Sunday, November 05, 2006

Interesting article with Collins and Dawkins

There's been something of a science establishment backlash against religious fundamentalism in the last couple of years. I think the tipping point came when President Bush vetoed the stem cell bill, for religious reasons, even though a majority of Americans (and a majority of Congress) supported it.

This isn't the only case of Bush's presidency being "anti-science". The administration is famously antagonistic toward the idea that humans are causing global warming, and Bush is a proponent of Intelligent Design pseudo-science.

As a result, scientists have started to become more vocal in their beliefs. A number of books have come out on the topic, and this month's Wired magazine has an article titled "The New Atheism", provocatively subtitled, "Inside the crusade
against religion".

Time Magazine has an article of its own, "God vs. Science". The article is more than just some reporter's view, it is actually a Q&A dialog between a Time reporter and two scientists on the opposite sides of this question.

On the "pro-religion" side is American Francis Collins. Every biography of him points out that he was an athiest until the age of 27, when he converted to evangelical Christianity. He does not believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible. Collins is the author of The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, published earlier this year. For his bio, see this Wikipedia entry:

On the "pro-secular" side is Richard Dawkins, a British ethologist and evolutionary theorist. He, too, published a book this year, The God Delusion. Dawkins' Wikipedia entry is here:

The Time article is quite fascinating. You can find it here:,9171,1553986,00.html. I will warn you, Time's web site keeps asking if you want to take a survey, once per page. It is annoying. Even after I answered the survey as a 90 year old man from Angola and, later, as a $250K a year white/black/hispanic/Asian/Martian corporate vice president they continued to ask if I wanted to take part in the survey.

1 comment:

Seven Star Hand said...

Hello Allan and all,

Analyzing the Creator Debate

Did you ever consider that atheism arose because certain people saw that religious characterizations about the nature of an omnipotent "God" were seriously flawed and then concluded that religion and the Creator were the same things? This is the exact same conclusion at the base of religious beliefs; namely that the Creator and religion are inseparable. Consequently, both atheists and religious followers are arguing over a flawed assumption without considering that other possibilities negate the common core conclusion of both groups. These arguments are actually over religion and whether it represents a reliable model of reality. The answer to this question is of course not. Religion is not only flawed, it is purposely deceptive! Though atheists are certainly sincere in their conclusions, the fact remains that they and religious followers are locked in a debate that cannot be won by either side because both base their positions upon whether the same flawed premise is the truth. In order for this debate to conclude with a truthful answer, a greater level of discernment is required.

One apt clarifying question is, if someone tells lies about you, does that negate you or make you a liar or a lie? Certainly, the image cast about you would be a false one, but that is their image, not the real you. Consequently, faulty religious assertions about the Creator of this universe do not negate the existence of a Creator. Considering the possibility that this universe is not by chance leaves the door open to how it arose, which leads us to seek what could have created and maintained it. Since neither religion nor science has yet adequately answered this question, it is safe to conclude that those who argue about the Creator based on either are most certainly wrong about one or more aspects. Therefore, another point of view and additional knowledge are required.