Saturday, February 10, 2007

A Fundamentally Flawed Analysis

This is the first of a series of blogs on a book review by James Robert Brown entitled 'Fundamentally Mistaken.' The review is of a book authored by Michael Shermer titled 'Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design.' The review illustrates flaws in the reasoning of intelligent design opponents. IDists can get a good sampling of objections in this short piece. This particular blog is focused on one paragraph. The italicized paragraph follows:

I'm skeptical that Americans really are scared of science. Often what is called an "antiscience" stance is really a fear of technology and its effects, from genetically modified foods to global warming. Fears of moral nihilism, however, are quite real. Darwinism, many people believe, will undermine religion, thus undermining morality. The first inference is reasonable, but the second is not. There's no need to worry about the loss of morality. (For a detailed discussion of why that is, talk to your friendly neighborhood philosopher or read the first chapter of Peter Singer's Practical Ethics.)

I agree that fear of science can be confused with fear of new technology. Brown also correctly identifies the undermining of religion with the belief that this also undermines morality. Brown forfeits his credibility at the outset of his article though, before those who take religion seriously, with a flippant response. The Sermon on the Mount was given 2000 years ago and still stands out as a solid moral foundation for millions who view the moral ramblings of your friendly yokel as a stupid point of comparison. Peter Singer is not much of an improvement. Few stand the test of time. How many will recall Singer's name a hundred years from now? Brown's response indicates that he may not take morality all that seriously. That in itself would hinder any attempts to bridge the divide separating opposing sides.

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