RE: [asa] Expelled. Have you heard of this?

From: Alexanian, Moorad <alexanian@uncw.edu>
Date: Mon Mar 24 2008 - 10:31:03 EDT

My post "Where angels no longer fear to tread" in the Economist may have
been lost in the shuffle. However, note the assertion in the last
paragraph of the article.

 

"That quip, though, makes an intriguing point. Evolutionary biologists
tend to be atheists, and most would be surprised if the scientific
investigation of religion did not end up supporting their point of view.
But if a propensity to religious behaviour really is an evolved trait,
then they have talked themselves into a position where they cannot
benefit from it, much as a sceptic cannot benefit from the placebo
effect of homeopathy. Maybe, therefore, it is God who will have the last
laugh after all-whether He actually exists or not."

 

Moorad

http://www.economist.com/science/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10875666

 

Where angels no longer fear to tread

 

Mar 19th 2008

 

From The Economist print edition

 

Science and religion have often been at loggerheads. Now the former has
decided to resolve the problem by trying to explain the existence of the
latter

 

Illustration by Stephen Jeffrey

 

BY THE standards of European scientific collaboration, EUR2m ($3.1m) is
not a huge sum. But it might be the start of something that will
challenge human perceptions of reality at least as much as the billions
being spent by the European particle-physics laboratory (CERN) at
Geneva. The first task of CERN's new machine, the Large Hadron Collider,
which is due to open later this year, will be to search for the Higgs
boson-an object that has been dubbed, with a certain amount of
hyperbole, the God particle. The EUR2m, by contrast, will be spent on
the search for God Himself-or, rather, for the biological reasons why so
many people believe in God, gods and religion in general.

 

"Explaining Religion", as the project is known, is the largest-ever
scientific study of the subject. It began last September, will run for
three years, and involves scholars from 14 universities and a range of
disciplines from psychology to economics. And it is merely the latest
manifestation of a growing tendency for science to poke its nose into
the God business. .........................

.......................

That quip, though, makes an intriguing point. Evolutionary biologists
tend to be atheists, and most would be surprised if the scientific
investigation of religion did not end up supporting their point of view.
But if a propensity to religious behaviour really is an evolved trait,
then they have talked themselves into a position where they cannot
benefit from it, much as a sceptic cannot benefit from the placebo
effect of homeopathy. Maybe, therefore, it is God who will have the last
laugh after all-whether He actually exists or not.

 

 

________________________________

From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On
Behalf Of Gregory Arago
Sent: Sunday, March 23, 2008 11:53 PM
To: John Walley; 'Dehler, Bernie'; 'ASA'
Subject: RE: [asa] Expelled. Have you heard of this?

 

Thank you John, it seems we are taking steps toward each other. First,
Ben Stein is an original, as are we all. You try to package him, label
him in this one role, but it is unfair. We all come to the throne of
decision on our own, as human persons. Please don't take the red carpet
path of thinking that human beings are all alike, as in a Hollowood
Film, 'I, Robot.' As a sociologist, I don't like this 'others like him'
paintbrush, when it could be equally and as easily applied to you. What
you think is 'switching' the meaning of evolution is entirely relevant
on its on, on its side of the switch, which you and most at ASA tend to
ignore.

 

Second, no, I am not referring to a 'Dawkinsian flavour embedded in an
atheistic qualifier' for evolution. The problem comes long before R.D.,
the most well-known British thinker alive today (nod to R. Baskhar, M.
Midgley & A. Giddens). The 'two sides' are speaking past each other in
your neighbourhood, not in mine. On this topic, things are more
sophisticated outside than inside the USA. In my neighbourhood, Dawkins'
atheistic evolution is 'put in it's place' by speaking scientitifically,
whereas in yours he is put in his place by speaking theologically
(letting you claim A. McGrath in the process). There is a BIG difference
here, moreso because R.D. is in America right now and also because Pope
Benedict XVI is soon 'coming to America.' The universalism of
evolutionary worldview is deservedly under threat.

 

TE/EC seems to have no vision to stomp out Dawkinsian/Darwnism. IDism
makes a start, but it fails in important ways. An alternative to ID is
preferable, but it would sting the TE/EC position so deeply that they
would have to give up the notion (and others like it) that Jesus
'evolved' onto the Cross! This would be something extremely hard for
them to do. They are probably too 'hidden' and interpretively
late-moderns to accept it. I was frankly stunned by a late-modern
Christian speech here in St. Petersburg yesterday. The nuance of anti-ID
TEism is likewise far from satisfactory.

 

Gregory

John Walley <john_walley@yahoo.com> wrote:

        Gregory,

         

        I agree it is a valid observation that evolution is pressed by
some too far as well and that is in part the cause of the backlash of
Ben Stein and others like him. However this observation switches the
meaning of the term evolution. I obviously used it in the sense of being
prefaced with the theistic qualifier rendering it to be just a specific
mechanism of creation in which their would be no conflict with the
social sciences, but the evolution you are referring to is of the
Dawkinsian flavor embedded with the implicit atheistic qualifier and
therein lies the problem. The two sides are talking past each other with
these faulty battle lines being drawn with no voices of reason calling
out from this middle ground.

         

        Thanks

         

        John

                -----Original Message-----
                From: Gregory Arago [mailto:gregoryarago@yahoo.ca]
                Sent: Sunday, March 23, 2008 5:40 PM
                To: John Walley; 'Dehler, Bernie'; 'ASA'
                Subject: RE: [asa] Expelled. Have you heard of this?

                With Easter Greetings from an Orthodox Country!

