The following is an excerpt from _Isaac Asimov on Science and the
Bible_ which is an interview conducted by Paul Kurtz in the
spring of 1982. It first appeared in _Free Inquiry_ magazine
somewhere around that time, and is reprinted in _On the Barricades:
Religion and Free Inquiry in Conflict_ published by Prometheus Books.
Kurtz: Isaac, how would you describe your own position? Agnostic, atheist,
Asimov: I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it.
I've been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it
was intellectually unrespectable to say one was an atheist, because
it assumed knowledge that one didn't have. Somehow, it was better
to say one was a humanist or an agnostic. I finally decided that
I'm a creature of emotion as well as of reason. Emotionally I
am an atheist. I don't have the evidence to prove that God doesn't
exist, but I so strongly suspect that he doesn't that I don't want
to waste my time.
Kurtz: But the burden of proof is on the person who claims God exists.
You don't believe in Santa Claus, but you can't disprove his
existence. The burden of proof is upon those who maintain the
Asimov: Yes. In any case, I am an atheist.
- - - - - -
Kurtz: Earlier you said that the Bible contained fallible writings. What
would some of these be?
Asimov: In my opinion, the biblical account of the creation of the universe
and of the earth and humanity is wrong in almost every respect. I
believe that those cases where it can be argued that the Bible is
wrong are, if not trivial, then coincidental. And I think that the
account of a worldwide flood, as opposed say, to a flood limited
to the Tigris-Euphrates region, is certainly wrong.
Kurtz: It's not simply biology that they are questioning, but geology,
astronomy, and the whole basis of the physical sciences.
Asimov: If we insist on the Bible's being literally true, then we must
abandon the scientific method totally and completely. There's
no way that we can at the same time try to discover the truth by
means of observation and reason and also accept the Bible as true.
Kurtz: So what is at stake in this debate between evolution and creationism
is not simply the principle of evolution in regard to living things
but the whole status of the sciences themselves.
Asimov: That is what I believe.