Posted by: Dan | January 6, 2007

At Last I Agree With Luskin on Something

Casey Luskin, creationist propogandist, at least has something to say that makes sense:

[Ronald] Numbers seems to be suggesting that many non-religious Darwinists promote the view that evolution and religion do not conflict because of pragmatic concerns, as they desire to create an environment which is friendlier towards the non-religious. If Numbers is correct, then this would explain why non-religious Darwinists so commonly tell the religious that they should accept evolution.

Some thoughts and reactions:

  • Where are these Darwinists Luskin speaks of? Or, why is he arguing with a superceded theory, and ignoring modern biology? Does he call physicists Newtonists?
  • It’s nice to see that Luskin no longer pretends that Intelligent Design is non-religious. Clearly, it is intended as a Wedge for religion.
  • Personally, I agree that religion and science are fundamentally incompatible, on philosophical grounds. But, I’ve argued this before.
  • The primary thing in this article that I strongly disagree with, however, is the side that Luskin has chosen. I’m just not a fan of superstition and dogma.

Now, I wasn’t so concerned with Ronald Numbers’ original article – he’s on-target on the science enough to avoid raising my ire, even if I disagree with him on matters of religion and superstition. But he treads a fine line, and PZ has already taken him to task.


Responses

  1. I thought it was the huge piles of evidence in favor of evolution that caused evolution supporters to advise the religious to accept it. Any religion that requires adherents to deny reality is certainly a bad religion.

  2. That’s the downside of blogging on the evolution-creationism wars; you have to read stuff by the likes of Luskin. I appreciate you taking on this neuron-endangering task so I don’t have to.

  3. Hey, just ran across your blog. I’m a Cornell Alum and humor writer (at least by night) who landed here from your old site … great stuff!

    The hardest thing to swallow about most intelligent design/creationism arguments is the timeline. Modern evangelicals say ‘everything in the bible is true, therefore the earth is 5,000 years old’. Science time and time again shows this almost certainly can’t be true.

    However, if we go with the general protestant/catholic/reformist viewpoint, God was responsible for everything up to the big bang, and everything after happened on its own (or just with some pushing and prodding along the way).

    I call this SimUniverse … and personally think it’s what happened. Just like in the game The Sims, you have to setup certain parameters before people can just go about their work. The laws of physics must be set, a place to live must be established, etc. But once the framework is available, your little Sims just go about their business most of the time. Every once in a while, they may do something dumb, like catch themselves on fire or build and moat around their home that prevents them from working … in these cases, something needs to step in.

    Similarly, I think God (or higher power, or Allah, or whoever), steps in at some level, either to throw a curveball (e.g. meteor strikes, natural disaster, etc.) or just help things along (e.g. create some bizarre new creature just for fun).

    Is this naive? Probably. But its much more fun to think about life as God’s little video game than the traditional Biblical viewpoint ;)

  4. Thanks for visiting, Anita.

    The SimUniverse you postulate is, I think, a common way to reconcile science and religion for many people. However, a more accurate way to describe the establishment of parameters and frameworks in the early Universe is to simply say “We don’t know.” There’s just so little to go on, to know anything about the Universe before the big bang, or how the laws of physics were established, etc.

    Just think, for instance, what you’re basing your view of God’s responsibility for the Universe on – is it anything evidence-based, or is it merely opinions and assertions from authority? It’s probably what you’ve been told for as long as you can remember, and accept it without critically assessing the theism underlying such assertions.

    We, as humans, crave to understand the world – and from that point of view I excuse the argument that “God did it,” whatever “it” may be in any given conversation – it feels good to have an answer, even one that is intellectually lazy. And it is intellectually lazy, because God is a catch-all for that which we cannot explain, and conveniently skips over critical skepticism, instead going straight for blind credulity. If there’s anything that science and nature have taught us, it’s that the true answer is likely to be far more subtle, unexpected, and fascinating.

  5. Incidentally, on the topic of Gods and Designers, by way of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I hear that the Toronto Star has a piece up on the best alternative ID/Creationist theory out there:

    The theory goes like this: the Earth and all living things were created by a Supreme Being, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and though there are no witnesses to creation, there are written accounts of it.

    It’s always encouraging to see the FSM get media attention. ;-)

  6. Dan – great point. I’m certainly not basing my beliefs on any evidence, other than the fact that my gut says there must be some higher power, while my logical mind says there’d be more evidence if (s)he exists. So SimUniverse is my sophomoric way of rationalizing my conflicting views … it works for me though ;)

  7. Anita: at least you admit you don’t have the evidence to back your views. That already makes you better than the ID proponents.


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