Fwd: Pigliucci responds to Miller

Paul A. Nelson (pnelson2@ix.netcom.com)
Mon, 30 Mar 1998 14:02:17 -0600 (CST)

The following apparently failed to post to the list [it hasn't shown
up in the archive, at any rate].

Date: Mon, 30 Mar 1998 09:39:02 -0500
From: Massimo Pigliucci <pigliucci@utk.edu>
Reply-To: pigliucci@utk.edu
Organization: University of Tennessee
To: Keith B Miller <kbmill@ksu.edu>
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Subject: Re: Answer to Eugenie Scott's views

I am sorry to enter this debate, which so far I have monitored only from
a distance thanks to people copying entries to me, but I would like to
point out something that keeps occurring to me any time I see a posting
by Miller. For example, he says:

> The evidence for
> God's presence in creation, for the esistence of a Creator God, is
> prescisely those everyday "natural events" experienced by us all. The
> trees, the animals, the seas, the storm, the very rocks all proclaimed
> God's reality to anyone who desired to see. It is for this reason
> that
> Paul declares that all humanity is without excuse. That is natural
> revelation. To reduce it to gaps in our scientific explanation does,
> I
> believe great disservice to the witness of God in creation. I see
> design in _all_ of creation, don't you?

No, I don't, Keith. Furthermore, I don't see how anybody *could* see it.
It's pretty clear that the messy and slow history of the universe and of
life in particular smacks of chance and necessity, or of an *incredibly
poor* designer.

What I sense from many of your postings is exactly what you accuse
atheists of: intellectual arrogance. I do not mean to be offensive, but
it is really hard to stand by being accused of being blind, not
perceiving "superior" or "larger" truths, and so on, while in fact you
don't have a leg to stand on!

The evidence for the existence of god is pretty much the same as the
evidence for the existence of elfs, witches, the sun-god, astrological
forces, and Santa Claus. No more, no less. It is only because religion
has a long (and bloody) history in our society that you feel you have a
claim to some sort of intellectual respectability. But let us not fool
ourselves: the burden of proof is *entirely* on the theist position, and
it is intellectually dishonest to pretend otherwise.

God cannot be seen by everybody, and even when you say you saw him/her,
all you're saying is that you are interpreting perfectly natural
phenomena according to a particular mythology you happened to have grown
up with. That, of course, is entirely your right and prerogative. To
pretend to accuse others of blindedness because they don't follow you in
your fantasies, however, is an entirely different matter.

Massimo Pigliucci

Massimo Pigliucci, Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolution
Society for the Study of Evolution "Dobzhansky" Awardee
Dept. of Botany, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996-1100
phone 423-974-6221 fax 0978

Lab page http://fp.bio.utk.edu/pgl Science & Society http://fp.bio.utk.edu/sands Darwin Day http://fp.bio.utk.edu/darwin Rationalists of East Tennessee http://www.korrnet.org/reality

Organic life, we are told, has developed gradually from the protozoon to the philosopher, and this development, we are assured, is indubitably an advance. Unfortunately it is the philosopher, not the protozoon, who gives us this assurance. (Bertrand Russell) ******************************************************************