Conor Friedersdorf at the Atlantic promotes the “compatibility of science and faith” by finding religious people who like science

April 6, 2023 • 9:15 am

This article in the Atlantic isn’t really written by staff writer Conor Friedersdorf, who’s published some good things in the magazine, but is a series of readers’ answers to a question he posed earlier. But it does serve to tout religion and faith, and to promote false claims that science and religion are compatible become some religious people are science fans. (I went after this misunderstanding in Faith Versus Fact.)

Friedersdorf’s into to the piece below:

This is an edition of Up for Debate, a newsletter by Conor Friedersdorf. On Wednesdays, he rounds up timely conversations and solicits reader responses to one thought-provoking question. Later, he publishes some thoughtful replies. Sign up for the newsletter here.

Last week I quoted the late astronomer and astrophysicist Carl Sagan on humanity’s place in the cosmos, and asked readers for their thoughts on outer space.

And here is the question he asked his readers:

This week, five planets are aligning in the night sky: Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Uranus, and Mars will all be visible just after sunset, alongside the moon. I’d like to take this cosmic occasion to ask: What role has outer space played in your life, your worldview, or your imagination?

Or: How, if at all, should we keep exploring it?

He then quotes Carl Sagan:

In Cosmos, the astronomer and astrophysicist did his best to give readers a sense of the unfathomable:

No planet or star or galaxy can be typical, because the Cosmos is mostly empty. The only typical place is within the vast, cold, universal vacuum, the everlasting night of intergalactic space, a place so strange and desolate that, by comparison, planets and stars and galaxies seem achingly rare and lovely. If we were randomly inserted into the Cosmos, the chance that we would find ourselves on or near a planet would be less than one in a billion trillion trillion … Worlds are precious.

In Pale Blue Dot, he writes:

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.

In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.

Maybe we humans ought to spend more time in dark places gazing up at the night sky.

And of course he was inundates with answers about the effect of the planetary alignment—and space exploration itself—on readers’ worldviews.  Surprisingly some readers responded with thoughts about God, or perhaps Friedersdorf selected answer that mention God. Regardless, I think that it’s misleading to couch the answers as showing “The Surprising Compatibility of Science and Faith.”  All it really shows is that people can believe in God and also evince wonder at the universe at the same time, or that science-friendly people can be religious. This of course gives the impression that the readers’ answer buttress some kind of comity between science and faith.   To my mind, that’s not compatibility but cognitive dissonance, as I argue in Faith versus Fact, for science is the very antithesis of faith. But I’ll give a few excerpts of reader’s responses and then reprise my thoughts at the end.

Click to read:

Ben, a man of faith and science, reflects on the biggest and smallest questions:

To explain how I feel about outer space and how it shapes my worldview, I have to start with one of my favorite Bible verses: “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour” (Psalm 8:3-5, KJV).

. . .  believe that understanding the laws and behavior of the universe is one of the few times we can directly observe God’s handiwork. Indeed, looking up at the night sky, I see that humanity is “crowned with glory and honour.”


Glenn was a pastor in Houston near NASA’s Johnson Space Center:

About 75 percent of our church worked in the aerospace industry. It was an interesting experience leading triple-redundancy NASA engineers to “live and walk by faith.”

. . . We have been told that science and faith are incompatible. In fact, there is a vibrant faith community in and around NASA doing the hard work of science. I was having lunch with an astronaut a few weeks after his return from the International Space Station. “You know, I looked out into the void of space,” he said, “and it was black, white, cold, and lonely. And then I looked down at Earth and it was bright green and blue with swirls of white—warm, inviting, and interesting. I decided if I could choose to be any place in the universe, it would be right there on Earth.”


Robert raises the old canard that science takes the awe, wonder, and beauty out of the universe.  Bolding is mine.

Robert, a graduate student in philosophy, harkened back to the ancients:

Like Aristotle, when I was very young, I thought the planets and stars in the sky were something like gods. I don’t think this anymore, of course. Nevertheless, they are in some sense above and beyond us, endowed with a sort of beauty we ourselves are incapable of manufacturing. I simply do not know how someone can gaze at the images from, for instance, the James Webb Space Telescope and think otherwise. Even without technology, there is something marvelous about gazing into the sky and noticing just how much is out there. Thousands of stars, five planets, and even our own galaxy are visible from Earth with the naked eye. Light pollution has crowded out quite a bit of this. But even just a few stars, or a few planets, is enough to see the vastness of it all.

Still, despite the enormous powers of these celestial spheres, they cannot appreciate their own beauty. Humans alone are known to be capable of appreciating the universe in this way. This has always made me ascribe special status to humans, and to think that human concerns are of special importance. I don’t take this to be inconsistent with the scale of it all, but rather a result of it. If we aren’t here anymore, the all the beauty in the universe won’t mean anything to anyone. So something of enormous value would be lost.

I worry that, for all the good that scientific advancements have done for us in understanding space, we’re starting to see the universe as nothing more than a collection of big rocks and balls of gas; these days, the planets and the stars, particularly the moon and Mars, tend to be objects of escapist fantasies more than objects of wonder.

This is a mistake, even for those who think the future of humanity may be space colonization. The beauty of the universe cannot be captured by an exhaustive description of its mechanics or of its utility to us. To think this, rather than appreciating the literally otherworldly nature of outer space, is, I think, the wrong kind of anthropocentrism. The majesty of the heavens has inspired joy, wonder, and creativity in human minds for as long as we have existed, and their beauty is divine. So, I figure, why not let myself think, along with Aristotle, that, even if not literally, the first people were right in thinking that the planets “are gods, and that the divine encloses the whole of nature”?

This view—that understanding more about the universe detracts from its wonder and beauty—was expressed early on by Walt Whitman in his poem “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer,” to wit:

When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.
This is written by a man who knew almost nothing about science (the poem was published in 1865), and so learning about the stars and planets was, to Whitman, simply boring.  But this attitude is born of ignorance, and has been eloquently attacked by people like Richard Dawkins, who say, correctly, that if you understand the biology/physics/chemistry behind what we see in nature, it makes it even more wondrous. I cannot understand how anyone can think otherwise!  When you know that there are 400 billion stars in the Milky Way alone, and two TRILLION galaxies just in the observable universe (and many more beyond), and learn how those stars came to be, and how the universe is expanding and is full of black holes that suck everything into them, including light, and that there’s a lot of dark matter out there that we don’t understand—how can these things not add to your appreciation of what you see?


This attitude is related to scientism, a pejorative word meant to apply to the view that science encompasses everything we need to know about reality.  And, in fact, it does, but so far it’s been unable—and maybe always will be—to explain the feeling of awe (“spirituality,” if you will) that comes with moments like looking at the night sky. But how does knowing what you’re really seeing detract from its wonder in interest? It’s that attitude that baffles me.  How much more interesting nature becomes when you understand that it’s the product of a naturalistic process—evolution, often via natural selection!

At any rate, I can’t see any purpose to this article except to tout God, do down science, claim that science detracts from wonder at the same time that it claims that science and religion are compatible? No, science and religion are incompatible, mainly because religious understanding and its truth claims are based on faith, while science’s truth claims are based on empirical evidence. The presence of religious people who like science no more proves that science and religion are compatible than observing sports fans who like science proves that science and baseball are compatible.

Dawkins has explained the fallacy of this view, but maybe it’s time to explain it to people again.

The New York Times touts a fake amity between science and religion

March 23, 2023 • 9:15 am

I’m posting this new NYT article not because it shows that Jesuits are engaged in science, which is well known (there’s an observatory in the Vatican), but because of “lesson” the paper draws from this fact, a lesson outlined by me in red in the subheadline below. Jesuit astronomers show that science and religion are pals!

But of course nobody doubts that religious people, even priests, can do science or love science, and nobody doubts that scientists can be religious.  The real conflict between religion and science lies in their both asserting certain truths about the universe, but with only science having a way to determine which “truths” are really true. (If religion had a way of determining what was true, there would not be lots of religions making conflicting claims.)

Anyway, click to read:

The take-home lesson of the article is that a few asteroids have been named for Jesuit astronomers, and that’s all she wrote. A couple of excerpts:

Centuries after the Holy See muzzled and burned Roman Catholic stargazers for questioning the centrality of the Earth in the cosmos, Jesuit astronomers from the Vatican’s in-house observatory are increasingly writing their names in the heavens.

The Vatican, run by Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pope in history, recently announced that three more Jesuit scientists from its Jesuit-run observatory had asteroids named after them as part of a fresh batch that included the 16th-century pope who commissioned the Gregorian calendar and a Tuscan pastry chef whose hobby is the firmament.

Jesuits, while not quite yet as numerous as the stars, have had more than 30 asteroids assigned to them since the space rocks began to be formally named in 1801. That “should not be surprising, given the often scientific nature of this community,” said the astronomer Don Yeomans, who worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and is now part of the group that gives official approval for the names given to asteroids.

This fact is taken as evidence that science and religion are not at odds:

The history of the observatory, which has been staffed by Jesuits since the 1930s, is a rebuttal to the notion that the Roman Catholic Church has always sought to stand in the way of scientific advancement, an idea perpetuated by high-profile cases like those of Galileo and Giordano Bruno at the hands of the Inquisition during the Renaissance.

