Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Shielding Hostility with Science

Science Vs. Religion (PartI) is a Viewpoint article. It begins:

The recent issue of The New Republic contains an essay by Darwinian biologist Jerry Coyne on why he believes there can be no rapprochement between science and "religion."

This is another chapter in the continuing war on religion waged by the New Atheist community. Science is used as a front to shield personal antipathies. RLC quoting Coyne:

The ideas that made Darwin's theory so revolutionary are precisely the ones that repel much of religious America, for they imply that, far from having a divinely scripted role in the drama of life, our species is the accidental and contingent result of a purely natural process.

RLC responds with this:

This is an important point, one that's often lost on people. The intellectual conflict today is not between "religion" and evolution. There's no necessary incompatibility between the two, not even between young-earth creationism and evolution (as I hope to point out in a future post). The conflict, rather, is between Darwinian evolution and the belief that an intellect is involved in the creation of the world. Darwinism denies any role for purpose, intention, or mind in the generation and diversification of life and it is this view, which is at bottom a non-scientific, philosophical belief, which many religious people reject.

RLC gets to the root of the conflict with this observation. In thinking that humans are "the accidental and contingent result of a purely natural process" Coyne and his fellow believers think they have closed off a "divine foot in the door" as Lewontin eloquently put it. Their encounter with expressions of belief to the contrary might explain the anger and hostility that accompanies their visits to forums focused on discussions of Intelligent Design.



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