Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bryan sallies forth valiantly ...

... Science and Religion Again. Sorry.

I fully share Bryan's feeling that this is a tiresome debate. As I have said before, it is like having one group of people trying to explain Hamlet in terms of the carpentry of the Globe Theater and another group convinced, by virtue of having figured out the carpentry of the Globe, that Shakespeare never existed. Neither bothers to watch the play.
Grand assertions about religion, such as those Gordon seems fond of, remind me of the grand assertions one hears about blogging. You cannot arrive at a valid general proposition about something tens of millions of people are doing in all sorts of diffents ways for all sorts of different reasons. Surely even Gordon can see that a nun working in a hospital in Africa manifests faith in a way differently from some oleaginous preacher shilling on the tube.
Moreover, I think one has to consider that John Polkinghorne, Owen Gingerich, Francis Collins and others are no less scientists for being believers. Does Gordon think lack of faith makes for a superior scientist? As I pointed in a review a while back, Collins had made significant contributions not only to human knowledge, but also to the alleviation of human suffering. The Great Dawkins has done nothing comparable.
Like Bryan, "I'm perfectly happy for people to shout their disbelief as I am for them to shout their belief," even though I am reflexively skeptical of those who feel a need to shout about such things.

Update: I notice just now that Dave Lull also sent mea link to Bryan's post. Great minds at work again.


  1. Anonymous8:24 AM

    It can become tiresome for sure, but only in the sense that alcohol becomes revolting after one has overindulged. Most people bounce back quickly enough. Having frequented numerous blogs for several years, I'm pretty confident in asserting no issue brings out so many commenters and so much strong opinion, hard thinking and good writing as this one does. Not even sex.

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Peter. What I find tiresome about it is that it is so difficult to get a dialogue going on it. And to be quite honest, it is the non-believers who seem the more intolerant. Every time I have written on the subject I have been deluged with emails and phone calls shouting that I am wrong, a fool, etc. No attempt to exchange views. The only choice is to accept their view as the right and above all rational one. And often very ill-informed about what they claim not to believe in.