Science and Faith; Universal Allies

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In an article on http://atheistperspective.com , the author at one point has this to say;

The longer I spend talking about creationism, the more I feel I’m validating something which is just patently stupid…. Creationists are not interested in science, they are interested in defending their religion.

I have to agree with him here, I think he is close to the mark (although maybe a little insensitive). I hate to say it, but the vast majority of Creationist arguments are weak at best and do not stand up to honest scientific scrutiny. When I was an atheist (and even today) I felt as he does now. And of course when you abbreviate the Bible to a couple of sound bites then it does sound absurd. There is a great danger when we take the Bible too literally. We end up missing the point and it seems that, to many of us, the Bible often stands in place of God.

On the other hand….if we are nothing more than the most advanced animal on the planet, in which all of our activities may be explained as functions of our instinct to survive, then why do I continue to be moved by sunsets? Why do high mountains, with their harsh and inhospitable terrain attract me so? Why is there a Beethoven, a Duke Ellington or a Buddy Guy? How come Rembrandt, Degas and Picasso are all able to represent beauty in their own individual ways? What is beauty? Or even,Why is beauty and to what is its purpose? I have no need to eat lichen on a mountain peak’s hostile environment. I cannot procreate with a painting. Myriads of orchstrated man made sounds do nothing to help me detect the approach of my next meal.

Why do I become teary eyed every time I see “It’s a Wonderful Life“? I know what is going to happen, is my hardwiring faulty? Perhaps this emotional response is sourced somewhere in my DNA from when I was a savage hunter. (I guess my ancestors were just a bunch of weepy gatherers)

Why is a sense of right and wrong written on every person’s heart for him or her to consider or ignore? My cat certainly doesn’t have this capacity . For that matter, why do I have a cats? (I have three, talk about lacking a survival instinct.) They are rude, dirty and expensive, yet I spent a lot of (non-expendable) money last year at the feline ER after one got into a drunken bar fight. Where did I get that ridiculous gene?!

Why are the stripes on some animals, such as cats, beautiful to some of us? To what real purpose does it serve to have these varying shades and hues of thousands of individual hairs? It can’t be not to attract a mate because as we know, all cats are gray in the dark, right? Is it for camouflage? I guess there are more white cats in Finland than in Brazil.

Why do I love my wife, my children and my friends when they at times can make my life hell? Why l do Iove at all? To take pleasure and joy in the beauty that we find in nature, the arts and each other hardly makes sense if all we are is the sum of millions of years of random natural selection, a collection of particles bumping in the night.

Look at pacifists like Gandhi. We all admire them for what they do but usually it gets them killed. Some of the first people killed by the Nazis and the Communists were the pacifists and those who gave their lives protecting others. Of course, many more did not choose self sacrifice, their sense of survival overriding their sense of justice. Now that secon course of action makes much more sense in a merely naturalistic world. Yet we still admire those who give their lives for others. Is there a passive self destructive gene as well?

Why are we curious about things that cannot really benefit us? To what concievable, materialistic benefit is astronomy? What are we looking for? Why waste the time on any scientific research that does not help put a chicken in every pot? Because of scientific research we have the capability to destroy ourselves and much of this planet. It would seem that science has become very detrimental to the specie’s survival. Has the evolutionary process gone awry?

What has gone awry is the seeping away of our collective conscience and it is not unique to the secular world. It is my belief (and I am sorry if this sounds arrogant) that the vast majority of religious people in the world have completely missed the point. And because of this we have made God out to be so unpalatable that some of us will prefer almost anything in his place. This is why God gave us Jesus. Not to act as cosmic traffic cop, laying down the law, the ‘oughts’ and the ‘ought nots’. He did not come to give us the answers to every question we have about the universe. He came to show us how simple and pure it can be to know God while at the same time being who we are, with all of our passions, dreams and yearnings intact.

Science is not the enemy of faith. Faith is not the enemy of science. God is not about giving us all the answers (how boring would that be?). He leaves the answers for us to find for ourselves and this is often accomplished through science. Religious doctrine and scientific dogma have their places but there is nothing wrong with questioning either of them. The study of our universe, what we call science, is one essential ingredient for man to be complete. God made us curious, and it is our passion for his creation that drives this curiosity. The great religious scriptures were not written to answer our questions about natural history nor were they written to discourage us from searching for answers through scientific discovery.

Many secularists accuse people of faith as being closed minded. Perhaps, but much of the world’s problems arise when we consider scientific discovery to be our sole source of truth.

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  1. #1 by Christian Beyer on July 30, 2007 - 6:50 am

    The phrase “intelligent Design” was created to mollify those who apparently break out in hives whenever they need to utter the word “God”. This is especially true for those who are astounded at the fact that they are being led to faith even though the ‘evidence’ would not support such a move.

    But you are right, God would be the answer to all questions, especially those that science cannot answer. Even Steven Gould said that God would be the logical explanation for the problems that the fossil record represents yet that idea was too repugnant to even suggest. God cannot be proved (nor disproved) and that takes us out of the driver’s seat.

    As far as the bona fides of those who believe in a deity there are plenty of accredited men and women of science who do so. But you make a reasonable point with Behe et al (although everyone is entititled to an opinion, no?). A mathematician may not be able to present the last word on science, but perhaps the first qnd the last. After all, much of this (cosmological) speculation is the result of theoretical math. And pertaining to cosmology, how can any biologist, zoologist, paleontologist speak to that field? By your standards, they do not qualify. Anyway, evolution does little to explain the universe’s origins.

    Again, it seems that both Ross and Bluerat are stuck in the mire of ‘either/or’. Check out Shroeder’s work. He is a popularist, much like Sagan, but I think he qualifies as an ‘expert’ witness for the defense.

    http://www.geraldschroeder.com/new.html

    BTW; Do you think I need to find another physician? Since mine goes to synagogue?

  2. #2 by BuddyO on July 30, 2007 - 9:18 am

    Bluerat,

    ” which is testable verifiable and repeatable.”

    I would be interested in reading the studies done where Macro Evolution from one species to an entirely new and different species was conducted in a controlled setting, observed in it’s entirety and repeated. That would be fascinating (if not entertaining) reading.

    I don’t doubt, discount, (or buy wholesale) Macro Evolution. It’s an interesting theory.

    God is the impetus for everything. To deny that is to deny Him. You are right however, it does little to satisfy the ‘Modern’ (post-medieval) mind’s need for having answers in nice tidy packages. I’ll refer once again to Ptolemy, Copernicus, Galileo and Darwin; while not all of them stem from the Modern era, they all share the same arrogance of knowledge as the rest of us.

    Evolution, Paleontology, etc have come up with some fascinating and interesting hypothesis. But to claim any of these as absolute truth, is to deny the human history of science. How often through History have we come up with scientific ‘truths’ only to be later proven wrong? Somehow now, we think we’re smart enough to be ‘right’? Like it or not, scientific discovery continues to produce more questions than answers; but we (the human race) are too arrogant to admit that.

    Any ‘science’ that can take a few fragments of bone and recreate an entire intermediate species complete with details about pigmentation, socialization, parenting, diet, etc, while interesting, is hard to swallow as infallible. How do these ‘scientific’ discoveries comply to the scintific method (testable, verifiable and repeatable)? Or, because their theories support evolution, are they exempt for this level of scrutiny?

    Creation or other theistic explanations for the origins of ‘everything’ fall under the same bottom line as evolutionary theory… we just don’t(and may never) know …

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