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

From: PvM <>
Date: Wed Mar 07 2007 - 23:20:14 EST

Which of course does not mean that this 'evolutionary mechanism' whether it
be a spandrel or an adaptive pathway, did not arise with a purpose.
What science observes is a universal existence of religious beliefs and thus
science attempts to explain this in terms open to scientific inquiry.

Indeed, if a belief can be explained by some mechanism external to whether
or not such a thing exists, it is by faith that we come to accept the
existence of such an entity.

From a scientific perspective there are various possible pathways, none of
which address the veracity of religious beliefs. What these scientists are
doing is finding an explanation for the widespread religious beliefs via
experiment, and logic.

<quote>Put another way, from a Christian perspective, is it justifiable to
presuppose that belief in God can be explained at any level with reference
only to secondary causes? I don't think so. </quote>

But as such it need not be at odds with the scientific perspective. I could
see a perspective in which God created the Universe and we are the outcome
of a long process. In other words, the primary cause is Creation and
evolution is a secondary cause. At least from a Christian perspective such a
position would seem to make sense to me.

From a scientific sense however, the appeal to such 'primary causes' does
not seem to be very satisfactory. Perhaps this may be a 'shortcoming' of
science but I see it more as a limitation of science.
Certain questions my not be open to resolution by science. Of course we
should be careful not to let such a position guide us to accept that which
we do not understand as somehow an act of God.

David again

Rich, the comparison to Augustine's "God-shaped vacuum" is interesting, but
> I"m not sure whether you're suggesting it's a favorable comparison. I don't
> think it is. Though that closing paragraph says science might not be able
> to close the "gap" in our understanding of human longing, it seems to me
> that most of the scientists surveyed are trying to do exactly that. If a
> sense of longing for God is merely an evolutionary
There is a difference between perhaps being unable to close the gap, and
trying to do so. After all, that is what science is doing

byproduct, the next step ought to be to move human evolution "forward,"
> through biotechnology or other means, to eliminate that
> longing. Augustine's "vacuum" is
Poor logic. There is nothing to suggest that eliminating that longing will
move human evolution forward. If any, human evolution moved forward because
of this longing

rooted in a completely different ontology and anthropology, which
> presupposes a real God and a real alienation. I can't see how that can be
> easily reconciled with the reductionistic view of the God-sense this article
> seems to discuss.
Very easily, science does not deal with the concept of a God. Reconciliation
can be trivial as well as complex depending on which position of faith one
takes. I fail to see how these scientific endeavors somehow are
unreconciliable with God.

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Received on Wed, 7 Mar 2007 20:20:14 -0800

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