Perhaps a response to Jerry Coyne would be appropriate

[Moderator note: Not sure why I missed this. Better late than never I suppose.]

I hope some ASAers submit good op-eds to USA Today in response to Jerry Coyne’s latest:

1 comment to Perhaps a response to Jerry Coyne would be appropriate

  • Wayne Dawson

    What we are looking at is a clash of world views and ideologies. 
    Coyne’s world appears to be largely one of scientism, the notion that all matters of concern that we encounter in this life can be explained (at least in principle) by science.  At some level, such can.  We die because our bodies reach thermodynamic equilibrium.  Our lives consist of a process of converting energy from a more complex form to a simpler one.  Conscious thought involves molecular processes which are gradually being understood, our love, our hate and our passion are all manifestations of these processes.  Brain injuries can (and do) change a person’s personality. Mental disorders can be partially treated with medicine. Perhaps even more effective treatments will eventually be discovered. Computer programs can be constructed (to some extent), to make money on the stock market.  So what more proof do you want that everything can be explained by science?
    You have to ask yourself a different question.  Is this all that is?  Science is powerful.  What we can see, what we can touch, what we can feel and, of course, what we can measure is subject to the measuring sticks of science. We are probably wiser to consult a doctor for treatment of a medical condition rather than just pray.  However, is it enough?  For Coyne, it appears that he believes it is enough.  Those of us who follow a religion believe that there is more. Whereas science can answer the questions of material life, life is not just about material; life is about purpose and meaning.  If you are satisfied with your function being “to convert energy of a more complex for to one of a less complex form”, then that is your purpose and your meaning and about the only reasonable answer you can expect to get out of science.  
    On the other hand, as a Christian myself, it is that daily walk that I go through seeking to become more like Jesus that matters.  What we weave through our lives on the fabric of time really does matter to me.  God sees the places in my life where the tapestry is damaged or torn and the shabby workmanship I left behind at some places. He knows my heart, and though I may be able to hide my heart from others, God knows what I was really thinking.  
    Ultimately, I don’t see the “transformation of energy” satisfying the questions of why we must go on living.  At face value, it is the truth about the process, but it offers me no reason why I should keep doing it.  I think there is more.  Who will bring the wicked of this world to justice if God does not have the last say?  How many people get away with brazenly doing evil and never even fear that they will be judged by a God who knows the hearts of men?   How many innocent are harmed irreparably by false witness, slander, and deception?  Can science comfort them or expose the deeds of the wicked before a heavenly and all knowing court?  What of your life and your own walk through this life?  Are you simply here to transform energy or could it be there is something more?
    So, fundamentally, Coyne has a vastly different world view.  There is no point in arguing with it.  As a matter of the survival of the human race, I have my private doubts about the viability of such narrow views of what it means to live and be granted this life, but if people wish to live within a little bubble of scientism, we cannot stop them.  Nevertheless, I personally think there is more to life than mere probabilities and thermodynamics.
    However, rather than just dismiss his view as that of an ideologue; I end this with something to think about.  We do see that the wicked are put in high places, they do prosper and we know that some of the innocent and the righteous perish without even a sound from heaven.  We Christians have not always set the best example either; sometimes our folly can be an embarrassment to anyone of even the most remote faculties of sensibility.  Consider the dreadful ugliness of some of mankind’s history, some on the inexcusable excuse of “religion”.  If these are the reasons Coyne rejects religion, should we not then reflect more on our own selves and pray that Coyne might be saved through God’s divine Grace, rather than just condemn him and dismiss his diatribe with a few additional pejoratives of our choosing? 
    We cannot convince with words or provide an experiment that will satisfy such as those of an ideology of scientism.  It is a protective and impenetrable bubble to those who remain hunkered inside. We can only speak of a hope that there is more, much more.  There is hope that what is wrong with the world will one day be made right.  There is hope that there is justice, even if it comes only when it is brought before the heavenly court.  We need not fear that life is in vain, and then we die a pathetic and meaningless death.
    By Grace we proceed,

November 2010
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