Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Angier's God Problem

Natalie Angier, science writer for the New York Times, discusses her God Problem at The Edge. She's mystified, evidently, as to why so few people believe that evolution occurred. Maybe we at Viewpoint can be of service in explaining the mystery. Perhaps it has something to do with the Darwinian insistence that the amazing complexity of living things is a matter of pure accident. This just seems to many people to be too literally incredible for anyone who's not already committed to atheism to accept.

She also seems puzzled as to why many astronomers are open to the possibility of that an intelligent Creator is responsible for the cosmos, but not so much open to the possibility that astrology is true. Perhaps, again, it's because the fine-tuning of the features of the universe astronomers study is so breathtakingly improbable, so unexpectedly exquisite, that the heavens fairly scream that they were intentionally designed. Whereas astrology is obviously just pure guesswork.

She wonders, too, why scientists don't speak out more against belief in God. Perhaps it's because they realize that as scientists their opinions on whether God exists are no more authoritative than anyone else's. Scientists trading on their authority as scientists in order to make metaphysical pronouncements are like, say, Judge John Jones of the famous Dover Intelligent Design trial, speaking authoritatively on matters pertaining to the philosophy of science. In brief, many scientists recognize that to speak publicly and dogmatically on the existence of God would be hubristic, pompous, and absurd, but Ms Angier would apparently like to see them do it anyway.

Nevertheless, at least these were interesting ponderings, even if they were philosophically maladroit. Most of the rest of her essay leaves the reader scratching his head trying to figure out how what she writes has anything to do with the problem of the existence of God.

Limitless Self-Delusion

Syria has been implicated in two recent political assasinations in Lebanon, and Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly called for the utter destruction of Israel. Yet there are those who believe these two criminal nations can be counted on to help bring stability to Iraq. The ability of some people to delude themselves about the nature of our foes seems utterly boundless.

Ramirez has a more realistic appraisal of the aims of Iran in offering to be a broker for peace in Iraq:

Clean Out Baghdad

Mohammed at Iraq the Model gives us a depressing but riveting glimpse of what life is like for an ordinary citizen in Baghdad these days.

It is Iraqis like Mohammed who are the reason it is morally imperative that we crush the insurgency in Baghdad. They've placed their hopes, trust, and the lives of their families in our hands. If we leave, as John "I don't want a bribe now but maybe later" Murtha is demanding, then we abandon people like Mohammed and his family to the cutthroat thugs who burn innocent worshippers to death in the streets.

Upon our withdrawal, anyone who cooperated with the coalition will be hunted down, tortured and killed by these savages. Maybe the Murthas and Pelosis of the world can live with that likelihood, but no one with any decency should be willing to take the risk. If anything, we should be sending in more troops to clean the vermin out of the city so that the people there can live normal lives free from fear and grief.

Read Mohammed's post at the link.