“There are institutions like the Pontifical Academy of Science that tell the Vatican what’s going on in the world of science, but we actually do the science,” said Brother Guy Consolmagno, an asteroid honoree (4597 Consolmagno) and director of the observatory, whose website tagline is “faith inspiring science.” In a 2017 interview with The New York Times, Brother Consolmagno said that part of the mission of the observatory was “to show the world that the church supports science.”

It’s telling that a former director of the observatory, the Jesuit astrophysicist Rev. George V. Coyne, who died in 2020, played a significant role in getting the Vatican to shift position and formally acknowledge in 1992 that Galileo might have been correct.

No, George Coyne is no relation! Note, though, that it was only in 1992 that the Vatican finally acknowledged that it treated Galileo badly: 350 years after the fact! If Catholicism were so down with science, why did it take more than three centuries for them to admit that they shouldn’t have condemned Galileo to house arrest for suggesting that the Sun doesn’t orbit the Earth?

The rest of the story is about how the asteroids were named, what rules are used to name them, and a bit about the three honored Jesuit astronomers.

As I said, if your view of the harmony between religion and science is that scientists can be religious or religious people can be scientists, then I’ll agree with you. Priests can even propose testable scientific theories: the Catholic priest Georges Lemaître (1894-1966) proposed early on that the universe was expanding and had originated in an event at a single point, now known as “The Big Bang”.

But when those astronomers walk to their telescope, they’re not using faith to find cosmic bodies, even though their search may be inspired by faith. They leave their religion at the observatory door.

And that’s the argument I make in Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion are Incompatible, available in fine bookstores anywhere, with the hardcover now only twelve bucks on Amazon.  Religion and science both make claims about what’s true in the universe, but the set of tools each “magisterium” uses to discern truth are different. Science uses reason, testability, doubt, empirical research, replication, predictions, and so on. Religion has three tools only: scripture, authority and faith.  Those three are incapable of discerning truth, which is why every religion has a different set of truths that are often incompatible.  For example, Jesus is God/the son of God in Christianity, but he’s only a prophet to Jews and Muslims.

By the way, the claim that religion makes no truth claims was part of Steve Gould’s “non-overlapping magisteria” (NOMA) idea: that the domain of religion is determining and enforcing morality, and the domain of science is empirical truth. Gould said that these domains did not overlap. He was wrong (see my critique here).

So if you think that Catholicism and religion are not at odds, ask a pious Catholic these questions, or related ones:

    1. Is there a God? If so, what is His nature?
    2. Was Jesus the son of God who was sent to earth to be resurrected, thereby giving us all a shot at salvation?
    3. Is there a heaven where we will go if we are good?
    4. Do we have souls? If so, what do they consist of?
    5. Was Jesus born of a virgin?
    6. In what way do wafers and wine literally become the body and blood of Jesus during the Eucharist?
    7. If you don’t confess your sins to a priest, will bad things happen to you after you die?

These are truth claims, some of them foundational for Catholicism, and there are many more.

(I know someone is going to point out that Jesuits may not believe in any of this stuff, but surely many of them do. If they said they didn’t, they’d be excommunicated.)

You get my drift: these involve truth claims of Catholicism, and those of a scientific mindset have no confidence in them because there’s no evidence for any of them. Thus the very same astronomers who peer through the Vatican’s telescope will go to Mass on Sunday, eat their wafers, go to confession, and accept the fact that Jesus was killed but came back to life, offering us salvation.  THAT is a conflict! For all of the questions and assertions above, the difference between science and religion rests on following up each “truth claim” with this question:  HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT? Science can give you a convincing answer; religion can’t.

My only question is why this article is using the naming of asteroids to show that religion and science are buddies. Lately the New York Times has been very soft on religion (viz., the mawkish Sunday columns of Anglican priest Tish Harrison Warren). Just once I’d like them to have a column by an atheist, or to consult with atheists when writing palaver like the column above.

Sunday Times gives a lukewarm review to an accommodationist book

March 12, 2023 • 11:15 am

The only reason to write books about reconciling science and religion—as opposed to, say, reconciling sports and religion or business and religion—is if the two fields conflict in some way, and thus require reconciliation. After all, if  religion were purely philosophical, lacking any empirical claims, there would be no need to reconcile science and religion, for science is not philosophy.

As I argued in Faith Versus Fact, the never-ending attempts to reconcile science and religion come precisely because they are in conflict—in conflict about what is true in the universe and about how to ascertain those truths. Science has a toolkit for (provisionally) ascertaining what’s true in the universe: a toolkit including observation, replication, doubt, testability, prediction, and so on.

Religion’s toolkit includes three things: authority, revelation, and scripture, none of which is a reliable guide to the universe.  If these were reliable, all religions would converge on the same truth claims. Jesus would be either a prophet, as he is in Islam, or the son of God/God, as he is in Christianity. Jesus would have visited America, as the Mormons claim, or not (as Christians believe.). I could go on, but of course as author, I recommend reading my book (for a cheaper take on my thesis, read the archived version of my 2010 USA Today column, “Science and religion aren’t friends.” (I’m still amazed I got that published.)

Though I claim that my book killed off any reconciliation between science and religion, the attempt won’t lie down. That’s because, except for fundamentalists, religious people, along with nonbelieving “faitheists” who think religion is false but still necessary for society, don’t want to think that their own religious delusions make them unfriendly to modern science, which WORKS. You’re not a credible human if you think science isn’t the best way to find out empirical truths.

Yet, the attempts continue, spurred on by philosophers like Ronald Numbers who argue that conflicts between science and religion are only apparent but not real. The Scopes Trial, or the saga of Galileo versus the Church weren’t really about science/religion conflicts, but were merely the results of sociological or political differences.

They’re partly right, but mostly wrong. Tennessee’s Butler Act, which forbad the teaching of human evolution (but not evolution of other species) was not about politics, but about the fact that the new theory of evolution directly conflicted with the accounts given in Genesis I and II.

And so accommodationism returns in this new book by Nicholas Spencer, an author described on Amazon as:

Senior Fellow at Theos, a Fellow of International Society for Science and Religion and a Visiting Research Fellow at Goldsmiths, University of London

Theos is a pro-religion think tank in London founded by “the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and the then Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor.” As Wikipedia notes, it ” maintains an ecumenical position.” That is, it’s pro-Christian.

Here’s Spencer’s book (click to preorder), which I haven’t read as it won’t be out in the U.S. until May 23. I’ll simply highlight today’s Sunday Times of London review.

The review of Spencer’s book by James McConnachie can be reached by clicking on the headline below; but for nearly everyone it’s paywalled. Fortunately, you can find it archived for free here.

Apparently Spencer doesn’t accept Steve Gould’s position that science and religion occupy distinct and non-overlapping magisteria (a false claim advanced in his book Rocks of Ages, which I heavily criticized in a TLS review you can see here). No, Spencer thinks it’s more complicated than that, but whatever their relationship is, it’s not antagonistic. (Indeed, in some trivial senses they aren’t antagonistic, as in the observation that there are religious scientists, one that Spencer apparently makes much of. Quotes from McConnachie’s review are indented:

For Spencer, [Buzz] Aldrin stands in a long line of scientists and scientific icons whose thought and work have been inspired and shaped by their religious convictions. Through history the “magisteria”, or realms, of science and religion have not been antagonistic, he argues, still less non-overlapping, but rather “indistinct, sprawling, untidy, and endlessly and fascinatingly entangled”.

Spencer has covered some of this ground before in sophisticated and readable histories of Darwin and religion, atheism and the centrality of Christianity to western thought. This book, though, is surely his magnum opus. It is astonishingly wide-ranging — there is a whiff of the encyclopaedia about it — and richly informed.

. . . From here on the narrative of a clash between science and religion is weighed, and found wanting. Medieval Christians, Spencer argues, responded to Greek science — transmitted through the “fragile brilliance” of medieval Islamic science — with enthusiasm. They used astronomical observation to prove what the Bible told them: that “the heavens declare the glory of God”.

Renaissance astronomers thought something similar. Even Galileo — much-championed by anticlerical types — “was no sceptic, let alone a heretic”. (And he probably didn’t mutter “And yet it moves” shortly after vowing in front of the Inquisition that the Earth was at the centre of the universe.)

The touchstone about whether one can see this history objectively is whether they admit that yes, the clash between Galileo and the church was largely about observation conflicting with religion. McConnachie continues:

“If the marriage of science and religion was harmonious across much of Europe in the Enlightenment,” Spencer writes, “it was positively blissful in England.” He traces a line of devout English theorists and experimenters from the “fiercely religious” Isaac Newton — a man more interested in theology than physics — through to a suite of English “clerical naturalists”.

This lineage culminated in Charles Darwin, who had started training for ordination as a younger man and lived in a rectory when he was older — “lacking only the dog collar and the Christian faith” to be a clergyman, as Spencer puts it. Even the older, agnostic Darwin had his religious doubts and yearnings. Spencer describes the poignant note given to him by his wife, Emma, encouraging him to leave room for faith. Underneath her words, he later wrote: “When I am dead, know that many times, I have kissed and cried over this.”
Darwin was at best a deist, and trying to claim he was conventionally religious is another touchstone of academic dishonesty.

