Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Between God and Rationality

Paul Vallely writes in the Statesman that the gulf between scientists on one hand the general public on the other has been growing for years and has some thoughts on it, including the alarmist reaction to Michael Reiss:

The hapless Reiss made it clear that he insists creationism is scientific nonsense. But a handful of the Royal Society’s most eminent members began a campaign to have him sacked. Sir Harry Kroto, Sir Richard Roberts and Sir John Sulston said in a letter to the president of the Royal Society, “We gather Professor Reiss is a clergyman, which in itself is very worrisome.” We must all now be on the look out, it seems, for reverends under the beds.

This mirrors, as Vallely says, the ruminations of Barbara Forrest, who argues that current attempts to "teach the controversy" (the currently popular phrase) are, in reality, nothing more than attempts to bring religion-based ideas into the science class.

It also gives ammunition to researchers like Richard Dawkins, who has been, perhaps the most polarizing influence on the debate thus far. About that, Vallely writes:

John Hedley Brooke, who recently retired as the first Professor of Science and Religion at the University of Oxford, is more sanguine. “These eruptions take place from time to time historically,” he shrugs. “Dawkins is just a throwback to 19th-century rationalism. He has a strong emotional antagonism that is very indiscriminate and treats all kinds of religion the same. A lot of fine distinctions get lost in the polemics. The problem is that it is all a cumulative process in which the extremes feed off one another.”
“Paradoxically, Dawkins is the biggest recruiter for creationism in this country,” says Denis Alexander. Recently, he says, Bill Demcksi [sic], a leading US creationist, e-mailed Dawkins to thank him for his assistance. “The danger is that all this polarisation will make some believers more anti-science, which is not a clever move tactically.”

Dawkins doesn't seem to care. For those of us that are Christians, we should.

No comments:

Post a Comment