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    Is Richard Dawkins Really That Naive?
    By Massimo Pigliucci | April 28th 2009 11:22 AM | 28 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Massimo

    Massimo Pigliucci is Professor of Philosophy at the City University of New York.

    His research focuses on the structure of evolutionary

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    Richard Dawkins doesn’t usually strike me as being naïve, but one has to wonder when Dawkins abandons himself to the following sort of writing about his favorite topic these days, the incompatibility between science and religion, on his web site:


    If they’ve [the creationists] been told that there’s an incompatibility between religion and evolution, well, let’s convince them of evolution, and we’re there! Because after all, we’ve got the evidence. ... I suspect that most of our regular readers here would agree that ridicule, of a humorous nature, is likely to be more effective than the sort of snuggling-up and head-patting that Jerry [Coyne] is attacking. I lately started to think that we need to go further: go beyond humorous ridicule, sharpen our barbs to a point where they really hurt. ...You might say that two can play at that game. Suppose the religious start treating us with naked contempt, how would we like it? I think the answer is that there is a real asymmetry here. We have so much more to be contemptuous about! And we are so much better at it. We have scathingly witty spokesmen of the calibre of Christopher Hitchens and Sam Harris. Who have the faith-heads got, by comparison? Ann Coulter is about as good as it gets. We can’t lose!


    Oh, really? There is so much wrong with these few sentences that a whole book could be written about them, but since I am no Stephen Gould (who was famous for being able to magically turn a short essay into a book length manuscript, provided the right economic incentives), a blog post will have to do. First, though, some background. Dawkins is commenting on a recent essay by evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne, who in turn was criticizing Eugenie Scott and her National Center for Science Education. While both Dawkins and Coyne profess admiration and respect for Scott and her organization (and so do I, for the record), they are upset by what they see as an “accommodationist” stance on the question of science and religion.

    Scott — who is an atheist — has repeatedly said that one cannot claim that science requires atheism because atheism is a philosophical position, not a scientific one. She leverages the standard distinction between philosophical and methodological naturalism: if you are a scientist you have to be a methodological naturalist (i.e., assume for operative purposes that nature and natural laws are all that there is); but this doesn’t commit you to the stronger position of philosophical naturalism (i.e., to the claim that there really isn’t anything outside of nature and its laws).

    Years ago, when I first met Genie Scott, I had a Dawkins-like problem with this. I saw the distinction as sophistic hair splitting, and told her so (she was my guest for one of the annual Darwin Day events at the University of Tennessee). Then I started taking philosophy courses, understood what she was saying, and found it irrefutable. I sent her an email apologizing for my earlier obtusity.

    That said, both Genie and I do recognize that science is one of the strongest arguments for philosophical naturalism, and I suspect that in her case, as in mine, a pretty big reason for why we are atheists is because of our understanding of science. Still, the philosophical/methodological distinction is both philosophically valid and pragmatically useful, since it doesn’t serve the purposes of either science or education to fuel an antagonism between a small minority of atheistic scientists and 90% of the world's population (those taxpayers, on whose good will the existence of science and the stipends of most of said scientists depend).

    Jerry Coyne, however (with whom I often disagree, especially on scientific matters), does have a point that Scott and the NCSE should address: if the National Center for Science Education claims neutrality with respect to the relationship between science and religion, then why — as Coyne observes — do they list on their web site (under “recommended books”) a plethora of obviously biased books on the subject?

    Why does the NCSE feel ok to endorse the vacuous writings (as it pertains to the alleged compatibility between science and religion) by pro-religion scientists like Francis Collins, Ken Miller, and Simon Conway Morris, to name a few? Either these books should be ignored, or the NCSE should also recommend the (equally questionable) works of Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris and so on. Either science can neither prove or disprove gods, or it can, the philosophical/methodological distinction cuts both ways. Genie, what’s up?

    Now back to Dawkins. As we have seen, he claims that we would be better off being on the offensive against religionists, because we’ve got the evidence. Oh yes, and because Christopher Hitchens is a better rhetorician than Ann Coulter (though he doesn’t look half as good, unfortunately). The latter is certainly true, but to pick on Coulter is to stack the deck much too obviously on one’s side. The real problem is that, pace Dawkins, evidence has nothing to do with it, because this isn’t a scientific debate. Look, even the most outrageous version of young earth creationism cannot be scientifically falsified.

