Fw: [asa] Worthy of response?

From: George Cooper <georgecooper@sbcglobal.net>
Date: Fri Aug 31 2007 - 12:27:18 EDT

----- Original Message -----
From: "George Cooper" <georgecooper@sbcglobal.net>
To: "Austerberry, Charles" <cfauster@creighton.edu>
Sent: Friday, August 31, 2007 11:26 AM
Subject: Re: [asa] Worthy of response?

> For anyone to claim Collins was in error to allow science to have some
> influence on his subjective view only reveals ignorance, at best, on the
> part of the critic. Collins did not claim a direct objective link to God
> with his observation of the waterfall. Science is far too limited.
> These detractors often are quick to ridicule any such idea that science
> can lead to God, yet they do not mind suggesting that science leads to
> their subjective views.
> If Nature elects to reject all subjective thought, then all beauty will be
> ignored (and sales will get ugly!).
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Austerberry, Charles" <cfauster@creighton.edu>
> To: <asa@lists.calvin.edu>
> Sent: Friday, August 31, 2007 9:51 AM
> Subject: [asa] Worthy of response?
>> Dear Colleagues:
>> I've been wondering how one might respond to Sam Harris' latest salvo
>> against Francis Collins. It's part of a letter (in the "Correspondence"
>> section) he sent to the journal Nature. It appears on p. 864 of the
>> August 23 2007 issue (Vol.448, No. 7156). It's titled "Scientists
>> should unite against threat from religion."
>> Here's an excerpt:
>> *************************
>> Nature praises Collins, a devout Christian, for engaging "with people of
>> faith to explore how science - both in its mode of thought and its
>> results - is consistent with their religious beliefs".
>> But here is Collins on how he, as a scientist, finally became convinced
>> of the divinity of Jesus Christ: "On a beautiful fall day, as I was
>> hiking in the Cascade Mountains... the majesty and beauty of God's
>> creation overwhelmed my resistance. As I rounded a corner and saw a
>> beautiful and unexpected frozen waterfall, hundreds of feet high, I knew
>> the search was over. The next morning, I knelt in the dewy grass as the
>> sun rose and surrendered to Jesus Christ."
>> What does the "mode of thought" displayed by Collins have in common with
>> science? The Language of God should have sparked gasping outrage from
>> the editors at Nature. Instead, they deemed Collins's efforts "moving"
>> and "laudable", commending him for building a "bridge across the social
>> and intellectual divide that exists between most of US academia and the
>> so-called heartlands."
>> ***************************
>> Jesus admonition about not casting pearls before swine comes to mind;
>> not that I'm equating Harris with swine, but that Harris' ability to
>> value what Collins experienced is similar to a pig's ability to value
>> pearls. Maybe responding to Harris would just be wasting more pearls.
>> I've experienced that same kind of mockery when explaining to local
>> atheists why Christ's suffering and death and resurrection are so
>> important to me. Not much one can say, perhaps. I'm also reminded of
>> Jesus' deeply meaningful silence before Pilate and Herod, for example.
>> However, perhaps there is a point to be made about the difference
>> between scientific and religious ways of knowing, and that one and the
>> same person (Collins) can be proficient in both. Of course, Collins is
>> not a professional philosopher or theologian, and previously on this
>> list folks have rightly noted some weaknesses in Collins' book. But I
>> think Harris' criticism comes from some pretty basic misunderstandings
>> of his own about philosophy and theology.
>> I'm not planning to send any response to Nature myself. Maybe Collins
>> will, and/or maybe another ASA member (or several) should.
>> Cheers.
>> Charles (Chuck) F. Austerberry, Ph.D.
>> Assistant Professor of Biology
>> Hixson-Lied Room 438
>> Creighton University
>> 2500 California Plaza
>> Omaha, NE 68178
>> Phone: 402-280-2154
>> Fax: 402-280-5595
>> e-mail: cfauster@creighton.edu
>> Nebraska Religious Coalition for Science Education
>> http://nrcse.creighton.edu
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Received on Fri Aug 31 12:27:32 2007

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