There are so many moments like that — myths not so much busted as brought down by controlled demolition. The 1860 Oxford evolution debate, which set Darwin’s monkey-descended champions up against the scoffing bishop? By the end of the century most Christians accepted evolution.

If you know about the Oxford debates, or about the initial reaction of religious people to Darwin, you’d know that the marriage was not “blissful” at the outset. Christians accepted Darwin because they had to: the evidence was overwhelming. Yet they still held onto superstitious and antiscientific notions of Jesus, so in what sense is that a “blissful marriage”? “Cognitive dissonance” is more like it.

And of course most Christians in the U.S. do not accept evolution in the naturalistic sense. A 2019 Gallup poll showed that of all surveyed Americans, 40% believe God created humans in their present form, another 33% think that humans evolved but that the evolution was guided by God, and a mere 20% held the naturalistic view that humans evolved and God had no part in directing the process. That means that nearly 3 out of 4 Americans hold a view of human origins that contravenes science (regardless of whether God was in charge, science doesn’t show that evolution was “directed” at all).

After praising Spencer’s writing, McConnachie gets down to his overall assessment of the book:

The argument could sometimes be summed up as “it’s more complicated than that”, plus “let’s replace a narrative of conflict with one of collaboration”. It’s so reasonable. So Anglican! But then Spencer is a senior fellow at the Christian think tank Theos, which exists to challenge negative representations of religion in western countries, believing that “faith, and Christianity in particular, is a force for good in society”.

In other words, Spencer’s book is tendentious, and nothing I’ve read about it in either the Amazon summary or McConnachie’s review adds to what’s already been written by previous accommodationist authors. After all, there are only so many ways to claim that science and religion are friends.

McConnachie’s final take:

At heart, then, Magisteria is a plea for religion to remain entangled in our lives and in our science. I’m not convinced. That word from Spencer’s subtitle, “entangled”, references quantum entanglement, whereby two separate particles are mysteriously linked, so that the state of one is bound up with the other, even if they are far apart. Einstein sceptically summed this up as “spooky action at a distance”, and I feel similarly about Spencer’s view of the interaction of science and religion. The two realms overlap only if you accept the validity of religious beliefs to start with. And Spencer’s own narrative, despite himself, reveals a historical disentangling — a slow withdrawal of the spookiness from science. Whether or not you see that as a good thing depends, ultimately, whose side you are on.

It sounds to me as if McConnachie is a nonbeliever, since he appears to reject “the validity of religious beliefs.” He also recognizes that the history of the “blissful marriage” is one of inevitable divorce as science pushes God back into the corner as an ineffectual deity unable to cure children of cancer but powerful at deciding who wins football games.

I’ll close with a great paragraph on this supposedly blissful marriage written by The Great Agnostic, himself, Robert G. Ingersoll:

There is no harmony between religion and science. When science was a child, religion sought to strangle it in the cradle. Now that science has attained its youth, and superstition is in its dotage, the trembling, palsied wreck says to the athlete: “Let us be friends.” It reminds me of the bargain the cock wished to make with the horse: “Let us agree not to step on each other’s feet.”

h/t: pyers

I answer an ambiguous question: “Can scientists believe in God?

January 21, 2023 • 10:45 am

Sciglam is an online polymathic site that describes itself this way:

SciGlam is a science communication magazine intended to be a space for dialogue between three major spheres of knowledge and culture: art, science and society.

We believe that normalizing scientific conversation is essential in the pursuit of a healthier and more skeptical society.

Our mission is to inspire scientific curiosity and involvement. For this reason, we end each interview with one last question for the interviewee: if you could ask a scientist of any background a question, what would it be? The answers to these questions can be found in SciGlam Answers

I believe the site is run by young women scientists and journalists, and they wrote me last fall asking me to give a short answer to the question, “Can scientists believe in God?”  The question came from their earlier interview with bookseller S. W. Welch, in which the Q&A ended like this:

If you could ask a scientist of any background a question, what would it be?

Do scientists believe in God?

And Sciglam gives those questions to appropriate people, ergo me. I was eager to answer, not only to help out some aspiring young folks, but also because the question, being a bit ambiguous, gave me the chance to clarify a common misconception about science and religion.

That misconception is that science and religion must be compatible because there are religious scientists (and science-friendly believers). If you construe the question literally, then of course the answer is “Yes: lots of scientists are religious.” But that, to me, fails to demonstrate that science and religion are compatible—only that someone can believe in two incompatible “ways of knowing” at the same time.

And so I took the opportunity to give both the literal answer (yes) with statistics, and then go on to argue that the more meaningful answer involves the second way of construing the question—are there fundamental incompatibilities between the practice of religion and science? As you know if you’ve read my book Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion are Incompatible, you’ll know that any scientist who believes in God is embracing two incompatible practices at once, adhering to two divergent ways of apprehending what is true. (Yes, I know that religion is about more than accepting “facts” that haven’t been demonstrated, but all the Abrahamic religions are, at bottom, grounded on factual claims that could in principle be tested.)

To answer the second question I’d have to summarize the thesis of my book, and I had only a few hundred words to do that. So, if you’ll click on the screenshot below, you’ll see my answer.

There are two corrections that I asked for which haven’t been made as of this writing. The body of scientists I mention is the “National Academies of Sciences“, not the uncapitalized “national academies of science.” And the statement “Science is an atheistic enterprise: we don’t invoke gods or the supernatural to explain the world, nor do we need to” should read “Science is an a-theistic enterprise in the sense that we don’t invoke gods or the supernatural to explain the world, nor do we need to.”  I didn’t want to imply that science demands that its practitioners to adhere to atheism (creationists always claim I say that), but to say that the practice of science doesn’t involve invoking divine or supernatural explanations. I add that naturalism is not something that began as an inseparable part of science, but has been added over time because we’ve learned that invoking gods doesn’t help us understand the universe. Creationism, for example, was once a “scientific” explanation—until Darwin found a better and naturalistic explanation—and one that could be empirically teste.

But I run on; I’ve already written more here than in the short piece itself. Click below to read it, and be aware of the two small corrections.

One quote from me:

The fact that science can find truth but religion can’t is shown by the remarkable progress made by science in 300 years, while no progress has been made in theology. If there is a God, we know no more about Him than did St. Augustine.

Furthermore, there are hundreds of different religions, all making claims about what’s true, and yet many of the claims are incompatible (eg, “Was Jesus the son of God, or only a prophet?”). There’s no way to decide among these claims, since religion has no way to test them.

Actually, Augustine lived in the fifth century, so I should have said “no progress has been made in theology in 1500 years”.  But the important point is that theology is pretty much a useless enterprise, as its sweating practitioners, who actually get paid to make stuff up, have brought us no closer to understanding God or His ways—or even, of course, if God exists. Their job is simply to continuously re-interpret religious scripture and dogma so it adheres with the going morality. Theology is different from straight Biblical scholarship, which can tell us stuff about how the Bible or other scriptures came to be written and what their antecedents were. Biblical scholarship is useful as a form of historical inquiry and literary exegesis, while theology is a remnant of our childhood as a species, a vestigial belief that’s the mental equivalent of adults holding blankets and sucking their thumbs.

Take the Faraday Institute’s Science vs. Religion quiz!

December 29, 2022 • 9:15 am

Over at the Faraday Institute and the Theos think tank, there’s a 40-question quiz that I recommend readers take. It’s FUN and will provide data for their project, which apparently is to show that science and religion are compatible (notice the two names in the first sentence below, both of whom tout compatibility for a living).

While the survey is supposed to determine people’s attitudes rather than push forward a compatibilist view, given that the Faraday Institute was established by a grant from the Templeton Foundation, and that the Theos think tank was, according to Wikipedia, “launched in November 2006 with the support of the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and the then Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, and maintains an ecumenical position,” I don’t expect them to be totally objective about this.

Think of it as if Elaine Ecklund were giving a quiz and already knew how she was going to spin the data. Thus it becomes important for everybody to weigh in, especially because Theos announced it on Twitter (it’s interesting to read the followup comments to the tweet below):

Here’s the explanation of this three-year project:

. . . .Researchers in the UK (such as Fern Elsdon–Baker) and in the US (such as Elaine Howard Ecklund and John Evans) are bringing more nuance to a picture that has, heretofore, all too often been first simplified, then exaggerated, and finally militarised.

In particular, they have noticed how actual real, living human beings – in all their composite, complex, confused messiness – have been largely absent from the debate, a debate that has had much to say about evolution and cosmology and biblical literalism, but rather less about the wider personal, social, ethical, metaphysical, epistemological, and political concerns in which all such important debates take place. After all, if most of the news stories about science are not about evolution or the Big Bang, and most of the news stories about religion are not about fundamentalism or Genesis chapter 1, it seems strange that so many science and religion stories have been about evolution and Genesis.

Our project, ‘Science and religion: reframing the conversation’ takes up this challenge, building on existing work to offer a rich, new perspective on the whole science and religion issue.

