Monday, May 17, 2010

Science and Religion, the debate goes on…

Last week I posted links to two recent science and religion pieces:  Mano Singham on "The New War Between Science and Religion," and David B. Hart on the New Atheism, with a posting titled "Believe It or Not."  I asked Glenn Sauer, Associate Professor of Biology at Fairfield University, if he would comment.  He writes…

I have read the Mingham piece and it brought me back to a thought I had during the John Haught-Christopher Hitchens debate that was hosted by Fairfield University a few weeks ago.  

At one point Christopher Hitchens, one of the standard bearers for the "new atheists" (though I gather, from Mingham, that they don't like being called this), was marveling about the wonders of the universe.    He stated that it is virtually certain that we know far less than 1% of all there is to know about the universe in which we live. There are very few scientists (or others), myself included, that would argue this point.
Moments later, however, Hitchens, who is willing to admit ignorance of 99% of all things, went on to state with 100% certainty that all religions are false and that God does not exist. 

So who is being closed minded here?  

From Mingham's criticism of "accommodationists" it is appears that this close-minded view of religion is sadly quite common in the scientific community.  

Unfortunately, in seeking scientific explanations for reality, the good intentions that scientists such as Mingham have, are betrayed by the arrogant view that their conception of reality is the only one that is valid.  Is this arrogance any different than that of the religious ideologues who make similar, equally self-indulgent, "truth claims”?   

 I only wish that the academic and larger communities would see the "new atheists" for who they are so that we can move past this tedious "war between science and religion" discussion.   Why should we accommodate the views of the "new atheists" when they are apparently not willing to accommodate any views but their own?