上理解存在。它意味着我们承认他具有彻底的超然性,承认宇宙存在的原因完全在于宇宙之外。事实上,它也在自然之外,严格来说,它是“超自然”的。

Summary

结论

To summarise: we have examined the claim of militant atheism that a belief in the existence of God is irrational, and that it contradicts science. We have concluded that the existence of God itself, as distinguished from particular religious teachings, certainly does not contradict science.

总结:我们考察了好斗的无神论的主张,即关于上帝存在的信仰是非理性的,而且是与科学相矛盾的。我们得出的结论是,上帝本身的存在和科学的确并不矛盾,这个结论显然有别于具体的宗教教义。

Furthermore, is "the world's most prominent atheist" correct to assert that the existence of God is irrational? Only if he believes that the Fundamental Question of Philosophy is itself irrational, is our answer. The meaning of “irrational” is flexible enough to allow a belief in the irrationality of the FQP; but this does not permit the "irrationality of the existence of God" to be asserted as an authoritative truth. It is more aptly characterized as a religious faith of atheism.

此外,“世界上最著名的无神论者”关于上帝的存在缺少理性的断言是不是正确呢?只要他相信哲学基本问题本身是非理性的,那么我们的答案就不言而喻了。“非理性”的意思弹性很大,大到足以容许关于哲学基本问题属于非理性的信念;不过它不容许“上帝存在的非理性”被断言为权威的真理。把它描述为无神论的一种宗教信仰将会更恰当一些。

The upshot of this is that it is simply foolish to assert that science and rationality support atheism.

其结果是,断言科学和理性支持无神论完全是愚蠢的。

Finally, it is possible to reach a rational belief in the existence of God. One must have first the mental (and perhaps, emotional) wherewithal to ask the fundamental question. Then one must understand and accept the fact that its answer is unknowable through science. God, the answer, transcends the universe of knowable things.

最后,对于上帝的存在,有可能达成一种理性的信仰。人们必须首先具备提出哲学基本问题的精神准备(或许还有感情上的)。然后,必须理解和承认这个事实:它的答案是科学所无法知晓的。上帝,作为问题的答案,超越了可知事物的领域。

Edward A. Remler is a professor emeritus at the College of William and Mary, in Virginia. He has worked in nuclear and particle physics theory for the last 50 years.

爱德华.A.雷姆勒是弗吉尼亚州威廉与玛丽学院的名誉退休教授,他从事核子和粒子理论物理工作长达50年之久。

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