Friday, 14 February 2014

Rosenhouse on Plait on Ham/Nye

Jason Rosenhouse (author of Among The Creationists, which I highly recommend), responded to Phil Plait's response to the Ham/Nye debate:

It’s Not Just Fundamentalist Religion That Has A Problem With Evolution

Rosenhouse's viewpoint is that evolution really is incompatible with many religious positions—not just the crazy Genesis-1-literalist ones espoused by Ham and the YECs, but much more. Key paragraphs:

So, after all, that, let us return to Plait’s argument. He tells us that the problem is too many people perceiving evolution as a threat to their religious beliefs. Indeed, but why do they perceive it that way? Is it a failure of messaging on the part of scientists? Is it because Richard Dawkins or P. Z. Myers make snide remarks about religion? No, those are not the reasons.

It is because these people have noticed all the same problems the scholars of Darwin’s time were writing about. It is because evolution really does conflict with their religious beliefs, but not because of an overly idiosyncratic interpretation of one part of the Bible. It is because the version of evolution that so worried the religious scholars of Darwin’s time, that of a savage, non-teleological process that produced humanity only as an afterthought, is precisely the version that has triumphed among modern scientists. And it is because the objections raised to that version of evolution in the nineteenth century have not lost any of their force today.

So I think the issue is just a tad more complex than Plait suggests. It manifestly is not the case that only the most narrow of fundamentalists has a problem with evolution. Evolution challenges the Bible, refutes the argument from design, exacerbates the problem of evil, and strongly challenges any notion that humanity plays a central role in creation. These are not small points, and Plait needs to acknowledge them.

(Do read the whole thing; quite a bit of it is Catholic-related)