Over the last three years, Theos has been working with The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, and YouGov, on an unprecedently large research project exploring science and religion in the UK. We wanted to look at science and religion afresh, and in particular as if real human beings actually existed. We wanted to explore what exactly people were disagreeing about (when they were disagreeing).

We interviewed over a hundred leading experts – scientists, philosophers, theologians, communicators, from Susan Greenfield, Sue Blackmore and Angela Saini to Brian Cox, A.C. Grayling and Adam Rutherford – and generated nearly a million words’ worth of interview transcript. We also commissioned YouGov to conduct a massive questionnaire (over 200 questions/ statements) among over 5,000 UK adult respondents, which has generated data tables that could cover a football field. The results are fascinating and rewarding.

Over the coming months we will be releasing the data. There will be blogs, reviews, podcasts, reports, on–line seminars, research papers, and (eventually) books. There will be an on–line Science and Religion Compass (a bit like the political compass), that will allow people to measure their own ‘temperature’ in this debate, as well as another brilliant animation from Theos’ Emily Downe, drawing out the key issues that underlie these

Actually, after reading that I am not sure our data will actually be used. But there’s a 40-question quiz on the relationship between science and religion that you can take in about five minutes. Click below to go to the quiz:

For each of the 40 questions (actually, statements), you have to say how strongly you agree or disagree. Here is the scale and the first five questions:

And here is where I fit on the survey results. First, the thermometer:

The science and religion ‘thermometer’ registers your temperature, i.e., how warm or how cold you think the relationship between science and religion is.

The warmer you are the more compatible you view science and religion. If you’re right at the very top – in the red zone – you see no incompatibility at all between them.

Conversely, if you’re right at the bottom – in the blue zone – you see science and religion as at war.

My temperature. No surprise here:

And where I fit in on the two-dimensional plot:

The x-axis (left to right) is about science. At the left hand extreme, lies the view that however important science is, it is certainly not sufficient. If you land at this end, you may not be a science-sceptic (indeed, you’re probably not a science sceptic) but you will be sceptical about science’s ability to explain everything. You believe the world is a complex place, and the tools of science – hypothesis, experimentation, measurement, falsification, etc. – are just one set among others – such as experience, intuition, pure reason, imagination, authority, revelation, etc. – that enable us to understand and navigate the world. In the jargon, this is sometimes known as pluralism.

. . .The y-axis (top to bottom) is about religion. At the top end lies the view that religion is, at heart, about beliefs: it’s about God, or revelation, or the supernatural, or miracles, or life after death, or doctrine, etc. It’s more about what you think than what you do. This, to use the jargon, is the substantive definition of religion, meaning that religion isn’t just a social or cultural phenomenon but has some content or substance to it.

At the bottom end lies the view that religion is, at heart, about its role in society; it is, to use the jargon, the functional definition of religion.

My position on the plot, an advocate of “scientism” (of course a pejorative term), and largely (but not entirely) of the view that religious views are founded on beliefs about the Universe, but also has sociocultural elements on top of this foundation:

I fit in with Neils Bohr; i.e. I’m a science/ religion incompatibilist (yes, you can be a religious scientist, but you’re then espousing two “ways of knowing” at the same time). I would take issue with some of the placements. For example, they’re seeing Gould as a compatibilist who thought religion was not really about beliefs—the position he espoused in Rocks of Ages—but that was his attempt to make people like him and not what he really believed (or so I think).  And why are “new atheists” given their own dot while “Evangelical Christians” are not?  Well, I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints.

And here’s my personality characterization from the quiz.

 Faith is a virus, science is the cure 

You think religion claims truth but you believe it is wrong, perhaps even dangerous. For you, the most authoritative voice and road to truth is through science. The further you are to right of the quadrant the more likely you are to believe that science is the only way to truth. And while you think that it’s possible for science and religion to live and let live, deep down you think there is an irreconcilable tension there. Ultimately, and especially if you’re at the extreme, “faith” is a virus and science is the cure. People who are in this area are likely to have a ‘cold’ temperature score.

That pretty much sums it up! Notice that I’m characterized as “cold”, another slam on incompatibilists.

Your turn: take the quiz and see how you do!

Queen Mary University professor rejects evolution and promotes the New Testament in his inaugural lecture

December 12, 2022 • 9:15 am

Here we have an hourlong talk by Richard Buggs, Senior Research Leader (Plant Health & Adaptation) at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, and Professor of Evolutionary Genomics at Queen Mary University of London. We met Dr. Buggs on this site in 2021 as “a creationist professor of evolutionary biology in England,” where he touted Intelligent Design;  I included a shorter video in which Buggs mixed his God with his science. Now he’s doing it again in his Inaugural Lecture at Queen Mary University (below).

His personal webpage gives his bona fides:

Professor Richard Buggs is an evolutionary biologist and molecular ecologist. His research group analyses DNA sequences to understand how plants, especially trees, adapt in response to climate change and new pests and pathogens. Richard has published on a variety of evolutionary processes including: natural selection, speciation, hybridisation and whole genome duplication. The birch species Betula buggsii is named after him. Richard is a Christian, and sometimes blogs on issues where biology and Christianity intersect.

He’s also author of the 2007 Guardian article below (click if you want to read):

A quote from the article:

But, whatever the limitations of Darwinism, isn’t the intelligent design alternative an “intellectual dead end”? No. If true, ID is a profound insight into the natural world and a motivator to scientific inquiry. The pioneers of modern science, who were convinced that nature is designed, consequently held that it could be understood by human intellects. This confidence helped to drive the scientific revolution. More recently, proponents of ID predicted that some “junk” DNA must have a function well before this view became mainstream among Darwinists.

But, according to Randerson, ID is not a science because “there is no evidence that could in principle disprove ID”. Remind me, what is claimed of Darwinism? If, as an explanation for organised complexity, Darwinism had a more convincing evidential basis, then many of us would give up on ID

Back to the talk. This is a very bizarre lecture. In the first half he denies the existence of branching evolutionary trees, arguing that this invalidates both Darwinism and natural selection (note: although evolution is required for such trees, natural selection is not).

To do this, he cherry-picks data in which a few independent trees, derived from both morphological and DNA data, are not concordant. But that does happen under evolution, for sometimes genes are transferred horizontally, or via hybridization, or we have “incomplete lineage sorting”, in which segregating ancestral genetic variation is distributed among descendants. Further, if you use only a few genes—and note that Buggs’s trees are based on only a few genes—you may get a “gene tree” that’s discordant with the “species tree”—the actual history of new lineage formation via splitting. Allen Orr and I discuss this discordance in the Appendix of our book Speciation. The upshot is that you don’t expect every gene to give the same tree, but if evolution and evolutionary splitting occurred, you would expect the preponderance of genes to give the same tree. And they do, save in the rare case when there’s been pervasive hybridization between groups, and the species involved are fairly closely related.

Buggs also dwells at length on the relatively sudden appearance of angiosperms, almost implying that it supports sudden creation, though he ignores the fact that monocot plants appear far earlier than angiospemrs in the fossil record, so the data don’t support the evidence of any creation. (Note: Buggs implies that the fossil record and molecular data support a religious scenario rather than an evolutionary one, but is very canny about mentioning Biblical creationism or Intelligent Design.)

Buggs’s denigration of evolutionary trees constitutes, he claims, evidence for a Designer (aka God/Jesus). AT 30:00. for example, he argues that the NON-existence of evolutionary trees supports a Designer, for if a system were designed rather than evolved, you wouldn’t expect concordant trees; you’d get “a bit of a mess”.)

At 39:38, Buggs shifts gears and tells the baffled audience (listen to the tepid applause is at the end!) that well, maybe the evolutionary “tree of life” doesn’t exist, but the BIBLICAL tree of life does! This “tree of life” stands for eternity and all the claims of Christianity, for the words “tree of life” appears in Revelation (2:7 and 22:1-3).  Here’s a summary of Buggs’s “evidence” for the Bible:

In other words, because many people believed in Christianity, and John had a revelation, Christianity must be true (his words are “we should not lightly dismiss John’s claims”).  How little it takes to convince Buggs of the New Testament’s truth, and how much it would take to convince him of evolution! (Remember, he concentrates ONLY on the existence of trees as evidence for evolution, ignoring things like development, the fossil record, biogeography, observations of natural selection in action, and all the stuff I adduce in Why Evolution is True.)

I’d urge you to at least listen to the last 20 minutes so you can see how a scientist can be so credulous that he’s persuaded that Christianity is true based on the thinnest evidence you can imagine.

Finally, BUGGS goes woke at the end, promoting “inclusion” in STEM, but he apparently does as a way to promote religion. For, as the sweating Dr. Buggs shows, Christianity is most pervasive in “countries of color”: those in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America (also the U.S., but he ignores that). His conclusion? We need to include RELIGION more in the sciences, and be nicer to believers, because that will attract more “non diverse” people into STEM. This is a very weaselly proposal for sneaking religion into the sciences!

In the end, Buggs distorts and misrepresents what science has told us, ignores the pervasive evidence for evolution besides evolutionary trees, and gives an embarrassingly thin account of “evidence” for Christianity.

