According to David Goldston, "Many scientists today feel that they are confronted with an ever more religious and irrational public in the United States that reflexively rejects the views of scientists." This leads him to make various comments on how religious attitudes adversely affect the reception of science. Needless to say, this is not how ID advocates read the situation. It is not religion vs science, but theism vs materialism that is the real issue. When reframed in this way, theism emerges as the paradigm that nurtured science in its infancy and continues today to underpin the essential elements of scientific endeavour.
However, this is not the reason for drawing attention to this essay. Rather, Goldston identifies "two important facets" of interaction which, he says, may lead to "fresh problems".
The "ultimate picture of human nature" is that we are "nothing more than proteins and electrical impulses" - Goldston.
The first of these facets relates to social life and culture:
"Battles over science in general, and evolution in particular, tend not to reflect concerns about science, but about society more generally. [. . .] Scientists must continue to carry out their educational mission, but evolution will disappear from the headlines only when the whole constellation of social issues that animate the religious right recedes from public concern."
Unfortunately, these social issues are not clearly identified. We might surmise that some of these relate to Social Darwinism - as discussed recently by Weikart and West. There are additional issues surrounding the sanctity of human life (abortion, human embryo research, euthanasia, eugenics and human genetic engineering) where attempts by Christians to invoke an ethical stance drawn from the Bible are regarded as unwelcome intrusions into matters of science. Any objective analysis of this situation must conclude that this is not a case of religion vs science, but it is an issue of Christianity vs Materialism. There are two ethical stances in conflict: science is the playing field and not one of the players.
The second important facet concerns genetics and neuroscience and the attempt by materialists to interpret all of human nature in terms of physics and chemistry.
"Second, [. . .] the fact that scientific discovery can genuinely undermine religious beliefs. The [. . .] discoveries in genetics and neuroscience are likely to be far more problematic in the long run. The two fields are verging on drawing the ultimate materialist picture of human nature - humans as nothing more than proteins and electrical impulses, all machine and no ghost, to play off Descartes' formulation. This view will challenge not only fundamentalist views about the soul, but more widely held notions about what it means to be a person. That will further complicate age-old questions about the nature of individual responsibility and morality."
There should be no doubt in anyone's mind that these words from Goldston are a deduction from his materialistic philosophy and they do not present the findings of empirical research. Materialism starts with the premiss that nature is all there is, and human beings are "nothing more than proteins and electrical impulses". This cannot be science, because science is a voyage of discovery, not a pre-emptive declaration of what the world is like. It is quite untrue to portray genetics and neuroscience as confirming "the ultimate materialist picture of human nature". (For more on this, consult Beauregard and O'Leary). Rather, these disciplines are revealing the necessity of bringing 'information' to the forefront of our conceptual models. The suggestion that humanity can be understood without reference to intelligent design is the ultimate materialistic scientist delusion. It is a small step from this dogmatic stance to anti-science. Materialists have become intoxicated with their own ideology: that is why many of us want to reclaim science from their grasp.
This takes us back to Francis Bacon who sought to reclaim 'science' from the Aristotelian philosophers - who thought they knew the true nature of the Universe. We want science to be open to evidence wherever it may lead. This means that today we must not start with materialism any more than, in the past, scholars grounded their thinking on Aristotelian metaphysics.
The scientist delusion
Nature, 5 March 2008, 452, 17 | doi:10.1038/452017a
Abstract: Religious resistance to science is often exaggerated, but fresh problems may lie ahead
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