Saturday, October 20, 2007

"Peace through God" - Be skeptical of naturalists bearing gifts...

This is a busy night - so many articles, so little time!

Take a look at this one - my skepticism tells me that he "damns me with faint praise" with his ill-disguised attempt to segregate scientists and believer as if they are mutually exclusive. Sorry, that's not the way it works...

Science can declare the approximate limits of its territorial ambitions and be stronger for it. My dearly missed old friend Stephen Jay Gould framed this possibility beautifully with his proposal for “nonoverlapping magisteria.” I’ll go further and suggest that scientists should not only refrain from ridiculing people who find hope on the other side of the border but should also actively delight in a cacophonous, multicultural colonization of that far frontier so that it can’t be monopolized by fundamentalists. A workable definition of spirituality is “one’s emotional relationship with unanswerable questions.” It’s possible to find joy in them.

Of course, it’s not always easy to do this in practice. Where I live, in the Bay Area, you’re as likely to run into New Age superstition as Christian fundamentalism. In either case, the believer will often take the uncertainty of a big, genuinely mysterious question like consciousness as license to believe in something smaller like astrology, which can be disproved by experiment. Then I end up on the spot, once again telling someone else what not to believe.

1 comment:

  1. I don't suppose Mr. Lanier would appreciate me telling him that science is a small subset of the things of faith, having no magisteria outside of faith.