Sunday, May 11, 2014

Neil deGrasse Tyson Sends Right-Wing Flagship Newspaper Into Tizzy Over Evolution and Climate Change

From AlterNet:

The Washington Times' Rusty Humphries says he loves science, but only if that science includes his creator of choice. Moreover, his love for science doesn't extend to accepted scientific theory, the television show "Cosmos," and its host Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Humphries took to ​the paper​ to espouse his support for "theistic-based science,"—you know, the kind that eschews and supplants evidence and research with “God did that!”

More here.

Science isn't theology and theology isn't science.  Both are legitimate lines of philosophical inquiry, but they just aren't the same thing.  Combining the two doesn't create Reece's Peanut Butter Cups, either.  Rather, putting them together ruins what's good about both, kind of like putting ketchup on a nice filet mignon or a mustache on the Mona Lisa.  Theology and science are not two great tastes that taste great together.  And scientists, to the best of my knowledge, appear to understand this; they don't run around publicly telling theologians how to practice theology.  Lots of theologians, or, at least, people who are clearly coming from a theology-based point of view, in stark contrast, do NOT seem to understand this, and continually try to mix science and theology.

I just don't get it.  I mean, I get it, sure.  When scientific conclusions come into direct conflict with theological conclusions, which are really important to the people who embrace them, you know, people want to reconcile the conflict.  But it strikes me that the way to do that is with some more theology--why do observed physical phenomena differ from what our theology tells us ought to be happening?  What I don't get is why these people try to mix theology with science instead of furthering their theological inquiry.  It seems totally insane and/or intellectually dishonest, and it will never offer any satisfying conclusions. 

Also, as the linked essay observes, it betrays an obvious religious insecurity and a profound weakness of faith.  Think about it this way.  God is omnipotent.  If He wanted to do so, he could easily and without effort create a physical reality that is totally at odds with his revelations to mankind in Scripture.  Actually, that's what appears to be the case.  The Genesis creation story appears to be totally at odds with what the physical evidence tells us about the origins of life and the universe.  So, okay, go use your theology to figure out why this the case.  Unless you think your theology isn't up to the task.  If that's the case, I guess throwing up your hands in frustration and attacking science becomes an appealing course of action.

But when you do that, you clearly don't trust your own theology to provide answers.  That is, you're running scared.