    Wanna try? Consider the following: if there is any obvious evidence of the fact that evolution has occurred, it ought to be the impressive and worldwide consistent fossil record. Moreover, using the geological column as a way to date events during the history of the earth predates Darwin (i.e., it was invented by creationists), and we keep discovering new intermediate fossils further documenting evolution every year.

    But a staunch creationist will argue (I know this from personal experience) that god simply orchestrated the whole appearance of fossils and intermediate forms to test our faith. As stunning and nonsensical as this “theory” may be, it makes the creationist completely and utterly impervious to evidence: the more evidence you bring up, the more he feels validated in his faith, because faith is belief regardless or despite the evidence. Now Dawkins will say that these people are irrational ignoramuses, and they certainly are. But that misses the point entirely: the lowly creationist has just given the mighty evolutionist a humbling (if unconscious) lesson in philosophy by showing that evidence simply does not enter the debate. If evidence is out, then we are left with sheer rhetorical force.

    But there too, atheists are easily outmatched: Coulter notwithstanding, there are armies of professionally trained preachers out there who will trump Hitchens — in the eyes of their constituencies at least — even when the latter is perfectly sober. And the important keyword here is “constituency,” since these are the very same people that turn around and elect a creationist board of education, causing endless headaches to Scott and collaborators, headaches that are not in the least helped by Dawkins-style posturing.

    And really, look at Dawkins’ prescription here. According to him we should be even more “contemptuous” than the religious fanatics are; we should “really hurt” with our “sharp barbs”; we “can’t lose” because truth is clearly on our side. One almost gets the feeling that if Dawkins had the resources of the Inquisition at his disposal he might just use them in the name of scientific Truth (a philosophical oxymoron, by the way). Thanks for the public relations disaster, Dick!

    What are we to do, then? First, learning some good philosophy wouldn’t hurt the likes of Dawkins a bit. That way they would finally appreciate that Genie’s position is not just a matter of pragmatism, and it has nothing to do with intellectual cowardice. Second, and more importantly, we really need to turn to psychology and sociology, the sciences that tell us how and when people change their minds. If we want a cultural change, we need to understand how cultures change.

    And by the way, let us remember that scientists are most certainly not immune to the same problem of walking around with a mind a bit less open than one would hope.

    Dawkins may like to think that science is about free inquiry that inevitably leads to people accepting new discoveries and renouncing old ideas based on the weight of evidence and rationality. If so, he hasn’t practiced science in a while (indeed, he hasn’t). As physicist Max Plank aptly said: “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.”

    Analogously with creationism: changing minds is a painstaking, largely unrewarding, capillary job, which the National Center for Science Education does superbly. Dawkins&company should simply get out of the way and let them do their work.

    [Note: I became aware of this latest much ado about nothing debate through a fairly well balanced post by Paul Fidalgo at the DC Secularism Examiner, where you will find additional quotations from the various parties involved.]

    Comments

    logicman
    If Richard Dawkins wants to declare himself an agnostic, no problem.  But by declaring himself an atheist he professes a belief - a belief that there is no such thing as God.  To then take that belief as a form of 'gospel truth' and to try to foist it on others as an unquestionable truth is pretentious precocious proselytisation - and it ain't science, not by a long chalk.

    For thousands of years people have related personal experiences tending to show that there is something 'other' that many people call God.  It is in the very nature of philosophical, scientific and legal truth that it is impossible to prove a negative.  Accordingly, the atheist is in a weaker logical position than the believer.  There is plenty of evidence, albeit circumstantial and anecdotal, in favour of a belief in God, none whatsoever in proof of atheism.  An imbalance like that has convicted many a felon in our courts of law.

    Dawkins should stick to science.  For all that his scientific theories are controversial, they do stimulate debate, and hence progress.   There is no progress whatsoever to be made by scientists against creationists.  We may argue until the proverbial event happens, but the creationists will insist that the cows only came home because God made them that way. 

    By gunning for creationists from a platform of his personal and scientifically unfounded  belief, Dawkins lays himself wide open to a very British form of counter-argument from the creationist:

    "Hello pot, my name's kettle."
    Patrick Lockerby wrote: "If Richard Dawkins wants to declare himself an agnostic, no problem. But by declaring himself an atheist he professes a belief - a belief that there is no such thing as God."

