P.Z. Myers, the militant atheistic Darwinist who holds forth at Pharyngula writes about how much he likes this quote from J.B.S. Haldane:
My practise as a scientist is atheistic. That is to say, when I set up an experiment I assume that no god, angel, or devil is going to interfere with its course; and this assumption has been justified by such success as I have achieved in my professional career. I should therefore be intellectually dishonest if I were not also atheistic in the affairs of the world. And I should be a coward if I did not state my theoretical views in public.
It's interesting that an atheist can feel free to base his views on the world's issues on his atheism and feel free to proclaim his atheism in public places, but if a politician, like, say, Senator Santorum or President Bush were to publically acknowledge that his opinions and policies are informed by his Christian worldview he would be accused by people like Myers of doing something terribly stupid or insidious.
Haldane thinks he would be a coward were he to refrain from stating his atheistic views in public and presumably Myers agrees. We should remember this the next time a politician gets heat from the secularists among us for being too explicit about his faith.
It's also interesting that it's a point of pride for Haldane/Myers that their science is consciously "atheistic", but let a scientist embrace theistic assumptions such as that the cosmos and/or living things show evidence of intention and intelligence in their design, and people like Myers consider him a crackpot. Yet why should an assumption of atheism on the part of a scientist be any more intellectually estimable than the assumption that one is "thinking God's thoughts after Him" when one is doing science?
To suggest, finally, that a scientific practice which assumes that God is not going to interfere with one's experiments is atheistic is ridiculous. Just because one assumes that God doesn't interfere in the day to day operation of the universe it does not follow that therefore one is an atheist or doing "atheistic science". All scientists, including theists, make the assumption that the regularities of nature will hold at least the vast majority of the time. This certainly does not mean that theists are metaphysical atheists.