Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Since when are scientists forced to make a choice?

From a recent Discovery Institute 'press' release.

"There was a time when most scientists were also deeply religious men. When scientists were not forced to choose between belief in God and the rigorous pursuit of scientific knowledge. But that all ended with Charles Darwin.

In his stunning new book, The Darwin Myth, CSC fellow Benjamin Wiker cuts through the politically correct lies and cultural misconceptions to reveal the true Charles Darwin: the man who separated God from science."

Since when are scientists forced to choose between belief in God and rigorous pursuit of scientific knowledge? The real answer is that they are not! Most scientists I know are also deeply religious people. They attend church and are part of their community, like most folks! They hold different religious beliefs and some do not hold to any particular religion at all. You know pretty much like any other group of people.

This 'requirement to choose' is nothing but an artificial dichotomy created for the express purpose of dividing people along lines chosen by the Discovery Institute. The problem is scientists are not the ones falling for this line, but ordinary folks who think you have to make a choice. The reality is you do not!

Jonnie Wells, another one of the less-than-stalwart-fellows over at the DI made it pretty clear, according to the DI you do have to make a choice. Faith and Evolution? And of course THEIR idea of the right choice is to choose God and by the way they have this neat little idea called Intelligent Design that has God's Stamp of Approval! Gee, he is sounding more like an infomercial today, isn't he?

Here is how I see it. The Theory of Evolution in not incompatible with belief in God. Science doesn't address the metaphysical aspects of any form of spiritual belief. What I find most striking is that after years of the DI trying to divest itself of those vestments is still claiming this dichotomy is true. How can an idea like Intelligent Design, one whose supporters claim is 'non-religious', mandate such a divide? The only way it can is if it is inherently a religious proposition!

To be sure, evolution is incompatible with a literal form of Christianity usually called Evangelical. Yes, Science does refute the specific claims made by those who insist that the Bible is absolutely historically and scientifically accurate. Like hte age of the Earth, Noah's world-wide flood, and the like. But since when does conflicting with one very narrow interpretation of a religion mean there is an issue with believing in God? In my opinion many religions only have a passing acquaintance with God anyway, but that is neither here nor there in this post.

As for The Darwin Myth, I would be more than a little hesitant to trust anything written, published, or even publicized by the Discovery Institute. They are the ones pushing this artificial dichotomy and lo and behold they have books supporting it. In my opinion the only thing that might be stunning about Wiker's book is if it didn't support the party line set for by the Discovery Institute. But then look at the publisher as well, Regnery Publishing, one of the, if not the, leading Conservative publishing company. I guess the Discovery Institute Press was outr of paper that day.

One last word on the Darwin myth. I really don't care that much about Charles Darwin. I mean yes, he was a great man who put things together and came up with a evolutionary idea that has become the bedrock of biological sciences today. But in reality, the theory of evolution has progressed well beyond him. The focus on Darwin will not change what he did nor change what has been going on now for the past 150 years.

What this really is, to me, is nothing more than another tactic of the Discovery Institute. They try and refute the man with 'Charles Darwin: the man who separated God from science' and at the same time create phony connections between Evolution and the Nazi's. I think they need to go back to their labs and start actually doing some science. All this rhetoric is getting a bit long in the tooth for them to think it actually makes a difference. I mean how many States has the DI's 'strengths and weaknesses' campaign been swallowed? One, Louisiana! How long did their victory last in Kansas, Ohio, and Dover PA? Exactly right up until the next election in each place. Wonder how Louisiana lawmakers will fare in the future?


  1. Even Young Earth Creationists offer the exact same choices DI offers that's not worth making when it comes to choosing either Faith in God or Evolution. In a way YECs are no different than IDers.

  2. The YEC's I think are on the shakiest ground with the DI. They came in under this 'Big Tent' approach in which the plan was to destroy Evolution, replace it with a Theistic viewpoint and hammer out the details of which Theistic viewpoint later. Many YEC'ers seem disenchanted with the DI because the DI won't support their claims to a 6-10 thousand year old Earth, in fact many Senior Fellows of the DI have commented that the Earth is much older than that.

    But it's all politics. As long as the DI doesn't officially admit the Christian God is the designer of choice, they can still claim cross-religion unity and include ID'iots like Kinghoffer. By not officially proclaiming the age of the Earth and the Universe they can still lay claim to YEC as supporters. Nothing but marketing and politics.