Re: [asa] NY Times: Darwin's God

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Wed Mar 07 2007 - 19:16:43 EST

On 3/7/07, David Opderbeck <> wrote:
> I think your summary glosses over the assumptions reflected in the
> article. The clear assumption of most of those interviewed (except for one
> who is a Christian), and it seems to me of the author of the article, is
> that belief in God must be entirely explainable in terms of some
> evolutionary mechanism. If a belief in something is entirely explainable by
> some mechanism external to whether that thing really exists, it seems to me
> that does bear direclty on whether one is warranted in believing the thing
> actually exists. Explaining the origin of a belief raises very different
> epistemological questions than explaining the physical development of a
> physical system or structure.

Since Pim is fond of Augustine, a comparison/constrast of the last paragraph
of the article with a quote from his Confessions is warranted:

> This internal push and pull between the spiritual and the rational
> reflects what used to be called the "God of the gaps" view of religion. The
> presumption was that as science was able to answer more questions about the
> natural world, God would be invoked to answer fewer, and religion would
> eventually recede. Research about the evolution of religion suggests
> otherwise. No matter how much science can explain, it seems, the real gap
> that God fills is an *emptiness that our big-brained mental architecture
> interprets as a yearning for the supernatural. The drive to satisfy that
> yearning, according to both adaptationists and byproduct theorists, might be
> an inevitable and eternal part of what Atran calls the tragedy of human
> cognition*.
 Man is one of your creatures, Lord, and his instinct is to praise you. He
> bears about him the mark of death…But still, since he is a part of your
> creation, he wishes to praise you. The thought of you stirs him so deeply
> that he cannot be content unless he praises you, because *you made us for
> yourself and our hearts find no peace until they rest in you*.

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Received on Wed Mar 7 19:17:22 2007

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