"Religion is a hypothesis about the world: the hypothesis that things are the way they are, at least in part, because of supernatural entities or forces acting on the natural world. And there's no good reason to treat it any differently from any other hypothesis. Which includes pointing out its flaws and inconsistencies, asking its adherents to back it up with solid evidence, making jokes about it when it's just being silly, offering arguments and evidence for our own competing hypotheses...and trying to persuade people out of it if we think it's mistaken. It's persuasion. It's the marketplace of ideas. Why should religion get a free ride"

Greta Christina

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

New Scientist interviews Francisco Ayala

Geneticist and evolutionary biologist Francisco Ayala has recently been awarded the $1,000,000 Templeton prize bribe for scientists willing to find accommodation for religion within science.
He has an interview in New Scientist this week that reveals a serious lack of critical thought where his theology meets his science.

Take this for example. At the top of the interview he says
I feel that science is compatible with religious faith in a personal, omnipotent and benevolent God.
but then later adds…
Creationism and intelligent design are not compatible with religion because they imply the designer is a bad designer, allowing cruelty and misery. Evolution explains these as a result of natural processes, in the same way we explain earthquakes, tsunamis or volcanic eruptions. We don't have to attribute them to an action of God.
If not an action of an “omnipotent and benevolent God” then what? At best natural disasters become a gross error of omission, which still makes God culpable by any logic. If the universe is godless and careless, cruelty and misery make sense. If God exists he is either malevolent or stupid and definitely not benevolent.

Then there’s this obvious strawman.
At the same time, some scientists claim they can use science to prove God does not exist. Science can do nothing of the kind.
Notice the some scientists. I’d like to see the funding body that would bankroll research to prove the non-existence of God, (or fairies or lepracauns). Science 101 people! You cannot empirically prove such a negative and all scientists know this. Even the strongest of atheist materialists would not absolutely categorically rule out the existence of God. They merely proceed under the assumption that there isn’t one.

Finally here’s another cop out in the context of the accepted fact that homosexuality is genetically determined.
One has to distinguish what belongs to the realm of morality.
It may have been a point of moral debate among people who believed homosexuality to be a lifestyle choice. If your scripture of choice says it’s a sin you can with some justification hold that view all the time people are choosing their sexuality (as a liberal I would not agree, but it’s at least arguable). However we now know, and Ayala agrees that people do not choose to be gay, they just are gay. They are gay in the same way that some of us are black or are women or are differently-abled. Would Ayala have a problem distinguishing the morality of discriminating against these groups? What realm does he put white supremacists in I wonder?

His whole shtick is a postmodern “different ways of knowing” fudge of an argument that is not worthy of any scientist, least of all one of his standing. He coyly refuses to reveal his personal faith (although he clearly “believes in belief” as Daniel Dennett would say) and he seems to have bagged his million bucks with hackneyed apologetics and unquestioning accomodationism.

No comments:

Post a Comment