Science, Just Science

24 March 2007

Faith vs Science

Filed under: Creationism & Intelligent Design,SJS Comment — Kyuuketsuki @ 10:07 am

Originally submitted by “The Pixie” to SJS.

Gil Dodgen at Uncommon Descent recently posted about Ken Miller, concluding:

Personally, I don’t think that Ken is insincere. I think that his entire professional life, and sense of purpose in life, is so invested in Darwinism that he can’t imagine that this philosophy might be wrong. If it turns out that it is wrong, Ken’s life will have been a wasted effort, and no one wants that engraved on his tombstone.

What I find so interesting about this is that it can so easily be twisted the other way around:

Personally, I don’t think that Dembski is insincere. I think that his entire professional life, and sense of purpose in life, is so invested in creationism that he can’t imagine that this philosophy might be wrong. If it turns out that it is wrong, Dembski’s life will have been a wasted effort, and no one wants that engraved on his tombstone.

I am just picking on Dembski because it is his blog site, and I use the term “creationism” rather than “intelligent design” to reflect GilDodgen’s choice of the word “Darwinism”.

I suggest that it is the Intelligent Design proponents that have the most invested in their position. If evolution is refuted tomorrow, it will not actually change my life that much. I am a chemist; I never use evolution at work. It has no impact on my home life; it is not like I use the implications of Darwinism to make decision about how I raise my children for example. I will continue to believe that schools should teach mainstream science only; science as it is accepted by 95% of scientists. Sure, what that is willl have changed, but that is the nature of science, and I would expect school eduction to adapt to that.

Although I am an atheist, I am a tentative atheist (some say that makes me an agnostics, but that is a semantic quibble). It is not something I have dedicated by life to, and if we find proof of, say, the Hindu gods, I could accept that. Sure, I would need some impressive proof, but it would not destroy my metaphysics, because my personal metaphysics is not commited to the non-existence of God.

But creationism is a part of religious Faith. If creationism is refuted (that is, refuted so even the creationists accept it is wrong), it means their Faith is wrong. And Faith is an intrinsic part of the life of any theist’s life. They live their lives according to their Faith, they raise their children to do likewise. If they realise creationism is wrong, all that was wasted. The basis for their system of ethics disappears.

No wonder then that creationists and IDists are unable to join in scientific debates (and I am thing here of the recent thread on this site as an excellent example). They must be living in constant (but perhaps unconscious) fear that they might actually be wrong. Instead, they use any number of tricks and evasions to maintain the delusion that they are right, that their Faith is built on solid foundations.

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