    This is the first of many errors in your post. First, atheism is not the belief that there is no such thing as god(s). Atheism is the lack of belief in god(s). This is a crucial distinction which renders the term meaningful (for starters) and would reveal to you the consequent fact that agnosticism and atheism are not mutually exclusive and can occupy the same brain. To put it plainly: every atheist is agnostic with respect to some gods (ie, simple lack of belief), and more dismissive of other gods (ie, positive disbelief). Anyone who is not a theist (ie, belief in at least one god) is an atheist: all self-proclaimed "Agnostics" included. Remember: atheism = lack of belief in god(s). If you lack belief in god(s), you are atheist. It's pretty simple.

    Everything else in your post which hinges on this misunderstanding of both atheism and agnosticism is therefore meaningless.

    Your characterization of 'evidence' is also wanting. The quality of evidence, the context of the evidence, and the coherence of the terms, all matter a lot. First the evidence: if you approach your argument with the understanding that most humans who have ever lived believed the earth to be flat or disc-like, and believed disease to be caused by demons, then you wouldn't make such a paltry argument for quantity of evidence. A large testimonium of very bad evidence is still very bad evidence.

    Second, the coherence of terms: if "god" has a single, meaningful definition, I beg you to point it out. But rather than waiting another 7000+ years for you to do so, I'll suggest you direct that same wide-angle lens on the human sphere, and realize that the term "god" has always, almost without exception, referred to anthropomorphized natural phenomena, or to human mores personified. That is all: weather, disease, and death; plus virtues and vices and miscellaneous powers. One of the (eventually) obvious results of the post-enlightenment age is that our philosophy and science are, collectively, much better and more refined than those of our ancestors. We relegate most of our metaphors and legends to literature nowdays, because we have much better means of depicting the real world.

    In conclusion, the modern scientific and philosophical debate regarding god beliefs is quite one-sided, but on the side of non-belief. No doubt your mistaken assessment of where the debate stands stems from your misunderstanding of all the fundamental concepts, which I hope I have briefly clarified in this reply. The Dawkins camp and the accommodationist camp are simply at odds over the social element and its broader impact on the future of science research and education, not about how tenable atheism is as a philosophical position, versus theism. That 'debate' was won millennia ago, and most of the noise today is rooted in equal parts ennui and ignorance. Whether that ruckus should be met with cooing appeasement or jeering ridicule is the issue.

    ...
    And to address the crux of the article, about god-beliefs being beyond the reach of scientific principles and methods because they lie comfortably in the realm of philosophy: nonsense. For almost all theists, god-belief is not pure philosophy, and would be unacceptable as such. It has to touch lives, it has to impact every essential medium accessible to us, and it overtly bridges the distance to our (physical) world. The young earth creationist who makes claims about the age of the universe and the suspicious origins of fossils, is using a language and set of methods that overlap with those adopted by scientific inquiry. To that, the creationist simply adds a bit of nonsense. Unless we suspect that it might not be nonsense, unless we are not as sure that it is nonsense as we are about anything at all - then we either say it is, or we don't. To imply that we have no grounds to call it nonsense is patently ridiculous. If someone were to claim that the island of New Guinea is in fact a three-headed gerbil, we either call that nonsense, or we don't. But we don't pretend to be confused about it, and we don't imply that 'well, he might have a point'.

    The issue is purely one of public relations, and absolutely nothing beyond that.

    logicman
    Atr:  I am most grateful to you for explaining to me the meaning of the term 'atheism'.  I had always thought it to mean 'a' = no + 'theos' = god, together with 'ism', a belief system.  I had assumed that Richard Dawkins had a strong belief that there is no such thing as a god or gods.  I based this on my observation that all atheists of my acquaintance insist that there is no god, as against the agnostics who simply declare their ignorance of the matter and agree that my religious beliefs are no concern of theirs.   Also, there is the not entirely irrelevant matter of Dawkins' public profession of a belief that there is no such thing as a god.

    Richard Dawkins has publicly attacked all scientists who profess religious beliefs.  He is as much an agendist as any talibanana who demands that every person on Earth should be forced to believe in a god at gunpoint.  The oppression of belief whether by theist or atheist is an attack on a fundamental human freedom.

    Religion is a matter of personal choice. When a science writer chooses to write a book about his personal beliefs it should not be promoted by him, or by anybody else, as science.

    It may please you to believe that my personal view of religion is derived from a platform of ignorance.  Does it help you to know that I have made a linguistic study of the Bible, the Quran, the Gilgamesh flood myth and many other such writings?  Is it still ignorant of me to believe that there is more to this thing called life than my purely mechanistic interaction with the universe?