Yet this man is a professor of evolutionary biology and molecular ecology! His presence at Queen Mary University of London, much less his promotion to Professor, reflects very poorly on his university. I’m not urging his dismissal, though if he were teaching this guff at a public university in America he’d be violating the First Amendment and should be told to leave the religion out of his teaching. Now it’s possible that Buggs doesn’t mention Jesus or the Bible in his classes, and that would be great. But I truly doubt that he gives a good account of the evidence for evolution, either. (After all, he accept Intelligent Design, not evolution.) That is, I suspect Buggs’s students are being shortchanged, and if that’s the case, I feel sorry for them. As for Queen Mary University, I’d merely suggest that they check if Buggs is dragging religion into his teachings.

h/t: Gerdien

More fiction and superstition fed to NYT readers

December 11, 2022 • 11:40 am

The quote below is one of the sanest things I’ve seen on Facebook lately, though I can’t remember who posted it. Dag Søras is a Norwegian comedian:

Why I bring this up is because every Sunday, like today, the New York Times pretends that God and Jesus exist, and they do so by giving op-ed space to Anglican priest Tish Harrison Warren. Every week Warren produces a page of bromides (usually along the lines of “why can’t we all love each other, even if we’re different?), all of which take for granted that her Christian beliefs are correct.

This week Reverend Warren interviews another Anglican priest who happens to be a poet, Malcolm Guite, described by Wikipedia this way:

. . . an English poet, singer-songwriter, Anglican priest, and academic. Born in Nigeria to British expatriate parents, Guite earned degrees from Cambridge and Durham universities. His research interests include the intersection of religion and the arts, and the examination of the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, and British poets such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge. He was a Bye-Fellow and chaplain of Girton College, Cambridge and associate chaplain of St Edward King and Martyr in Cambridge. On several occasions, he has taught as visiting faculty at several colleges and universities in England and North America.

It always puzzles me when somebody with brains and academic training is also deeply religious, and I’ve started seeing that as a character flaw: an inability to accept that you’re staking your life and much of your time on stuff for which there’s no evidence. That is, you’re believing in the modern equivalent of Thor and Allah. In this column—and I’ll try to be brief—we have one Anglican priest (Warren) interviewing another (Guite), and together they manage to fob off a bunch of hooey on the readers of the NYT.

Click to read:

The subject is both poetry and Advent: the month of preparation for celebrating the birth of a baby who may or may not have existed, but is thought, wrongly, to be both God and the Son of God.  Guite explains its significance. In all that follows I’ve put the hooey in bold except for Warren’s questions, which the NYT put in bold.  Excerpts are indented.

I think the first thing to understand is the wisdom that is embedded in the liturgical calendar and that way of sacralizing time. Advent is meant to be to Christmas what Lent is to Easter. It’s always been the wisdom of the church to have a fast before a feast, to have this time of holding back and restraint so that you really appreciate and understand the reasons for the joy and the feasting when it comes.

The word Advent means “arrival” or “coming.” The church saw that preparing for the coming of Christ at Christmas could also be a way of looking to that larger hope, which is the final coming of Jesus, the day when, at last, the earth will be filled with the glory of God. And in my book I said, well, I think there’s a third “coming,” a kind of continuous coming. We all experience a series of Advents. My prayer life and spirituality is very much focused on the Eucharist. So for me, every time I hold out my hands and the wafer is placed there and I receive him, that’s an advent. And in fact, that’s actually also Christmas. It’s an incarnation. He chooses the humble form of the bread as he chose the humble form of the baby to be his body.

Guite bangs on about the commercialization of Christmas and how we really have to avoid pre-Christmas parties and shopping, for it’s a time to reflect on the coming of baby Jesus.

Instead of being quieter and more reflective, then finally experiencing what G.K. Chesterton called the “submerged sunrise of wonder” at the birth of the Christ Child, we were suddenly assailed on all sides by commercial pressures.

There’s a tedious discussion of antiphons, but then Guite gets onto my territory: “ways of knowing”. And religion is one of them.

WARREN: You have said that imagination is “a truth-bearing faculty.” What do you mean by that?

GUITE: There’s a hierarchy between information, knowledge and wisdom. And reason is very good at finding and categorizing information. But reason has almost no access to wisdom at all. Counter to that are much earlier insights probably best expressed by Shakespeare in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” He says: “The poet’s eye, in a fine frenzy rolling, doth glance from heaven to Earth, from Earth to heaven; And as imagination bodies forth the forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing a local habitation and a name.”

That suggests that imagination is a way of knowing. And it’s a way of knowing and intuiting and feeling we might have missed entirely if the poet or the artist or the painter or the musician hadn’t bodied it forth.

Imagination came to be considered, strictly speaking, made up. The presupposition was that all the things that we care about that have now been relegated to so-called subjectivity, like love and passion and beauty, somehow don’t exist in the same way that the atoms in a cup exist.

Earlier philosophers and some of those philosophers in Enlightenment who tried to resist this had a different notion. They said imagination is not simply about making things up. It’s about synthesizing everything. It’s about seeing the whole. C.S. Lewis, much later in his life, said that reason is the natural organ of truth, but imagination is the organ of meaning.

I don’t think we have to choose between reason and imagination. I don’t think we have to choose between science and religion. I don’t think we have to choose between serious intellectual inquiry and deeply held faith. I think these things are enfolded aspects, each depending on primal ways of knowing. To do theology well, we must bring the poets to the table along with the theologians and listen to what they say.

The first quote from Shakespeare sounds good, but really proves nothing. All it says is that when a poet imagines something, it somehow becomes “knowledge.”  Well, knowledge only in the sense that Shakespeare—or any poet—made stuff up.  Note how Guite conflates imagination and knowledge to somehow prove that what we can imagine to be true really is true. If that is the case, then when Guite and Warren imagine that Baby Jesus was born as God in human form, and performed many miracles before he was died and resurrected (he’ll be back!), why is that “knowledge”, while those who imagine that Allah, or John Frum, or Zeus, or Thor, or Shiva are real gods are wrong? When different people believe in different divinities, who, if anyone, is right?

There’s no way of knowing, and that’s why we have to choose between science and religion. Science has a way of distinguishing between competing explanations, although sometimes it’s hard to do (e.g. is string theory right?), but religion has no way of knowing whether its “knowledge” is real, genuine, true knowledge. (I’m taking “knowledge” to mean “truth that is nearly universally accepted” by those qualified to judge, but don’t hold me to a definition I made up on the fly.)

I won’t reprise Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion are Incompatible; let’s just say that Guite needs to read that book. Religion is not “enfolded” in science, nor is faith a “primal way of knowing” (note the word “primal”, which serves only to sound good but doesn’t move Guite’s argument forward).

That’s about it. One more exchange in which, I think, Warren is turning into the Anglican Krista Tippett:

WARREN: There is something about truth that is paradoxical. And poets — in a way that I don’t see with theologians or scientists sometimes — are very comfortable in that tension. Can you talk about the paradox of Advent?

GUITE: Advent is paradoxical in itself. It’s a season of waiting and anticipation in which the waiting is strangely rich and fulfilling. And it’s a season that looks back to the first coming, but only in order to look now at the other comings and also forward at the last coming.

What, exactly, is paradoxical about truth? Given that Advent is celebrating something that we don’t think really happened, is she referring to the “tension” of a celebrating something thatis likely a fiction? I don’t think so. The only truths I know that are paradoxical are the provisional truths of quantum mechanics, since they defy our ability to imagine what’s happening to particles on the physical level.

But enough. I am starting to wonder if the NYT continues to publish the numinous lucubrations of Pastor Warren because the paper in fact supports them—or at least supports the view, often pushed by The New Yorker, that science is only one of several “ways of knowing.” (As evidenced by my dialogue with Adam Gopnik, and other articles, the NYer apparently thinks that literature is also a “way of knowing”.) Since the sophisticated readers of the New York Times want to have their science and also their faith, this kind of twaddle with Guite and Warren buttresses the readers in their dissonance.

Well, that’s the only reason I can see to publish Christian dogma, week after week after week. . .


Marilynne Robinson again embarrasses herself with an attempt to harmonize science and theology

December 5, 2022 • 10:45 am

I used to like Marilynne Robinson‘s fiction (she won a Pulitzer for her novel Gilead), but over the years she’s increasingly pushed her Christianity into her fiction and, more notably, into her essays. (See here and here for her rants on “scientism”.) And she is a pious Christian; as Wikipedia notes, she even preaches:

Robinson was raised as a Presbyterian and later became a Congregationalist, worshipping and sometimes preaching at the Congregational United Church of Christ in Iowa City. Her Congregationalism, and her interest in the ideas of John Calvin, have been important in her works, including Gilead, which centers on the life and theological concerns of a fictional Congregationalist minister. In an interview with the Church Times in 2012, Robinson said: “I think, if people actually read Calvin, rather than read Max Weber, he would be rebranded. He is a very respectable thinker.”

And now she’s in the New York Review of Books (NYRB). This magazine, under editor Bob Silvers, used to be a paragon of literary thought and quality, but since he died it’s come down in the world—though for some reason it always published Robinson’s lucubrations. In the article below (if it’s paywalled, join free for a short time), Robinson tries to derive a theology from science. She fails, not only because you can’t do that, but because she really doesn’t understand science. It’s embarrassingly bad—”dreadful” is too kind a word!

