Now I know this is a difficult concept for some people to truly consider, but suppose for a moment, just for a moment, that maybe there really is a god. Would that affect science? Not saying if it is a Christian god or a Hindu god, just a god. If there is a god, and we define science in such a way that even the possibility of a god cannot be considered, then we have defined science in a way that certain tangible evidence may never be brought to light, and certain truths can never be discovered and explored. We have in fact defined who we want god to be. If we must ignore all empirical evidence that even suggests that there might be a god.. then we have not only limited science, but also corrupted it. Scientists who sensor their search of the evidence because of where it might lead, whether it suggests that there might or might not be a god, are not pure scientists. They are acting as priests. If we protect evolution from all evidence to the contrary—all empirical evidence to the contrary—we are doing nothing more and nothing less than protecting one specific religious view at the expense of all others. If this is done in public schools, then we are truly in violation of the First Amendment.
Archive for May, 2007
The Tenure and Promotion Committee at Iowa State University last month denied tenure to Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez. Gonzalez has appealed to the president of the university, who is expected to issue a decision on the case in June. Having served on a T&P Committees, I appreciate that no one likes to either deny or be denied tenure, but this case is a little suspect. He is appealing because Gonzalez has “published 21 papers since 2002, many in top journals,” according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. He also has received grant funding that partially supported him and the university for 3 years, and he has a normalized h-index of 13 (a measure of how many times one is sited by other scholars). The next highest in his department of 10 is a normalized h-index of 9. So why is tenure not awarded? Some suspect it is not because of what he didn’t do, but because of what else he did. In 2004 Mr. Gonzalez co-wrote The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos Is Designed for Discovery, a scholarly work that openly supports the Intelligent Design philosophy. This same book was developed into a video, which the Smithsonian Institute was to co-sponsor in premiering.. that is until a backlash of objections from key supporters came in. (I do not find it hard to believe that this is a factor in Gonzalez’s tenure denial, especially since my own dissertation proceedings were stopped when it was discovered that I though “natural selection makes more since as an explanation of organization populations than when applied in biology.” I basically had to lie that I changed my mind in order to get on with my PhD.) Please note from Gonzalez’s university bio that he suggests no objection to evolution or an old universe. That is not the real issue in Intelligent Design. It is the Design part (implying a Designer => implying an accountability beyond ourselves). Is this really possible? The most telling statement in the quite honest Chronicle article is, “‘It looks to me like discrimination,’ said one astronomer, who did not want to be named, fearing a backlash for speaking up in favor of an intelligent-design proponent.” If you would like to (nicely) express your opinion to university President Gregory Geoffroy (pronounced JOE-free), upon whose desk this issue now rests, you may contact him here..
I appreciate the response to “Religion and Life” (Apr 26, ’07) by an honest atheist. He offered some interesting thoughts, including several embarrassing quotes as accusations against faith in God in general and Christianity in particular. One was Preacher Richard Furman’s 1823 statement in support of slavery. I would like to offer a quote of my own: In reference to the two opposing sides of America’s great Civil War, Abraham Lincoln said in his Second Inaugural Address, “Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces; but let us judge not that we be not judged.” Many Christians throughout history have stood on opposite sides of issues and defended their positions (rightly or wrongly) from Scripture. Most were victims of their cultures. In any case, rejecting Christianity or God in general, based on selected anecdotal evidence (cherry picking) is easy. Would it take me long to find equaly nasty quotes by atheists such as Hitler or Stalin? Christians are humans and some can always be found with their foot in their mouth. I recommend a more compelling challenge: Find for me an atheist (or follower of any other religion for that matter) who has established an institution of giving to others to compare with any of the orphanages, hospitals, homeless shelters, and disaster relief agencies established by Christians. There is no Atheist General Hospital; no Buddhist Disaster Relief Agency. Find it, and then I will consider if Christianity is less compelling as a positive life force than any alternative belief system.
I was amazed to find that the May 18 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education has an article on the Creation Museum, scheduled to open this month. I was pleasantly surprised at the undistorted representations of Ken Ham’s views and those of others interviewed, but the author was obviously not shaken from his own bias. Regardless of the displays, he saw creation or science, not creation and science. The highlight of the article for me was the author’s confession that the museum is so credible as to be dangerous for “young children who are unprepared to critically assess the museum.” It might be equally dangerous for anyone, young or old, who has not yet been programmed to close their minds to different views.
On March 25, 1807 King George III signed into law the abolition of the slave trade for the entire British Empire, the climax of a 20-year struggle by a handful of dedicated men and women to bring a nation to awareness of its own atrocity. When William Wilberforce got the news, he turned to his cousin Henry Thornton and asked riley, “Well Henry, What shall we abolish next?” His reply: “The lottery, I think.”
Source: Bury the Chains, last pages of Chapter 21.
(Might I suggest that there is either a moral law that links it all together, or there is no basis at all for morality.)
On April 19 the Economist, of all periodicals, published a “special report” entitled, “In the beginning: The debate over creation and evolution, once most conspicuous in America, is fast going global.” I suppose for the debate to be acknowledged in the Economist is an indication that it is indeed getting big, even if it is still completely misrepresented. Whatever your position on the issue, you should find the article stimulating.
Here are a couple of my observations that I argue can be backed by the article: First, it is no longer just Christians who are objecting to the theory of evolution. Muslims in particular are noted. Second, the objections to evolution are increasing world-wide, regardless of the efforts by evolutionists and courts to the contrary. And third, the author completely ignores both religious and scientific foundations that surround the debate. The first two observations are more obvious. May I address the third?
Notice that on the evolution side the author sites scientists, such as Leaky. Notice that on the opposing side, framed as anti-evolution, only religious leaders are sited, such as Pope Benedict. Religious leaders are sited as disagreeing about the acceptability of evolution, but the opinions of hundreds of (gainfully employed) scientists who do not buy into evolution are ignored. The underlying impression is that evolution is science and non-evolution is religion. Take for example, in the paragraph just before the section sub-titled “The evolution of the anti-evolutionists,” you read the phrase, “..Catholic thinking that is relatively critical of science-based views of the world.” The only possible interpretation of this is that all thinking that objects to evolution is religious, in this case Catholic. Also, all “science-based” thinking is assumed to be evolution-based. I am not arguing here whether evolution is correct or incorrect (notice that this issue is also never considered in the article either); I am simply drawing attention to a built-in bias in the presentation. If one can grasp this bias, then one can begin to question the system of information filtering that society is imposing on media, and therefore question the validity of the arguments. If all objections to evolution are religious, then doesn’t that automatically mean that evolution defends a particular religious position? In this case, regardless of the evidence, there must be no god but chance. I say, if chance explains everything, fine. But to begin with the religious assumptions that (a) any explanation other than chance implies a god, and (b) intervention by god is impossible; makes the theory religious-based. It is religious because it begins with assumptions about the nature and behavior of god. Apparently this author, and the majority of writers in the media, have not taken their cultural buy-in to its logical conclusion. No articles supporting evolution acknowledge the religious basis of the position. One should ask, if evolution is so iron-clad, why must its readers be protected from it’s religious assumptions?