    There are three possible belief systems related to religion: the agnostic professes no belief either way; the theist believes in one or more gods; the atheist believes that there is no such thing as a god or gods.

    For as long as all three allow others to hold contrary views there is no problem.  Richard Dawkins is not satisfied with that arrangement.  He wants to intrude his religious belief into the realms of science. Note: the 'thei' element of 'atheist' implies 'of or pertaining to a god or gods', hence it is a word from the terms of art of religion.

    In conclusion - a term which implies finality of argument rather than penultimate location of a paragraph - the issue is not one of public relations.  The issue is one of fundamental human rights - the right of any person to have full access to all arenas of human endeavour regardless of their religion or lack of it.  The militant atheist, creationist, scientologist and talibanana are all against freedom of expression, freedom of speech and freedom of religion.  To use an expression from the annals of chivalry - for as long as I draw breath I will not lay down my sword against them.
    Atheist is a person who thinks that theory of god is one of many, and this theory has not any proofs. Atheist can't say that god dosnt exist, or that Perun doesnt exist. It's impossible to demonstrate. He just dont believe in god or Perun.

    Nevertheless there is a third type of "atheist", who actually are a strong believers in non-existence of god or Perun. IMHO, this people are just another type of the faithful.

    Agnostics just "don't know and don't care".

    P.S. Sorry for my english. Lack of education... :)

    Hank
    Why does the NCSE feel ok to endorse the vacuous writings (as it pertains to the alleged compatibility between science and religion) by pro-religion scientists like Francis Collins, Ken Miller, and Simon Conway Morris, to name a few? Either these books should be ignored, or the NCSE should also recommend the (equally questionable) works of Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris and so on. Either science can neither prove or disprove gods, or it can, the philosophical/methodological distinction cuts both ways. Genie, what’s up?
    I don't think it's out of sync with the mission of NCSE at all.    Genie Scott and crew want to explain the world in terms of natural laws - science.   Miller and Collins, etc. simply do science but don't get militant about anti-religious framing whereas Dawkins and Hitchens have that, not science, as their goal.
    Gerhard Adam
    All this religious stuff aside .... I only have one question for the creationists


    Who created water, because according to the bible it certainly wasn't god?
    Mundus vult decipi
    Fossil Huntress


    There must be a God (or Goddess, because she does seem to have a sense of humor) because Dawkins exists. He was clearly put here for us to take great pleasure in throwing stones at... though he does come a bit dented as academia has beat us to the punch. As Patrick says, he spurs debate.

    To Gerhard's point, water was created by thirsty aliens. The pic is small but there is a frosty one clear as day on the right. And so it is written, the desire for a cold bevvie extends far across the Universe.  
    Gerhard Adam
    ... and who could possibly argue with that!

    What is impressive is that the aliens had the foresight to ensure that ice floated.  But Heidi is quite right, with such properties, it had to be aliens in search of refreshment.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Becky Jungbauer
    The Planck quote is perfect. It can apply to so many things, really. Vaccines? Autism? Autism and vaccines? Fluoride in the water supply? Things we take for granted now or fight aggressively for/against were, at some point, veritably unknown.
    rholley
    I like Simon Conway Morris's books.  One young person to whom I showed his Crucible of Creation remarked - "invertebrates - cool!"

    On the contrary, Dawkins comes across as if he has had a miserific vision (Google that phrase if you're interested).  However, I do have a bit of sympathy with Dawkins, and here's why.

    In an recent article Patrick Lockerby wrote:
    For all its beauty, the King James Bible was a deliberately inaccurate translation.  Parts which might give rise to a disaffection of the working classes were modified.  Biblical advice against misrule was toned down.  References to the rights of the congregation - the people - were subverted into the rights of the Established English Church.  Politics aside, it was a work of linguistic art.
    I haven't followed this up yet, but certainly the association between church and state in England was very strong, and is one reason why I am no fan of William Paley.  I think, therefore, that the oppressive nature of the Englsih Religious Education may well have provided a fertile soil for the demons which seem to infest Dawkins.

    I do not say this lightly: the Jewish religious authorities working as a puppet government of the Romans in the time of the Pharisees and Sadducees may possibly account for why there were so many demons around for Our Lord to cast out.

