Russell Blackford on science organizations and the compatibility issue

April 25, 2009 • 5:38 am

Over at his blog Metamagician and the Hellfire Club, Russell Blackford has a nice post about the inappropriateness of scientific organizations taking a stand on what religions are compatible with evolution:

. . . . . .But what if I’m wrong about this? Perhaps there are Christian (or Jewish, or Islamic) philosophers who can answer the point I’m making. Well, fine. But even if there are, official organisations representing science don’t – or shouldn’t – get to adjudicate between them and me. This is a highly contentious issue that falls outside the expertise of such bodies. In any event, individual scientists are entitled to have views on such philosophical issues, and it’s clear that many scientists take positions much like mine. Those scientists have every right to be angry that their official organisations – organisations that are supposed to be representing them – are taking a stand on the issue. . .

Science organisations should stick to the point that certain findings are the result of systematic, rational investigation of the world, supported overwhelmingly by several lines of converging evidence. In putting that case, they can be “religion blind”; they should present the evidence for the scientific picture, but that’s as far as they should go. They should not comment on what specific theological positions are or are not compatible with science. Leave that to the squabblings of philosophers and theologians, and, indeed, of individual scientists or other citizens. We can think and argue about it for ourselves.

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