Not only is it really a sermon, not an essay (it’s full of passages from the Bible), but it’s very poorly written—surprising for a Pulitzer-winning novelist.

Her goal is to “rehabilitate” the antagonism she sees between science and religion. She appears to effect this reconciliation by adducing the wonders of science and evolution as evidence for God, though she spurns the idea of even needing evidence for God (she is of course a believer, but doesn’t need no stinking evidence). She also appears not to understand science.

Her using biological complexity and consciousness as evidence for the Divine comes perilously close to Intelligent Design, though she rejects that idea, too. After all, God doesn’t need to be buttressed with evidence of any sort. But then then proceeds to give that evidence—drawn largely from evolution and quantum mechanics—for many boring pages.

I could quote her at length, but I don’t want to damage your brain.  Here are the first three paragraphs laying out her thesis (bolding is mine):

I have been interested for a long time in theology and also in science. These two brilliant fields of thought have been at odds, supposedly, since the rise of what might be called the modern period, say, beginning in the nineteenth century. For the next one hundred years and more science flourished, applying its model of rationalism to every question, while increasingly religion struggled to find any way to justify its existence in the face of triumphant demystifications of reality. Then an odd thing happened. With one brilliant advance after another, science burst out of the constraints of rationalism and found itself in the terrain of quantum theory, which everyone says no one understands, but which is very robust and has been put to all sorts of practical uses. Rationalism had been choking out religion for generations as it proposed etiologies for the creatures to refute creation myth and ethics for human beings that often ran directly counter to the traditional teachings of religion. For a while nineteenth-century versions of evolution, with sundry determinist implications, survived despite the always more subtle and complex findings in physics, genetics, and other fields.

More recently certain stalwarts of nineteenth-century truth and reason were sure they would at last deliver the death blow to religion. But they lost heart or retired or went to their reward before that mortal blow was struck, if it ever could have been. They may have noticed that science as it advanced did not much resemble their conception of it, but their views never moderated. In the meantime religion was damaged and science was, too, so far as their reputations are concerned. Religion is viewed as ignorant and fear-driven, science as atheistic and arrogant. It is not unusual for people and groups to embrace the harshest characterizations that are made of them, as seems to have happened in this case. This is one more reason why we should speak more generously of one another.

In light of the fact that science and religion are two major pillars of our civilization, it seems there should be some effort at rehabilitation. I haven’t noticed any. Science has felt the consequences of all this in budget cuts and controversies in schools and the refusal of important segments of the population, in critical matters of public health, to accept the views of scientists as offered in good faith. Religion, meanwhile, has been largely overtaken by a belligerency darker and cruder than obscurantism, the very antithesis of theology, whatever it might have to do with faith. At the end of this hard-fought and meaningless struggle nothing was resolved, but there was grave loss on all sides.

First, theology is not a “brilliant field of thought”—not unless you consider embellishing fairy tales a “brilliant” exercise.  My contention is that theology hasn’t “advanced” since the days of Augustine the Hippo (yes, I know the name is a joke). By that I mean that although Biblical exegesis has become less literalistic and more sophisticated, has changed, and has even gotten more “inclusive”, it hasn’t brought us one iota closer towards understanding the nature of God and the divine, much less giving us any evidence for God’s existence or true nature. How could it? It’s all MADE UP STUFF. Science, on the other hand. . . . well, you know what it’s accomplished.

Look at the first paragraph above, where Robinson mentions “etiologies for the creatures” that refuted creationism with rationality. “Etiologies” here means EVOLUTION, but for some reason she doesn’t say that. She’s trying to show off, I guess. In the next sentence, Robinson just gets things wrong:

For a while nineteenth-century versions of evolution, with sundry determinist implications, survived despite the always more subtle and complex findings in physics, genetics, and other fields.

In fact, nineteenth-century versions of evolution became highly modified as our understanding grew, and took a great leap in the 1930s, when the Modern Synthesis fused the young science of genetics with evolution.  I’m not sure what the “sundry determinist implications” are, either.  Evolution is no more deterministic than is physics; that is, it is deterministic save for any truly indeterministic quantum-mechanical influences (perhaps in mutation?), but I don’t think that’s what she’s talking about.  And Robinson is just dead wrong in assuming evolution is less subtle than “physics, genetics, and other fields”, but she’s not even wrong when she says that evolution survived in the face of findings of other fields. In fact, evolution incorporated genetics soon after it was rediscovered in 1900.  Truly, I don’t think Robinson knows what she’s talking about here. What is the sweating writer trying to say?

She’s right in saying in paragraph two that “religion is viewed as ignorant and fear-driven”, though not all religionists are fearful; but if science was damaged by being seen as “atheistic and arrogant”, I haven’t seen it. In fact, as belief in God is waning, public confidence in science is increasing. Below are some data from a 2019 Pew poll. Compare scientists on the top line with “religious leaders” on the bottom. Scientists win!

Science is practiced as an “atheistic” discipline—that is, one that doesn’t need or invoke the supernatural in making explanations—but is it really seen as “arrogant”? It surely is by Robinson, who’s been banging on about “scientism” for years, but if science’s reputation is eroding because of that, well, religion’s is eroding faster.  And nobody is more arrogant than someone like Robinson who strongly believes in the Christian God, and claims to know His nature—without a lick of evidence!  At least scientists can test other scientists’ claims and then show them to be wrong. What would convince Robinson that there was no God, or a god but not the Christian God she worships?

Robinson is, of course, making up a scenario here: there’s no evidence that the public has less trust in science than in religion, and to say that theology isn’t obscurantist is wrong. In fact, Robinson’s whole piece is obscurantist, as is most modern theology (try reading Alvin Plantinga or getting a lucid explanation of why God allows innocent people to suffer physical evil).

Below, Robinson raises the something-rather-than-nothing question to buttress her harmonizing of theology and religion, but then denies that the question constitutes “proof” of God. Again, bolding is mine:

Science has pondered the evolution of the eye as a special problem. In the case of the scallop, that morsel so much a staple of our menus, the emergence of the eye seems to have happened twice—once as a fringe along the shell for ordinary scallop business, and again as two stalks that look straight up so that the creature can find its way back to the shadow of the mangrove forest. This is charming. This is delightful. A courtesy, a solicitude. What an uneconomic deployment of possibility. But that phrase could be applied to humankind, to the whole of creation. After all, why is there something rather than nothing?

First, I didn’t know that scallops evolved eyes twice independently, particularly as two stalks that “help them find their way back to the shadow of the mangrove forest”.  Five minutes on the Internet yielded no verification of this, but I’ll let readers see if she’s right there. What’s more important is her last question: a staple of “sophisticated” theology.  Why is there something rather than nothing? Clearly Robinson thinks that means that there’s something because God wanted something, but this question isn’t evidence for God, much less of her Christian God (see Sean Carroll’s take here). And even if it were, then we would have to ask,  “Well, why is there a God rather than no God?” Theologians will do some fast-stepping there!

But Robinson quickly explains that she doesn’t need no stinkin’ proof of God. I’m wondering why she believes in the first place, then:

If I seem to be proffering a version of intelligent design, I want to make it clear that I reject any argument that presents itself as a proof of God’s existence. I think there is a degree of irreverence in the very idea of proof. At the same time, whether or not His existence is a factor in the nature of the world, there is a glory in creation to which the hyperbolic celebrations of Scripture are uniquely appropriate. The Book of Job describes creation as the moment when “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” In the long final speech from the whirlwind, God names the beasts and the natural forces and luxuriates in their power and strangeness, in overwhelming reply to the questioning of His justice. Granting that this is a difficult teaching to absorb, it can only mean that the world, the cosmos, in its infinite particularity, should be seen as a joy to God Himself. Let us say, therefore, that it is recommended to our attention. And it is not without meaning that we are richly capable of such attention, as the arts and the sciences have demonstrated.

She says she’s not offering proof, but she sure as hell is adducing “evidence”! She just euphemizes “proof” with other words: “let us say that it is recommended to our attention”, and “it is not without meaning that we are richly capable of such attention.”  What she’s saying is that the natural world, and our ability to understand it, points towards God.

I really can’t go on further, as I can’t figure out what the sweating author is trying to say, and her essay is so poorly written that I wonder why the NYRB, once a bastion of good writing, printed it. After all, it’s not a thoughtful analysis of anything, but is simply a sermon couched in what Dan Dennett calls “deepities”.

I’ll just leave you with her quantum woo. She reads into quantum mechanics, which we don’t fully understand nor have a good physical picture of, some divine mystery that also points towards  God. Physicists may be amused by her invoking the observer effect (which I think is pretty much defunct) and other quantum stuff that she incorporates into theology. If this is Sophisticated Thelogy®, it is obscurantist, wordy, and impenetrable.

Popular ideas of God have often been essentially anthropomorphic and have tended to limit their conception of His awareness by a standard of the possible that imagined a vastly heightened but basically humanlike consciousness. Now we know that the nature of things is negotiated moment by moment at the level of quantum indeterminacy, that from a subatomic point of view the clay is still in the potter’s hands. We know that an observer, literal or other, can effect this openness to possibility, can cause the indeterminacy to de-cohere, to become one version of the array of possibilities present in any instance. This underlies what we experience as a great constancy.

