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Christian Vision of Reality?

Garden of Eden While perusing the news today, I came across an article on BeliefNet titled “Making Sense of the Natural World.” It was posted by the BioLogos Foundation, which is the organization founded by Francis Collins and, until recently, also headed by him. It’s an organization that promotes the compatibility of science and religion.

There’s been quite a bit lately about that topic… science and religion. Jerry Coyne started a new term, “faitheist,” to refer to atheists who are, what he considers, overly accommodating to religious beliefs. PZ Myers has written extensively about the topic as well.

In this article on BeliefNet, there was a quote by Alister McGrath, author of A Fine-Tuned Universe and The Dawkins Delusion?, which I found fairly representative of religious belief, though I’m not sure it was intended that way.

The Christian vision of reality offers us a standpoint from which we may view the natural world, and see certain things that others might indeed regard as puzzling, or strange — such as fine-tuning — as consonant with the greater picture that the Christian has to offer.

Here’s how I interpret that quote.

A Christian perspective offers an explanation for things that are puzzling or strange, thereby negating any need (or desire) to find out anything more about those puzzling or strange things. In other words, God did it and that’s all you need to know.

I don’t have the context surrounding that quote, so I don’t know to what the “greater picture that the Christian has to offer” refers or how that fits in with the idea that a supernatural explanation is any explanation at all. I suspect I’ll have to get a copy of McGrath’s book to find out.

I’ve said before that the whole of religion is a curiosity killer. Obviously not for everyone, but in general, if someone knows that “God did it,” what’s the point of moving further? If someone already knows the answer, they’re done… which is why science never “knows.” Science is always probing, always asking, always testing. Even the theory of gravity (yes, it’s “just a theory”) is constantly being tested and modified when necessary.

Religion is why fundamentalists reject evolution… and real cosmology… and, for some odd reason, global warming (or climate change, if you prefer). When the facts and the scientific analysis of the facts contradict their theology, they assume the science is wrong, and since they aren’t the ones who researched the facts (why bother, since they already know the answer), the facts are dismissed out of hand.

Though, to me, this is a sad state, it’s not a real problem… until these fundamentalists want to impose their theology on others. When they start to spread their anti-intellectual, anti-education, anti-science, anti-fact drivel to the rest of us who work and play in a reality-based world, it causes big problems. When people like this get elected into public office where they have the power and authority to set policy, it causes huge problems. And when people like this get put into positions where they have control over others and authority to command them, it causes deadly problems.

So McGrath’s “Christian vision of reality” really isn’t a vision of reality at all. Not really. It’s a vision of a building facade on a movie set. It may look real at first glance or when the camera pans across it, but there’s nothing behind it. There’s nothing there.

And when you look hard enough, you can see it’s fake.

Neil deGrasse Tyson on ID and Fine Tuning

I just came across this today. Neil deGrasse Tyson is speaking about intelligent design, including the “fine tuning” argument for the existence of God. He’s not so much debunking it as he is making fun of it. It’s been debunked by most rational people and the court system, so that would just be a rehash. Tyson joyfully ridicules the absurdity of both ID and the fine-tuning argument with examples that highlight the ridiculousness of each. It’s about five minutes long and very entertaining.