J.B.S. Haldane, an evolutionary biologist and a founder of population genetics, understood that science is by necessity an atheistic discipline. As Haldane so aptly described it, one cannot proceed with the process of scientific discovery if one assumes a "god, angel, or devil" will interfere with one's experiments. God is, of necessity, irrelevant in science. Faced with the remarkable success of science to explain the workings of the physical world, many, indeed probably most, scientists understandably react as Haldane did. Namely, they extrapolate the atheism of science to a more general atheism.
But there is a problem. Krauss appears to be ignorant of where reason led Haldane. Because Haldane didn’t just become an atheist, he became a lifelong supporter of one of the greatest monsters of history – Josef Stalin. Right at the moment that Haldane was founding population genetics, his hero was depopulating the Ukraine. And when Stalin put the geneticist Nikolai Vavilov on trial for challenging the notorious Trofim Lysenko, Haldane refused to utter a word of condemnation.
I very much doubt that Lawrence Krauss approves of this behaviour. But I have to ask why he thinks holding up Haldane as a paragon of rationality is going to advance his argument that scientists ought to behave like atheists. Haldane was a very great scientist. He was also an apologist for mass-murder and an ardent follower of one of the most inhumane doctrines ever to come from the mind of man. If that is where reason gets you, I don’t think we need worry about scientists being a bit irrational in their spare time.
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