Tuesday, March 23, 2010

... But There's No "Superior Design" Involved Here, Right?

As a long-winded introduction to where I'm heading with this post, here is the publisher's description of David Berlinski's book, The Devil’s Delusion: Atheism and its Scientific Pretensions (Basic Books, September 2009).  David Berlinski is a senior fellow in the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. He is the author of numerous books on mathematics and the sciences.
"Militant atheism is on the rise. Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Christopher Hitchens have dominated bestseller lists with books denigrating religious belief as dangerous foolishness. And these authors are merely the leading edge of a far larger movement–one that now includes much of the scientific community. “The attack on traditional religious thought,” writes David Berlinski in The Devil’s Delusion, “marks the consolidation in our time of science as the single system of belief in which rational men and women might place their faith, and if not their faith, then certainly their devotion.” 
"A secular Jew, Berlinski nonetheless delivers a biting defense of religious thought. An acclaimed author who has spent his career writing about mathematics and the sciences, he turns the scientific community’s cherished skepticism back on itself, daring to ask and answer some rather embarrassing questions:
  • Has anyone provided a proof of God’s inexistence? Not even close.
  • Has quantum cosmology explained the emergence of the universe or why it is here? Not even close.
  • Have the sciences explained why our universe seems to be fine-tuned to allow for the existence of life? Not even close.
  • Are physicists and biologists willing to believe in anything so long as it is not religious thought? Close enough.
  • Has rationalism in moral thought provided us with an understanding of what is good, what is right, and what is moral? Not close enough.
  • Has secularism in the terrible twentieth century been a force for good? Not even close to being close.
  • Is there a narrow and oppressive orthodoxy of thought and opinion within the sciences? Close enough.
  • Does anything in the sciences or in their philosophy justify the claim that religious belief is irrational? Not even in the ballpark.
  • Is scientific atheism a frivolous exercise in intellectual contempt? Dead on.
"Berlinski does not dismiss the achievements of western science. The great physical theories, he observes, are among the treasures of the human race. But they do nothing to answer the questions that religion asks, and they fail to offer a coherent description of the cosmos or the methods by which it might be investigated."
Phew! That's a powerful summary!   I have a good reason for planting it as the beginning of this post. I think the summary of Berlinski's book is like a speed-read preamble to the following rant.
I'm sick of Hitchens, Dawkins, Harris, Dennett, Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Zeppo, Bozo (and any  other so-called atheist geniuses I've omitted) pronouncing that all of reality as we know it is merely the result of some cosmic crap shoot -- completely random, accidental  -- and that there are no signs of any "higher intelligence" creating and ordering the universe, patterning and designing deliberately within creation.
Oh, really?  Well, gee, am I dumb!  If all the atheist geniuses can humor me for a moment, I have a video they should ponder.  The video features several clips of babies of different ethnic groups and cultures reacting to the taste of a lemon.  Watch closely their facial expressions, gestures and reactions.  They all exhibit the same behavior when they taste the lemon.  Now, remember that these children are of different races, different languages, and are still too young to have learned how to make the "lemon face" response from school and from cultural socialization.
Frankly, anyone who claims that there is no overall intelligent purpose in creation, no "superior design" -- as exhibited, for example, by the commonality of the expressions of all  these different children --  is suffering from intellectual dishonesty.  (And, yes, there was intelligent design in that comment. Spike and Anathema checked it for me.)

The Assistant Headmaster

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Men of The Catholic Jedi Academy are also Men Of Saint Joseph!

Men of The Catholic Jedi Academy are also Men Of Saint Joseph!
Take a moment and visit the MOSJ website.