I classify physics as the harder science because it is presupposed by the other levels, although they aren't necessarily reducible to it. You can have physics without chemistry, but you can't have chemistry without physics. Similarly, you can have chemistry without biology, but you can't have biology without chemistry. Of course, biology is still a hard science. But when you get to that level, there is more room for speculation, and so more ways to avoid conclusions one is not predisposed to. But this may all be false, because when you go another level harder from physics, you get to particle physics which strikes me as very speculative.
At any rate, I have often been told that there are many physicists who draw religious conclusions from their studies. Freeman Dyson is one. Paul Davies is another. And the further you go from physics, the less prone a scientist is to see "something going on behind the scenes." If you know of any studies confirming or refuting this, please let me know. I'm interested.
I recently, and surprisingly, found the exact same sentiment expressed in a philosophy book published almost 90 years ago in 1922. The book is Matter and Spirit by James Bissett Pratt. On page 158 he writes the following:
...it is interesting to note that the demand for the absolute universality of physical laws comes, as a rule, not from the physicists, not from the chemists, but from a small number of biologists, a larger number of psychologists, and most of all from the naturalistic school of the philosophers. The mechanistic philosophers are much more royalist than their king, and the demand for the universal sway of the mechanical seems to vary directly with the square of the distance from headquarters.
If this was correct 90 years ago, and is still correct today, it's an interesting point. Those who are face to face with nature think it testifies to something beyond itself, while those who deny this tend to be those furthest removed from it. But of course this observation may be incorrect. I'm just a philosopher myself, after all.
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