Saturday, August 23, 2008

ID's DaveScot an agnostic?

One of the bloggers as Uncommon Descent, the one who goes by DaveScot, claims to be an agnostic. He is certainly convenient for the movement to try to claim that non-religious people can support ID. I normally don't bother with Dumski's website but while checking to see if I managed to register on their radar (so far I haven't, given my blog's lack of popularity, it could stay that way for some time) I saw a post made by DaveScot. I should also note that while I have followed the debate, I have an awareness of who he is but not of his positions (though he had a meltdown some time ago when Dumbski invited O'Leary to join his blog and DaveScot insulted O'Leary in a post that apparently is still available). On the other hand, I've encountered morons who like to invoke DaveScot's self-proclaimed agnosticism to try to refute ID's creationist roots.

But in this post from August 22, DaveScot reveals his own theism. The post is a response to a video prepared by the AAAS to the horrid documentary Expelled.

The video shows a number of science teachers who support the modern theory of evolution and still believe in God.

DaveScot questions their views, writing

So what exactly do they “see” that convinces them that God’s hand is all over the place? Obviously it isn’t rational evidence that can weighed, measured, or otherwise rationally evaulated because that would be science and furthermore it would be the science behind intelligent design.

The statement makes the following connection "God's hand" "all over the place" = "the science behind intelligent design."

This following statement is absolutely bizarre and I am not sure what to say in response:

Personally I think these people are either liars who are not convinced they see God all over the place or they are being truthful in becoming convinced of things with no rational evidence which technically means they are hallucinating and probably shouldn’t be allowed to drive a car lest they start seeing these big designing hands in the road and swerve to avoid them.

By his (admittedly faulty) reasoning here, if one believes in God, then one supports ID (or should), if one doesn't, then one should support modern evolutionary theory (or should). His reasoning is wrong (as I explain below, there is no reason why one cannot be both a supporter of modern evolutionary theory and believe in God -- Pope John Paul II apparently did) but by his own reasoning, he is not an agnostic since he supports ID.

He closes with the following:

Sorry if I’m offending anyone but these people disgust me. They’re all like “I believe in rational inquiry, science, and bearded thunderers who live in the sky and worry about my immortal soul”. Please. Choose one or the other but not both.

Stephen Jay Gould was fond of saying that religion and science do not interfere with each other (or at least, they don't have to) as they refer to different magisteria. Science is guided by methodological naturalism and is a method of examining the world around us. Religion is not directly contradicted by the claims of science. Even Pope John Paul II had no problems with the theory of evolution: God was important in two moments in the history of the universe: its creation (a point that cannot be proven or disproven by science per se; and one that has no bearing on the theory of evolution -- the creation of the universe is a problem for physics) and giving humans souls (definitely outside the realm of science).

If religion is about the soul and science the body, there is no contradiction. One can use science and say that God doesn't exist -- there's certainly no need for God to exist in science's view (see the concept of God of the Gaps). One can use religion and say we have a soul (it's not measurable by scientific instruments) and science can say that it doesn't have a weight (even dark matter and dark energy are detectable, in part because of their weight and influence they have on the universe), but if you want to believe that, that's fine (as far as science is concerned).

DaveScot wants to eliminate the distinction between religion and science and make them the same. Again, if he supports ID, then he has just professed his faith in the existence of some sort of God. If he doesn't, then he's a hypocrite.

Of course, so far all the evidence that science provides shows that God is not necessary. I read a nice essay before the Dover trial (summer or fall 2005) that pointed out that not only was ID not science, it was also bad theology. Maybe that's why the Catholic church has yet to embrace it (and if they distinguish it from theistic evolution, they probably never will).

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