Friday, August 22, 2008

It's All Been Done Before In 'Westside Story'

I left a pretty long comment on Mark Daniels' blog regarding a link he offered as a good response to this question posed by Richard Dawkins:

"Is it inconsistent, as Richard Dawkins claims, for believers in God to look for scientific explanations of natural things, if they don’t think it is necessary to seek scientific proof of God’s existence?"

here is my response:

Dawkins's best line against God has always been that (at best) a belief in God is redundant, because a person can get along just fine (or better) without it.

Because a religious believer doesn't look for scientific evidence for the existence of God (there really is none) doesn't necessarily mean that they shouldn't use science to discover things about what is within our ability to understand. Humans barely understand the brain, although we've made great strides. That (the brain) is the most complicated thing that we know of at the moment, and much of what we think we know now will probably be proved wrong at some point. This being the case, and science being a methodical thing, why not just work on that for now? It's only prudent for everyone not to seek evidence of God.

Dawkins uses statements like this to cause doubt and frustration in believers, which is a wonderful thing. He wants the true believers to arm themselves for battle, and to look ridiculous in doing so. Meanwhile, he hopes to convert moderates and fence riders over to his side by using the spectacle such question inspire in the faithful.

I don't think this person offers a good answer to Dawkins's goad. He starts off insulting the objectivity of of scientists who embrace evolution theory, and then goes to rehearse stock dialogue from the I.D. movement that really only amounts to speculation akin to looking for images of the Virgin Mary in a bowl of spaghetti. I've always thought the best (and most humble) answer to questions like Dawkins's is a simple shrug of the shoulders.

Science isn't there yet (to either confirm nor deny) and it probably will never be. Dan Vander Lugt and Richard Dawkins are punching at ghosts, and will never draw blood. To do that, they'd have to step into the ring with each other.

It would be fun to watch two academics pound on each other for awhile.

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