. . . Then again, if the hypothesis is correct that time and space emerge from quantum phenomena, which are therefore in some sense prior to them, then I find myself failing to imagine Being that is not spatially or temporally local and yet is generative of these conditions for and of our existence. I find myself thinking of the intuitions of the ancient people that there was a time when the world came into being. In Babylonian mythology the god Marduk slays the goddess Tiamat, a giant, raging serpent. He slices her corpse in two and uses half to form earth, half to form sky. Scholars have claimed to find evidence that a tale like this lies behind the serene, magisterial creation in Genesis. And there are glimpses in the biblical creation of the suppression of a primordial chaos, tohu va-vohu in Hebrew, “without form and void” in English. The prophet Isaiah says God will punish “Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea.”

In the end, Robinson’s views are risible, and an embarrassment to both her and the NYRB. And to think that she won a Pulitzer Prize before she went off the rails and began writing stuff like this!

How low the NYRB has sunk!

A check-in with BioLogos

August 8, 2022 • 9:45 am

I used to write a lot about the BioLogos organizqtion, particularly after Francis Collins and Karl Giberson founded it with the help of Templeton funds. Its mission was to persuade evangelical Christians that their faith was not at odds with science, particularly evolution.  Since one of my avocations is studying how people reconcile faith and science, I paid close attention to BioLogos for a while.

Well, Collins resigned when he became director of the NIH, and Giberson left as well (he’s now “a faculty member at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts, where he presently serves as Scholar-in-Residence in science and religion.”) Giberson also writes stuff for Templeton.

The new President of BioLogos is Deborah Haarsma, who was an astronomer but now apparently writes on the compatibility of science and faith.

I lost interest in BioLogos when, as part of its mission to harmonize faith and science, it got heavily involved in arguments about whether Adam and Eve were literal people: the ancestors of all of us. This is a touchstone of Christianity, as that belief is the very source of original sin, and were BioLogos to claim that they were only metaphorical people promulgating a metaphorical sin, it would drive away their audience. Therefore, despite ample evidence from population genetics that two contemporaneous people were NOT ancestors of all of us (indeed, that there were never just two specimens of H. sapiens on the planet), BioLogos twisted itself into knots trying to figure out how Adam and Eve could be real. (After all, some claims of Christianity aren’t negotiable.)

I gave up at that point, realizing that the science-y people at BioLogos had surrendered to the goddy ones—and to erroneous claims of Christianity. This shows my contention that every Abrahamic faith, and many others (e.g. cargo cults, Scientology) do depend on factual statements, and when science disproves them, this creates a conflict. You do have to choose: a literal Adam and Eve or the data from population genetics.

This morning I went back to BioLogos just to see what was up, and I see they’re involved in the same mishigass, not having made much of a dent in causing evangelical Christians to accept evolution and the rest of science. (That was always a fool’s errand.) Here are just two examples

First, a two-minute movie that conveys the tired old message. It’s just down from the top on the main BioLogos Page, so I can’t give you a direct link. But click on either screenshot below and look for the header:


The message is old: science answers the empirical questions, while faith (i.e., Christianity) answers the Big Questions. Here are some of the Big Questions that science can’t answer:

  1. What matters most?
  2. Is the purpose of the human soul mapped in their DNA?
  3. What is the atomic number for joy?

Presumably Christianity can answer them (well, maybe except for the third). The answer to all the Big Questions is always the same: “because that’s the way God wants it, and our job is to serve God and Jesus.”  Here’s the last sentence of the video:

Science can tell us how the world works, but only in the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus do we see what it all means.

They don’t deal with Judaism, Islam, or other faiths because the audience of BioLogos is evangelical Christians. But one would think that thoughtful Christians would ask themselves two questions:

a.) Well, are those other people who believe other things (and not in Jesus as God/son of God) simply wrong? After all, their belief is as strong as mine!

b.) How do we know that the “answers” that Christianity gives us are true? Science, after all, has independent ways of checking what is true, while the “answers” given by faith are all contained in a single self-contradictory book written millennia ago. And books from other faiths say different things.

But perhaps the terms “thoughtful evangelical Christian” is an oxymoron.

The other piece you can read (click on screenshot below), is a soothing paean to the harmony between science and religion by Deborah Haarsma, BioLogos’s President:

First, Haarsma coughs up some statistics I’ve mentioned before—statistics that show the increasing secularization of America. One reason for the waning of religion in America is that it  truth claims of religion seem increasingly irrational and insupportable.


In research over a decade ago, Barna asked millennials who grew up in the church why they left. Although respondents gave several reasons, 29% said “churches are out of step with the scientific world we live in” and 25% said “Christianity is anti-science.”

In 2018, Barna surveyed the next generation (GenZ), the teenagers currently attending church, and science was an even larger concern: 53% agreed that “the church seems to reject much of what science tells us about the world.” And in 2019, Barna surveyed young people all over the globe, asking them why they doubt things of a spiritual dimension, and found that “science” was one of the top reasons they doubt, second only to “hypocrisy of religious people” and even greater than “human suffering.” Science is a growing factor in people leaving church, doubting God, and dropping away from their faith altogether. With the increased polarization over science during the pandemic, I fear this trend will only grow.

Yet it doesn’t have to be this way! Christian beliefs can actually support the investigation of God’s creation, and discoveries in the natural world can build up one’s faith. The problem is that most young people aren’t hearing this message.

Nope, they’re not hearing it, despite BioLogos spending a lot of money to get that message across. And the rest of her piece explains how Christian beliefs (including the Resurrection, original sin, and presumably the End Times) can be made compatible with science and the disaffected young folk indoctrinated in this view.

By the way, Haarsma didn’t come by her Christianity through empirical investigation or study of other faiths: she was brought up that way—indoctrinated.

In the 1970s and 80s, I grew up in a wonderful church in the suburbs of Minneapolis. This was a white evangelical church, back when “evangelical” meant an emphasis on evangelism, not politics. This community grounded me in the faith, giving me a bedrock conviction that God exists and loves me. My Sunday school teachers and the Bible quiz team fostered in me a deep knowledge and love of the Bible. When it came to science, people at church encouraged me in school, and the parents of my church friends included an engineer and a math professor.)

But she did have an epiphany at her Christian college when she encountered John Calvin’s phrase, “All truth is God’s truth,” which of course presupposes a Christian God in the first place. And so she had the Big Revelation that the Bible should be read as an extended metaphor, not as a textbook of science. (What she means here, of course, is that “parts of the Bible aren’t really true, but I know which parts are true”.):

. . . For the first time I heard about the culture of the ancient Near East. The ancient Egyptians and Babylonians believed that many gods were involved in creation, and they pictured a flat earth with a solid dome sky with water above it (a “firmament”).

I realized that in Genesis chapter 1, on the second day of creation, God takes credit for making this firmament. That means God didn’t try to correct their misconceptions about the natural world; it would have distracted them from the larger message. God had other goals in mind.

I concluded that if God didn’t put modern science into Genesis, I shouldn’t be trying to get modern science out of Genesis. Instead I should focus on God’s primary message: that there is one sovereign Creator (not a pantheon of gods), that creation is good, and that humans are made in God’s image.

Note how they slyly call the factual claims of the Bible “science”, so that they can evade them by saying “the Bible isn’t a textbook of science.”

It’s curious how these people know what God’s primary message is, and it’s not in the least literalistic. But where in the Bible does it say, “This book is largely metaphorical. The message it intends to convey is this  ______________.” After all, the message Haarsma says is God’s primary message could easily have been conveyed to people two millennia ago. It doesn’t need to be tricked out with stories about creation, Floods, exoduses, crucifixions, and resurrections.

And so she tells us how to get people to accept her message, a tactic she learned from Elaine Ecklund at Rice University, who’s made a career twisting the facts to show that science and religion are compatible:

Thus, I came to understand how I could accept the scientific evidence without leaving God behind. This is a key point for many people. Research by Elaine Howard Ecklund in 2018 (Religion vs. Science, see p.139) found that, across multiple science issues, people of faith are open to science as long as they hear two important points: 1) that there is an active role for God in the world and 2) that humans as God’s image bearers hold a special place in creation. No matter the issue, believers need to know that learning scientific findings won’t remove God from the picture or make humans insignificant.

But how are you going to convince people of a theistic deity who cares about you, as well as about the uniqueness of humans made in God’s image? You can do this only by appealing to their confirmation biases (“I want this to be true”) or by propaganda. There is no independent evidence for them.

And this is why I say that in one sense, at least, people must choose between being a pious religionist or accepting science (naturalism, really). Either you have good reasons for what you believe or you don’t. That’s why my book on this topic is called Faith Versus Fact.  Sure, you don’t have to choose if you see nature as god, or embrace a watery deism that makes no factual claims. But that’s not the message BioLogos is pushing.