    Back to our author.  I do not know him, but the tone of his articles when he gets on to religion prompts me to put up this warning flag (apology if it is not necessary):
    Do you see a man wise in his own eyes?
    There is more hope for a fool than for him.
    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England
    Steve Davis
    Massimo has shown the lack of thought behind these attacks on creationists, but it's consistent with Dawkins' lack of thought when describing evolution. Now that he's retired it's not too hard to imagine him happily spending the rest of his days spewing nonsensical bile like this just to keep has name in the headlines.
    But isn't it great! All these stones hurled at Dawkins, and all the time I thought I was a voice in the wilderness! 
    Hank
    You, Mike White and Michael Shermer are all in the related articles (Dawkins heavy, given this post) but there are a lot more.   He's a big target and likes it - he gets to laugh to the bank.
    Steve Davis
    And a bloody big bank it is! You can't knock him for taking money from suckers, but what really hurts is when I can't get a book of his second hand and have to pay top dollar!
    Hank
    Yet I can get a 19th century copy of any of Darwin's books for $15 on Ebay.   There is something very wrong with that.
    Nicholas Horton
    Actually, maybe that's good.  With people now having less money, they may opt to buy the Darwin. 
    Much ado about nothing. Science does not 'create' life, and God 'gave' us brains that could recognize fossils and do science for a purpose. God (whatever that really is) creates 'life', and evolution is the METHOD by which God then creates species. What's the problem?

    Hank
    No problem at all, for most of us, and that's why we're here rather than on one of the militant fringes that insist science is some sort of faith test on one side or a hammer to beat on religious people on another side.
    Faith is, or should be, orthogonal to science. From my frame-of-reference, science is the means where we understand the universe that God created. Trying to use one to disprove the other is like an inhabitant of flatland trying to reach into the third dimension.

    I think that no matter what happens, people should keep in mind that when The Dawkins says 'religion' he means 'belief in a supernatural G_d'.

    Which doesn't pass the empirical evidence test.

    There are other G_ds that do.

    Whose believers have to acknowledge their role in their G_d's existence and agency.

    So, in effect, The Dawkins' 'crusade' is against those who won't take responsibility for their G_d.

    That said, I don't believe the best way to 'show' someone is to beat them down. There are too many people out there who think that 'The Truth Will Set You Free'. Including scientists. The way the message is sent is just as important as well. Acknowledging that the person one is talking with is a human being and has as much right to have beliefs as you do is very important I think.

    I am part of a United Church of Canada web site called Wondercafe, who has a whole spectrum of users, from Christian believers to evangelical atheists. In the little time it has been around, I have seen people change their beliefs. It is possible :3 But I think that they have to arrive at it themselves.

    Hank
    I think that no matter what happens, people should keep in mind that when The Dawkins says 'religion' he means 'belief in a supernatural G_d'.

    Which doesn't pass the empirical evidence test.
    If he were that rational, he would get more respect in the non-militant-atheist-kook community.    He instead chooses to call religion a form of child abuse and faith a virus.    That is not even remotely scientific, it is plain old polemic.
    Hello there, welcome to Paradise :3

    It would be especially easy for me to be negative toward Dawkins -- I'm more of a Stephen Jay Gould kind of critter (and am still enamoured of Carl Sagan -- now there's a Science Advocate).

    I make it one of my goals in life to try to avoid dogma -- especially when dealing with someone like Dawkins.

    I find Dawkins to be quite precise in his statements and that there has been a lot attributed to him that is the result of the attributor's way of thinking and opinion. This happens to any celebrity, I find. A famous writer once said that writeres gain a kind of doppelganger, who is given a whole set of attributes, goals, needs, etc that don't fit point to point with the writer. It is an interesting concept.

    In Dawkins The God Relusion (I think he should have stayed with that title instead of The God Delusion), I find him to be quite specific aboot what he means by "G_d" and "Religion".

    If anyone says any differently, that Dawkins is against All Religion or All G_ds or some such they do so at their own Authority. It is easy to give up Authority for one's own ideas and beliefs, especially knowing how we are taught to perceive the world (look up Naive Realism -- it is such a passive way of looking at reality).

    That said, I never believe that belittling, mocking, bashing some group only works in the way that it heightens the mocker's ego. I find Dawkins' humour to be quite British (dry), but I would, if I were him, be concentrating on his great gift: his ability to be an Advocate for Science.

