A Free-For-All Alright

The New York Times reports on the theatrics taking place at a forum on religion and science at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, California. The article is highly amusing and worth taking part of your hard earned free time to read. Here are three highlights:

It's Christmas a month early for Ann Coulter:

Carolyn Porco, a senior research scientist at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo., called, half in jest, for the establishment of an alternative church, with Dr. Tyson, whose powerful celebration of scientific discovery had the force and cadence of a good sermon, as its first minister.

Mr. Sam Harris contributed to the discussion with this brilliant insight: "I don’t know how many more engineers and architects need to fly planes into our buildings before we realize that this is not merely a matter of lack of education or economic despair." He apparently finds violence in religion as endemic to religion, a commonly held view that ignores the entire scope of religious teaching, practice, and history.

And finally, the comment that defies commentary. From Professor Richard Dawkins, D.Phil., Oxford University, author of the delightfully titled "The God Delusion":

“I am utterly fed up with the respect that we — all of us, including the secular among us — are brainwashed into bestowing on religion...Children are systematically taught that there is a higher kind of knowledge which comes from faith, which comes from revelation, which comes from scripture, which comes from tradition, and that it is the equal if not the superior of knowledge that comes from real evidence."

Well now. For my take, consider a syllogism (defintion courtesy of www.dictionary.com):

1. Everything that has a beginning has a cause.
2. The universe had a beginning.
3. Therefore, the universe had a cause.

If both 1. and 2. are true, then 3. also must be true. Point 1. is a restatement of the principle of cause and effect, which, last time I checked, most scientists believed to true. Point 2. is a description of the Big Bang event, which, last time I checked, most scientists believed to be true. I know it gets complicated, but Stephen Hawkins is on my Christmas list for the second year in a row, so you'll have to wait for the details 'til after the Hawks win the Alamo Bowl. If cause-and-effect holds, then something or someone must have caused the Big Bang. And I wouldn't put money on me, Laura, or Dan McCarney (RIP).

In other words, it makes perfect sense for the rational person to accept at least the possibility that a higher power (alright, I'll just come out and say it - God) exists. Science can posit the existence of a higher power, but it is limited in describing the nature of that power or the implications that the existence of such a being may have for our lives. When these scientists talk about an "evangelistic approach to science" they sacrifice the limited, cautious, sober judgment required for good science.

The biggest enemy of scientific discovery and its potential benefit to society is not the black-robed preacher, but the hysterical Ph.D. with a hidden social agenda who allows irrational prejudice to cloud his or her judgment.

Imagine that, an entire post on science and religion without mentioning intelligent design. Read my last birthday present for the facts.

Did your head explode after posting this very interesting column?

Also, of equal complexity, what the the hell other than a Faustian bargain with Satan could explain the misfortunes that befall the basketball Hawks. Almost every year since '80 a weird, or series of weird occurences smite us.
It came close. I had time to kill over break. I'm glad you liked it.
You realize that if your prime mover argument is true, then your cause for the creation of the universe would need a cause. And its cause would need one as well. So on.

Not everything needs a cause, or there would be no beginning.
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