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Unread May 12th, 2008, 10:15 AM
James Brody James Brody is offline
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Cool God & Science @ Templeton

You can find thirteen discussions - including thoughts by Steve Pinker, Mary Midgely, Robert Sapolsky, Michael Shermer, and Stuart Kauffman - of why or why science does not make God unnecessary. They are something of a gift but also something of a decoration, arranged by the John Templeton Foundation whose slogan is "Supporting science, investing in the big questions." (

They are a gift because you get something for nothing and because each of the thirteen writers appears to capture his or her own series of books within just a few paragraphs. And they are a decoration - a display - for much the same reason. (As true for so many displays, there is only one female essayist!) As Zahavi noted, displays are important because they allow conspecifics to judge your value and I suspect, given the importance of nonshared environments in making niches, that nearly any one of us will find in this crowd someone with whom he or she agrees.

Except me.

1) Debates of faith and religion are not only a Darwinian display but a surrender to secularism: heritable preferences are treated as if erasable. (Templeton plays fair, telling us in advance, "Supporting science...," "education of the gifted," and "civil, elegant prose" and. therefore, their accepting discussion, rule-generation, and top-down responses to challenges that arise from the bottom-up. Even those inclined to keep God around appear to do so on "progressive" terms!

2) Darwin challenged top-down beliefs (cathedrals and species are both products of a designer) with natural selection: cathedrals began with huts and holes, species perhaps with bubbling clusters of viruses. However, none of these thirteen essayists - not even the great Pinker - consider the adaptive functions of religiosity, that it provides a "glue" for us in crisis and in settled times, helps us to live in peace. Irony: scientists may find themselves protected from members of one religion by members of a different religion.

3) There are reminders that religious authorities and their soldiers have killed many of us. I remind everyone of the tens of millions slaughtered, with no help evident from God or clerics, by Hitler, Stalin, and Mao all in the name of making a better society for those who live afterwards. And secularists now nourish the next great war by selling fissionables to impulsive, territory-driven thugs.

Hume (or Hobbes) suggested that wars are motivated by gold, territory, and women. Those drives are still with us, perhaps tempered by prenatal genomic imprinting in different environments, but no amount of discussion will erase them, and those susceptible to delay, discussion, and negotiation would be on the sidewalk - gasping, bleeding, or dying - if engaged in a street fight where Rule 1 is to hit the other guy first and do it while he's talking.

Too damned much IQ really is a handicap!

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Unread May 19th, 2008, 02:16 PM
TomJrzk TomJrzk is offline
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Dallas
Posts: 257
Thumbs up Re: God & Science @ Templeton

Originally Posted by James Brody
...the adaptive functions of religiosity, that it provides a "glue" for us in crisis and in settled times, helps us to live in peace.
Now, THAT I can agree with.
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