                 

                If you want 'to be ready for it' (Expelled) then you
should likely invite to the ASA list a different cast of characters than
currently exists. You should (but likely won't) invite anthropologists
(to look at how this phenomenon of Expelled could take place 'Only in
America'), sociologists and economists (to explore who is watching the
film and why they are parting with their greenbacks to see it),
psychologists (to consider the mentality of people who are attracted to
this 'controversy' and why some people are so fearful of the
unknown/unknowable that they literally do 'expel' certain ideas and the
people behind them/pushing them from the public arena and academia in
America) and culturologists/cultural studies theoriests (who can help
put into context the meaning of pop film culture for the contemporary
human psyche). Otherwise, all you're going to get is a bunch of armchair
opinions from natural scientists and theologians who have little
training or sensibility to fairly address the meaning of the topic they
are commenting about. This doesn't mean unprofessional/amateur opinions
are nevertheless fun or interesting to read!

                John Walley writes:

                ID presses the design argument too far and it appears to
break down as you try to extend it into the biological sciences.

                 

                This may very well be accurate. I agree with the thrust
of his opposition to ID. However, the other side of the coin is also
fair to highlight, that is, biological evolution is (all-too-often)
pressed too far into human-social sciences. Evolution theoretically and
methodologically breaks down as one tries to extend it into the
human-social sciences!

                 

                Now of course, one could simply say 'So What?' - 'Why
does it matter if evolution is over-stretched into human-social
linguistic usage?' That's just 'soft' talk! Well, I have been arguing
for months and months at ASA that this is EXACTLY the point that ID (if
it could calibrate its message more accurately, by including
human-social thought, instead of making the 'too far' analogies, e.g.
Easter Island and mousetraps) should press, and that it is pressing
through such things as the Expelled movie.

                 

                It even belittles Dawkins to take a preview ticket in
order to critique it (on his trip to America where TE/EC's will only
critique his theology and NOT his Science)!! This is something that
seems to suggest a great possibility for raising a dignity to
inspirational academia that has not come about in the United States of
America for a long time in science and religion discourse. Anti-IDists
who have little understanding of the sociological context surrounding
this film may knock the 'pure science' content, but they, especially the
TE/EC's, are actually losing the argument just by the point of fact that
this movie is being played in theatres across that nation. Go figure!

                 

                Opposed to the warfare model, challenging the wedge.
Promoting a middle way.

                 

                Celebrating Easter,

                Outside of America,

                Thinking of Jerusalem, many years ago,

                 

                Gregory

                 

                
                John Walley <john_walley@yahoo.com> wrote:

                        After considerable debate on this topic many
months ago, I think the generic design argument which I will define as
the just-so parameters of the physical universe, is still a powerful
apologetic and it deserves a some recognition and support of thinking
Christians. I extracted this concession out of many on this list under
duress including Pim although for him it was by the hardest.

                         

                        The problem though and the source of the
resistance of science to supporting ID, is that ID presses the design
argument too far and it appears to break down as you try to extend it
into the biological sciences. There are a lot of just-so coincidences in
biology as well but some examples of a lack of, or broken design that
cause thorny problems for the design argument if you are intellectually
honest about it.

                         

                        I also think it is a mistake to bet the design
farm on mechanisms like irreducible complexity because that may be
contested and disproven and the true design is embedded at a lower level
and that is where the design argument should be framed. And the fatal
fundamental flaw of ID is my opinion is the conclusion that all this
unexplained just-so complexity had to be the product of special creation
which is just wrong and counterproductive. Ken Miller points out in his
presentation that ID is defined by Behe himself as special creation but
interestingly Miller himself accepts the design argument if you factor
out the special creation conclusion.

                         

                        Guys like Ben Stein [why pluralise?] and other
proponents of ID could be useful to the church if they appreciated this
distinction and adapted their content accordingly. Unfortunately, they
[vs. 'We'] appear instead to be promoting the warfare model as Dick
mentioned earlier which really just drives the wedge between science and
the church in even deeper. This is a real opportunity for those in ASA
to try to reach Stein and others in our post-Dover climate to try to
help them see this and why it makes such an important difference.

                         

                        Thanks

                         

                        John

                                -----Original Message-----
                                From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu
[mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On Behalf Of Dehler, Bernie
                                Sent: Saturday, March 22, 2008 3:58 PM
                                To: ASA
                                Subject: RE: [asa] Expelled. Have you
heard of this?

                                I have a feeling this movie is going to
make a lot of commotion-we should be ready for it!

                                 

                                
________________________________

                                From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu
[mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On Behalf Of Dick Fischer
                                Sent: Saturday, March 22, 2008 8:54 AM
                                To: ASA
                                Subject: RE: [asa] Expelled. Have you
heard of this?

                                 

                                I met Ben when he was in Washington
hawking his anti-evolution movie. Frankly, I liked him better in
"Ferris Bueller's Day Off." His movie character made better sense too.

                                 

                                Dick Fischer. author, lecturer

                                Historical Genesis from Adam to Abraham

                                www.historicalgenesis.com
<http://www.historicalgenesis.com/>

                                 

                                -----Original Message-----
                                From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu
[mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On Behalf Of Jack
                                Sent: Friday, March 21, 2008 10:44 PM
                                To: ASA
                                Subject: [asa] Expelled. Have you heard
of this?

                                 

                                Apparently Dawkins himself went to an
invite only preview last night in Minnesota, without an invitation, but
was introduced at the end. This is a pro ID/anti "darwinism"
documentary.

                                 

                                Ben Stein?!

                 

                
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Received on Mon, 24 Mar 2008 10:31:03 -0400

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