At the end, Haarsma says that the key to getting believers to accept science is to show them scientists who are believers, and ignore those nasty atheists who mix godlessness with science. But what you cannot do is tell the questioning young people that Christianity must be wrong. Let them question, by all means, but also “hold to the core of our faith”:

This was in the 1990s; in the decades following, the militant atheist movement made it even harder for Christians to trust what a popular scientist had to say, because authors like Dawkins, Hitchens, Coyne, and others were regularly saying that science rules out God and smart people aren’t religious. But in Portraits of Creation, I found chapters by Christian geologists and Christian astronomers, who explained the scientific evidence for the age of the earth and how they reconciled it with their faith. I came to see the Big Bang not as an atheistic alternative to God, but as a scientific model describing God’s work in creating the universe. Learning about science from Christian voices I trusted made all the difference.

Well, science does rule out some aspects of Christianity, like the Great Flood or the existence of a couple, Adam and Eve, who were ancestors of us all, but my main message that science absolutely rules out Christianity, but that it gives is no evidence for Christianity (or any such faith), and why should you believe—without good evidencee—something so important to your life (and afterlife) as Christianity?

Just hold onto your faith when you talk to the young people. Don’t let them bother you with questions like, “What evidence is there that Jesus was resurrected besides the contradictory stories in the Bible?”

We can all help the next generation. Let’s come alongside young people in their questions, rather than giving simple answers. We can wrestle with them on the secondary issues, while showing ways to hold to the core of our faith. Let’s point to believing scientists as trusted voices who can explain where the scientific evidence is rigorous, show which pieces are scientific speculation or atheist add-ons, and tell their own stories of following Jesus Christ. And whatever the issue, let’s tell the larger story.

Explaining the scientific evidence is not enough. We can show how God has an active role and how humans have a special place in God’s creation. We can come alongside the next generation as they reconstruct a strong, Christ-centered faith, and become gracious, faithful, and informed leaders on the difficult questions of today and tomorrow.

If you want the full version of this argument (if it be an argument), Haarsma makes some of these points in a 50-minute talk at the 2022 BioLogos conference. You can see the talk here.

From Australia: People who choose God over reality

July 31, 2022 • 12:30 pm

Here we have another science-versus-religion piece—this time by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation—whose take-home message is that there’s no conflict: the two are compatible. Similar to the the last accommodationist piece I discussed, from the Voice of America, it uses me as the starting gate to trot out two scientists who assert that science and religion are not only compatible, but mutually reinforcing. 

And they make the same old insupportable arguments for compatibility. It’s short, so click below to read it:

First, the mean old Dr. Coyne disses compatibility, allowing the “religion and ethnics reporter” to call on the dissenters:

“Science and religion are incompatible,” argues biologist, Jerry A. Coyne, in his 2015 book, Faith Versus Fact.

“They have different methods for getting knowledge about reality, have different ways of assessing the reliability of that knowledge, and, in the end, arrive at conflicting conclusions about the universe.”

Coyne believes science and religion are diametrically opposed, locked in an irreconcilable “war between rationality and superstition”.

For others, however, science and faith go hand in hand.

Some have even left a career in science to answer a call from God.

Well that must show that science and faith are compatible, no? In fact, faith is stronger!

The first is Reverend Benji Callan, who got a Ph.D. in molecular biosciences in Adelaide and went on to work in nanotechnology. But then God called him:

. . . . Reverend Callen realised he was different. While he “enjoyed the intellectual rigour and creativity” of working in science, he “always had this sense that something wasn’t quite right”.

So, when he and his pregnant wife returned to Australia, he applied for a role as youth pastor at his old church.

He got the job and started studying for a Bachelor of Theology in 2005.

The unease he had felt throughout his lab career vanished.

“I did feel a little sense of sadness or loss,” he acknowledges.

“As soon as you step out of science, particularly research science … it’s really hard to get back into the game. I knew that there was no turning back.”

Reverend Callen is now the minister at Adelaide’s Burnside City Church, after spending eight years as a minister in the fishing town of Port Lincoln.

More power to him—though it won’t come from God. But this is just an anecdote. And his attraction to science is the same one promoted by the Templeton Foundation:

Like Reverend Edwards [see below], Reverend Callen sees science and faith as “complementary” not contradictory.

“Science does a great job of the ‘how’ of life, answering those ‘how’ questions – ‘How do cells work? How do stars work? How does gravity work?’ – but it does a pretty rubbish job at the ‘why’ questions – ‘Why are we here? Why do we have hope? Why do we love? Why do we hate?'”

As I’ve said before, science can indeed answer some “why” questions insofar as they’re empirically tractable. Why are we here? We know that one! Because of the Big Bang and evolution. Why do we love? Probably because it’s an emotion that promotes pair-bonding and hence reproduction. Why do we hate? Evolved xenophobia could be one reason, combined with ambition (a surrogate for reproduction) and the accompanying dislike of others whoget what we don’t have.

But that’s not the kind of answer Reverend Callen is looking for. All of his big questions are answered with one sentence, “Because God wants it that way.” Other religions, though, may have other answers. The difference between science and religion is that science can actually answer some of its questions and make progress in understanding the universe. Answering “because God” just pushes the question back to “what’s the evidence that there is a god?”, and there all questions must end.

Having disposed of the misguided Rev. Callen, let us pass on to Reverend Ann Edwards, once a speech pathologist and now Priest-in-Charge at St Mark’s Anglican Church at The Gap.

Despite the satisfaction she derived from speech pathology, Reverend Edwards still felt a call to God.

“I had this real sense of pull into ordained ministry,” she says.

In 2014, she followed the call and began training as a priest.

She felt the skillsets she developed in her life as a speech pathologist, manager and researcher would be of great use in the practical business of running a church, particularly in improving disability inclusion, an issue she was passionate about and the focus of her theology thesis.

. . . Reverend Edwards believes her scientific training is good preparation for the challenge of adapting ministry to a digital world, a prospect she finds exciting rather than daunting.

She sees no conflict between her “absolute belief [in] and love of science” and her faith. “My faith is informed by science,” she says.

At Christmas, she delivered a sermon on the religious and scientific conceptions of creation and “how beautifully the two work together — it’s almost like a tapestry”.

“The [Bible] stories have so much depth,” she says. “They still speak truth if we don’t hold them literally, and we hold them as they were meant to be.”

Here we go again with the shamefully duplicitous claim that the Bible was written as a metaphor and was never meant literally. That’s why science is so compatible with faith: science actually tells us what those who wrote the Bible (presumably inspired by God) actually were trying to say.  No, the authors of Genesis didn’t actually mean that God created the world and its inhabitants, or that there was a Noachian flood. These things were just metaphors, and what they were trying to say, “as they were meant to be”, was that there was a Big Bang followed by billions of years of evolution.

That is hogwash. If the Bible was meant to be metaphorical and not literal, why did nearly two millennia of religionists, including church fathers like Aquinas and Augustine, not to mention Pope Paul V and the Inquisition, take the Bible so literally that punishment was ordained for those who contradicted the literalism? Believers claiming that it’s clear that the Bible was intended to be taken as metaphor, not truth, are undercutting thousands of years of theology, all so they can maintain the fiction of metphor. Where in the Bible does it say that “Warning: the stories in this book are not to be taken literally”? Yes, Aquinas and Augustine thought that Bible stories could be read as metaphorical, but only on top of their literalism, which was taken as truth. Read Faith Versus Fact if you want further evidence.

Oh, and don’t forget that a full 40% of Americans are young-Earth creationists, believing that God created humans in our present form within the last 10,000 years. Doesn’t that show an incompatibility between science and religion. (Another 33% think that God guided evolution, so that nearly 3/4 of Americans think that the presence of life on earth required supernatural help.)

Clearly, Reverend Edwards is deceiving herself so she can maintain the fiction that the Bible works “beautifully” with science. But starting with Genesis, it doesn’t.

But wait! There’s more:

Reverend Edwards finds affirmation of her faith in the natural world. Observing a “tawny frogmouth standing so still that you couldn’t even see it in the tree – that was a thing of awe and wonder for me,” she says.

Reverend Callen says, “To be a good scientist, you need to have a sense of awe and wonder and curiosity about the universe.”

He believes worship requires the same qualities. “For me, going into the lab and discovering something new about the universe was my meditation and prayer. It was my awe and wonder.”

I’m not sure that to be a good scientist you have to have those “spiritual qualities”—I’ve known many who are basically grinds, obsessively focused on their research. I’m not speaking against that, and you could always argue that “well, they have a sense of wonder about [Organism X].” But to say that having a sense of wonder makes religion compatible with science is bogus. The scientist’s sense of wonder, more often than not, is about how amazing the universe is and how it’s all the product of physical law.  As Darwin, who did have a sense of awe, expressed it at the end of On the Origin of Species, comparing the “laws” of biological evolution (most likely adaptation via natural selection) with the laws of physics:

Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

Forget about “breathed into a few forms”, which is a sop to believers. Darwin was at best an agnostic. He certainly wasn’t religious in the way that Revs. Edwards and Callen are.

Why doesn’t the ABC, or anybody for that matter, write an article about scientists who have left religion because they find that science makes a lot more sense? I don’t think I’ve seen such a piece in the mainstream media.


h/t: Joe