Thursday, November 30, 2006

Jason Rosenhouse on Science v Religion

Jason Rosenhouse has a lengthy posting over on EvolutionBlog. It's well worth reading. Here's a snippet ...
The situation is perfectly clear. Everyone cares about good science education and Ed can go climb a tree for suggesting otherwise. But some of us also believe that it does no good to pander and condescend to people's religious beliefs by telling them that there is no conflict between science and religion. There is a conflict, it is a big one, and most people find that obvious. Clever people like Miller and Collins can find imaginative ways of reconciling the two, but few people are buying it.
Yep. There's a conflict between science and religion, and ignoring it ain't gonna make it go away.


  1. Is that your new intellectual standard? What else will you be teaching in your classes that has as its sole support that "most people find it obvious"?

    Was Jason's very next post also well worth readin?

  2. once again Larry, I hope your biochemistry is better than your understanding of the diversity of "religion" in the world. There is conflict between science and some religion.

    Maybe I will use your book next time I teach biochem and make it easy of for my students. I will simply accept any answer that generalizes complex pathways to meaningless statements. You know..."well an enzyme changes this substrate into some product that is different" I mean after all that would describe almost all biochemical reactions at the same level of sophistication as your view of "religion".

    And again, most theistic scienctists understand this, and they also understand when they have left the domain of science.

    You don't

  3. "When people like Miller or Francis Collins tell people there is no conflict between evolution and religion they are applauded and welcomed. But when a Dawkins or a Myers comes along and points out that people making that case are kidding themselves, they are admonished to keep their mouths shut lest they scare off potential allies.

    Miller and Collins wrote books specifically aimed at defending theism against people like Dawkins. But Ed does not throw them out of the movement to protect science education, on the grounds that they are actually involved in the fight for theism against atheism."

    Jason wrote the best post in this discussion so far. I also like Milne's post:

    "The first duty still has to be to simple truths and their beauty." ( )

    The allegation that a scientist needs to know theology to discuss anything religious is frequently made against Dawkins. Apparently he answers that in some length in his book "The God Delusion" as there are several discussions on this at

    For example, to condense the claims religions make on the natural world into the concept of supernaturalism (and in specific cases vitalism, soulism, et cetera) is formalization in an analysis of the relation to nature and science. As such it is nothing unusual or extraordinary about it. Simplification is a hallmark of formal methods and models.

  4. In this case, Mr. Jason and Mr. Moran are doing more than ranting against religion. You don't really need to know theology to rant against something you don't like. However, Moran and Jason are making a statement about the compatibility of science, in this case evolution, with religion. To make that kind of a statement you DO need to know theology. And if you know nothing about a particular person's religion you are in no position to say that it and evolution are mutually exclusive.

    -just some guy