    And, y'know, we all have our Authorities that we cherish, those people/ideas/things where we get our truth from. My big one on religion is from William James' The Varieties of Religious Experience. I wish I had been alive to have listened to William James. Now THERE was a thinker.

    Why are the religious exempt from parsimony requirements? Sure you can't disprove God's existence, but you can note that there is no evidence in favor of it. This column seems to rehash the same tired anti-Dawkins arguments: the most egregiously wrong one being the implication that science and religion are nonoverlapping domains. Religious claims stripped of cultural connotations are no different from any other claim that lacks evidence in its favor. Science is not restricted from examining any claim, even religious ones. God is not a philosophical abstraction. Some claim God exists and has certain qualities. Science has yet to find a single shred of evidence for any of it, just as it hasn't for lots of other entities people have claimed existed.

    The second anti-Dawkins cliche is that he's just too mean, so why won't he shut up. You're probably correct that browbeating the faithful with appeals to evidence is often futile since their standard of evidence is completely alien to that of science. And I doubt Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris's books are read by anyone not already somewhat sympathetic to their ideas. But these are just three books--wildly popular. Books are published about less interesting subjects every day. Surely some people take something valuable away from them, which is all you can expect of any book. Dawkins has evidence and logic (not to mention a beautiful prose style) on his side. His rhetoric and writing certainly isn't going to make anybody more religious, and the fierceness that singles him out as one of the world's best (and only) evangelicals for atheism may provide intellectual coherence to young people who are trying to work through these ideas in their minds. I for one was much comforted by coherent rhetoric and writing that helped me to confirm and appreciate my atheism--I have no one to thank more than Dawkins for providing clarity on this subject in my formative years.

    Well, people like Dawkins (and Gould and Sagan and Eckhart and and and) are trying to carry on the tradition that is in the Bible itself: to stop giving Authority to forces outside yourself (which is what belief in a supernatural G_d does).

    And I find NOMA to be a gentleman's agreement. Einstein's warning: "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." One goes, "Hey, how does this work?" while the other goes "How should we use this?"

    And I don't mean the specific definition of religion that Dawkins uses. I mean religion in the William James' sense.

    Any G_d that people believe in, the believers will have to take responsibility for :3

    I find it odd that Dawkins, as an evolutionary biologist, spends so much time pointing out the quaint absurdities that permeate so much of religion. He seems to be missing the much more important and interesting aspect: why does religion thrive so much? What selection advantages does religion provide? There have been anthropologists and others who have actively explored these themes but Dawkins passes them by. I suggest that if he focused on those aspects of religion he would markedly reduce the negative reactions to this views and so not be preaching to the choir so much(and he loves his choir!). By focusing on those positive aspects of religion it may even more markedly enlighten people as to why religion persists.

    Aitch
    Sorry, did I misunderstand something? I always thought Dawkins was about making money from books, after dinner speeches, and sabre rattling in general, as long as it boosted Dawkins' profile in the world.....and made people think he knows more than any God anyone may believe in Perhaps I am tainted by a background in Ego gathered whilst in 'Rock God' world of the music industry? LOL Aitch
    Its unfortunate that the religion that gave birth to modern science is now looked upon with contempt and disgust. Christianity made the modern world possible. Its important to remember that scientists discover how things work. The concepts existed long before man discovered how to use them. Darwin would not want to be defied as many atheists have now done to him. Darwin's wife was in fact a Christian and I believe a powerful influence on him. I don't know what Darwin said on his deathbed but I doubt he died an atheist.

    Gerhard Adam
    Once again, this is simply some anecdotal nonsense that has no historical basis in fact.  Why is it that christians want to claim credit for the "birth of modern science" and yet, they are the singular group that has resisted its findings and continue to do so?

    The sentiment expressed here is another simplistic rendering of scientific history as if nothing of substance would've occurred without the church or religion.  Regardless of whatever someone believes, science can legitimately claim its progress as the direct result of human activity and nothing more.  To attempt to detract from that perspective is simply some type of perverse revisionism.
    Mundus vult decipi
    all I needed to know was that the age that religion held sway over Europe was called the Dark Ages, and it was the enlightenment - or science, that pulled us out of the dark of religion.

    science is about life and nature - religion is about death and supernatural.

    I chose life and nature to focus my short life span on - and the morbid beleifs that treat life as a dress rehearsal for your enternal or meaningful existance afterwards is what's driving all the conflict between people, fighting over who is right about death! instead of working to make the life that we know that we have the best it can be for the most number of people possible.