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

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Thu Mar 08 2007 - 00:36:51 EST

On Mar 7, 2007, at 9:20 PM, PvM wrote:
> 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

Before I start I thought the article itself was well-written and did
a good job of clearly explaining the theories involved. My opinion is
closer to David's than it is to Pim's. I presented this because of
the attempt to answer the same question -- why are humans hopelessly
religious -- from completely different perspectives. The perspectives
are not necessarily Christian and anti-Christian, yet they are
different nonetheless. It's not that the theories discussed here
cannot be reconciled with Christianity. They can. My beef is rather
that this segment of evolutionary theory lacks the explanatory power
that the theory has in general. Richard Dawkins' queasiness is not
only because he is a militant atheist. He's detecting real flaws in
the theory of group selection in my opinion. Dawkins is not the only
one who sees this. I thought that Francis Collins' critique of group
selection at his ASA keynote was devastating. The other approach,
spandrels, is post hoc and not falsifiable. Augustine's alternative
explanation simply rings truer not only with the nature of things but
also with my own personal religious experience. I am still an
evangelical and I reserve the right to pull that trump card every
once in a while. :-)
> 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.

Your statement is correct in general, but here we have scientists who
don't want to live by those normal strictures. It's true this kind
of science doesn't deal with God, but it not true it doesn't deal
with the "concept of God" in humans which is its raison d'etre.

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Received on Thu Mar 8 00:37:29 2007

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