Falling Awake

Just Darts Since 2009

A (partial) retraction

Reader Brittany Marie makes a good point about my last post.

…[W]hile I understand that you are not happy, it does not seem very good of you to post half the story and then blame it on his scientific occupation. The interaction of science and religion is not that clear cut for you to make such an assumption.

She was the only commenter who mentioned this, and it’s the one part of my post I think I’d do differently.  I should have left out this part:

And scientists are always butting heads with the Church because the Church says things like, “Well yes, you can do things like cloning embryos but you shouldn’t, and here’s why…”  To which the enlightened scientists respond by screaming, falling down and kicking their heels against the floor.  Because they’re so smart and important and how dare you judge them?

Not good writing, and not clear thinking.

My problem is that I don’t have much patience for people who believe that science can prove anything about God.  (I’m thinking of Richard Dawkins, here.)  Or, for that matter, that the Bible (Koran, Torah, etc.) can prove anything about the physical world.  (Feel free to discuss Gallileo below.)

However, while the Church has rightly backed off from overruling scientists’ findings, there are a number of scientists who show no such humility.  They seem to believe that science is capable of having anything to say on the subject of God, when science is only useful in understanding the material world.

In a way, it’s like the conflict between relativity theory and quantum theory.  They each work perfectly in the spheres for which they were designed, but if you try to use them both you get gibberish.  (That’s only an analogy.  The intersection of scientific research with correct moral teaching has resulted in the capability of producing stem cells without cloning humans.)

All that said, I shouldn’t have characterized scientists en masse as a bunch of babies who can’t bear to be told “no.”  That was not helpful to the discussion.

Further reading:

Why Science Cannot Address the Existence of God


7 responses to “A (partial) retraction

  1. brittany marie July 13, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    Haha…I understand your frustration with people like Dawkins. His actions toward groups of faith are infuriating and usually meant to provoke.

    However, I am not sure I can agree with everything you have written…like that the Church has backed off or that science and religion work perfectly in their own spheres (I assume you’re talking of non-overlapping magisterial or NOMA). Even the account of Galileo is not so easily addressed. Digging further reveals that he was in trouble less for his scientific efforts refuting a biblical based world-view and more because he burned the wrong people. Basically, I do not believe he was the most tactful person.

    I think the interaction between science and religion has never been and never will be as clear cut as we both would like it to be. Primarily because this issue’s combatants are people, and though we both desire to simplify the story into generalities, that usually cannot be done accurately because everyone is different. And every story involves intricacies that cannot always be taken into account.

  2. Brian July 14, 2008 at 8:25 am

    “The intersection of scientific research with correct moral teaching has resulted in the capability of producing stem cells without cloning humans.”

    Do you care to elaborate on why you think that your idea of morality had anything to do with how iPS were discovered?

    Especially given that a good deal of this work was done in Japan (which funds research on embryonic stem cells) and that iPS are more promising on both practical and less ambiguously ethical levels (they do not require eggs to be isolated from women, with the health risks from the attendant hormone treatments).

  3. Mike Kriskey July 14, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    With federal funding, scientists would have stampeded to do research on cloned human embryos instead of finding an acceptable alternative.

    In this case, morals guided science, which is how it should be. Can =/= should.

    By the way, I join you in opposing the involuntary harvesting of women’s eggs.

  4. Ed Darrell July 28, 2008 at 12:04 am

    The depth of misunderstanding is impressive.

    It wasn’t the death threats against Myers I spoke about. You can reread the exchange. It’s your failure to condemn the death threats to the guy who didn’t swallow. That’s what Myers said was wacky, that a cracker — even a consecrated host — could produce such a reaction.

    You make light of death threats because you don’t understand the issue — join the mob.

    You can shut this thread down, too. Try to get some understanding before the next discussion, will you?

  5. Mike Kriskey July 28, 2008 at 11:12 pm

    You sound frustrated, Ed. I’m sorry.

  6. Sandyt2 August 10, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    Hey Mike,

    “Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.” Mark 6:11

    Just a thought….

  7. Ed Darrell August 11, 2008 at 11:21 am

    Idiocy always frustrates me. My dogs have enough good sense to run from violence. A lot of people could use their fleas.

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