fredag 12. juni 2009

Kjetteren Miller

I føljetongen "nye ateister" er vi denne gangen kommet til episoden der det avsløres at tro på evolusjon = ateisme.

Blant mange som har fått sitt Chamberlain-pass påskrevet i beste Dawkinsdemagogi (for ateister å samarbeide med religiøse i kampen mot kreasjonismen er selvsagt som da Chamberlain inngikk fredsavtalen med Hitler) er biologiprofessoren Kenneth R. Miller. Nå er ikke dette hvem som helst. Miller er en yndet skyteskive fra kreasjonistisk og ID-hold, siden han både er aktiv katolikk og iherdig forsvarer av evolusjon, i foredrag, bøker og rettstoler.

Men det holder ikke for nye ateister. Renser man ikke sin offentlige tale for alt som har å gjøre med å støtte Gud og religion og sånt, blander man per definisjon religion og vitenskap. For ekte vitenskapsmenn tror, muligens i likhet med ekte skotter, ikke på Gud.

Dermed er Miller nå også utsatt for skudd fra de vanlige mistenkte, inkvisitorene Coyne, Myers og Rosenhouse. Og ser seg nødt til å følge sine instinkter og forsvare revir.
Can an evolutionist also be a theist? I used to think that the answer to this question was an obvious and self-evident "yes." So did philosopher Michael Ruse, who brilliantly defended science in the 1983 Arkansas trial that sounded the death knell for efforts to put "scientific creationism" in American schools. Can a Darwinian be a Christian? was the title of Ruse's carefully-reasoned 2001 book on the question, and his answer was an emphatic "yes."

Today, however, evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne of the University of Chicago begs to differ. In three separate articles he has tried to make the case that the science of evolution demands a philosophical materialism that flatly rules out theism — and he pulls no punches in making that claim.
Coyne legger ikke mye i mellom i sin puritanisme (noe som i følge Chesterton er rettferdige harme på feil sted)og polemikk overfor en rekke heller fremstående forskere.
In one piece he compared religious scientists who might defend evolution to "adulterers." In another he argued that making a case for compatibility of science and faith was akin to peddling cancer by lying about the ill effects of tobacco. To Coyne, the pro-evolution arguments of religious scientists such as Francis Collins, George Coyne, or Karl Giberson are not only unwelcome, but downright dishonest. In his words, this is because "when one makes pronouncements about faith that involve assertions about science, the science always suffers."
Coyne nevner pussig nok ikke at Darwin selv ikke så noen motsetning mellom å tro på evolusjon og Gud.
Curiously, for someone so eager to defend Darwinian theory, Coyne never tells his readers that Charles Darwin was once asked the very same question — and that he gave a quite different answer. In an 1879 letter to John Fordyce, Darwin wrote: "It seems to me absurd to doubt that a man may be an ardent Theist and an evolutionist." Absurd? Apparently this Darwin fellow must have been an accommodationist, too, at least by Coyne's standards.

No theist himself, as he made clear in that letter, Darwin nonetheless realized that it was certainly possible for Christians to see the evolutionary process as consistent with their faith. As well he should have. His most enthusiastic proponent in the United States was the "eminent botanist" Asa Gray of Harvard. Gray, as Darwin knew, was a sincere and committed Christian, and Darwin was not about to reject Gray's strong scientific and personal support. Nor did he find it dishonest or logically inconsistent.
Miller har små problemer med å ta Coyne i sitatfusk, feiltolkninger og logiske bommerter. Og understreker, hvis noen rosenrød idealister skulle være i tvil, at vantro kan skape vel så mye kognitiv misvisning som tro.

Saken blir ikke bedre av at Coyne risikerer å dra vekk teppet under seg selv. Dess sterkere man kobler evolusjon og ateisme, dess dårligere rustet er man overfor de på kreasjonist- og ID-siden som hevder nettopp dette. Og som dermed vil ha også andre "religioner" inn i skolens naturfagundervisning.
Phillip Johnson, the Berkeley law professor who crafted the intellectual strategy for intelligent design movement in the so-called "Wedge Document," explained its key goal this way: "The objective [of the ID Strategy] is to convince people that Darwinism is inherently atheistic, thus shifting the debate from creationism vs. evolution to the existence of God vs. the non-existence of God. From there people are introduced to 'the truth' of the Bible and then 'the question of sin' and finally 'introduced to Jesus.'" Johnson now has the unwitting help of scientists like Coyne in achieving exactly that result.

In purely tactical terms, Coyne's recent writings provide powerful and persuasive support for one of the most effective arguments in the creationists' bag of tricks. If the American public can be convinced that the central theory of the biological sciences cannot be understood without rejecting religion, the forces of anti-evolution in our country will have achieved one of their most cherished goals — to depict evolution as a secular philosophical movement rather than a natural science. Then, with Coyne's aid, they will have a much easier time persuading voters and school board members to protect their schoolchildren against what creationists call this "sinister plot."
Coyne er heller ikke snauere enn at han også blander kortene når det gjelder forskjellen mellom vitenskap og livstolkning.
[Coyne] pretends to take a stand on principle against mixing philosophy and science, calling me out by name on that score:

"What bothers me is that Miller can't resist slipping in, under the guise of his expertise as a biologist, the idea that it is scientific to assert that the laws of physics are fine-tuned for our appearance, as is the nature of the evolutionary process itself. But those are NOT scientific statements; they are philosophy born of religion." [Coyne: Accommodationism]

Indeed they are, and that's exactly my point. Namely, that there are philosophical and even theological ways in which the science of evolution can be understood, not twisted or distorted, but understood. That philosophy may be born of religion, as Coyne notes, but it is shaped by the absolute need to be consistent with science, and that's what makes it both logical and relevant to people of faith. Nonetheless, one could still argue that any such thoughts do indeed mix philosophy with religion, which Coyne would never do, would he? Well, not exactly. Just a few lines later Coyne does exactly that by making an even broader statement that does indeed draw sweeping theological conclusions from his own view of science.

"But any rational person looking at the world would conclude, as did Darwin, that it was not designed by a beneficent God. ... As Richard Dawkins has noted, the world and universe look precisely as if they reflect not a caring designer, but 'blind, pitiless, indifference.' " [Coyne: Accommodationism]

Curiously, for Coyne it's just fine to use the "authority of science" to make conclusions about the presence or absence of "design," and even to parrot Richard Dawkins on completely non-scientific qualities such as "pity" and "indifference." Apparently it's legitimate to mix a philosophy in with your science — as long as it's the right kind philosophy, the one he happens to hold. To note that we live in a universe bursting with evolutionary possibilities would be dishonest, but an assessment of "blind, pitiless indifference" isn't philosophy at all? C'mon, Jerry. You know better than that.
Vel, jeg har mine tvil.

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