Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Distorting Darwin and More

Skeptic magazine's website has posted a rebuttal to a creationist movie about Darwin. It's well worth reading, even if you haven't seen the movie, because it addresses a lot of common misunderstandings. If you're a creationist, please read it by clicking here, if nothing else it will help you understand what you are against.

Internet Infidels has recently published an article about the doctrine of Original Sin, and the thesis of this article is that Original Sin is a doctrine that is so absurd it cannot be accepted, but it is also so integrated into Christianity that to reject Original Sin is to reject Christianity. One good point the author makes: the fact that Adam is listed in the genealogies of Genesis means that the author of Genesis probably thought Adam was a historical figure, which creates a huge difficulty for those who want to interpret Genesis metaphorically so that they can consistently believe Science and the Bible. One other thing: the article incorrectly states that the church has always taught a literal reading of Genesis. That isn't completely true, St. Augustine (A fifth century Christian) was at least somewhat willing to interpret Genesis figuratively, even though he rejected the possibility of an old earth. Wikipedia sums that up here.

Turkish Physicist Taner Edis has written a new book:An Illusion of Harmony: Science And Religion in Islam. I'm very interested in it. Here's the amazon description:

Current discussions in the West on the relation of science and religion focus mainly on science’s uneasy relationship with the traditional Judeo-Christian view of life. But a parallel controversy exists in the Muslim world regarding ways to integrate science with Islam. As physicist Taner Edis shows in this fascinating glimpse into contemporary Muslim culture, a good deal of popular writing in Muslim societies attempts to address such perplexing questions as:

· Is Islam a "scientific religion"?
· Were the discoveries of modern science foreshadowed in the Quran?
· Are intelligent design conjectures more appealing to the Muslim perspective than Darwinian explanations?

Edis examines the range of Muslim thinking about science and Islam, from blatantly pseudoscientific fantasies to comparatively sophisticated efforts to "Islamize science." From the world’s strongest creationist movements to bizarre science-in-the-Quran apologetics, popular Muslim approaches promote a view of natural science as a mere fact-collecting activity that coexists in near-perfect harmony with literal-minded faith. Since Muslims are keenly aware that science and technology have been the keys to Western success, they are eager to harness technology to achieve a Muslim version of modernity. Yet at the same time, they are reluctant to allow science to become independent of religion and are suspicious of Western secularization.
Edis examines all of these conflicting trends, revealing the difficulties facing Muslim societies trying to adapt to the modern technological world. His discussions of both the parallels and the differences between Western and Muslim attempts to harmonize science and religion make for a unique and intriguing contribution to this continuing debate.

1 comment:

Steven Carr said...

' St. Augustine (A fifth century Christian) was at least somewhat willing to interpret Genesis figuratively...'

Have you read Augustine's figurative interpretation of (bits) of Genesis?

They are nuts.

At least literal readings attempt to connect with the text, rather than just make up fantastic interpretations that have no bearing in reality, as though a report on a Yankees game was really a metaphor for how women cannot become bishops.