You can find this New York Times article here.
David Barash uses this article to lay out his hard-line position on the coexistence of science and religion, a position that is controversial and hopefully thought provoking!
Barash is a biology professor, who looks at evolution the same way our friend Jerry Coyne does, noting that “many Americans don’t grasp the fact that evolution is not merely a ‘theory,’ but the underpinning of all biological science.” He feels it is an essential part of his class, but finds that many of his religious students are troubled by how to reconcile their faith and evolution. To address these concerns, he delivers The Talk.
He begins by discussing the idea that religion and evolutionary biology are compatible. Some thinkers, like Stephen Jay Gould, say that religion can deal with values, science can deal with facts, and everyone can be happy. Barash believes this is a harmful misrepresentation, but acknowledges the widespread acceptance of this “accommodating” way of thinking.
Barash counters this concept by pointing to several pillars of belief that evolution has undermined. First is the argument of complexity, which claimed that the incredible beauty of the Earth must have a creator- the development of complex systems was explained by natural selection. Second is the idea of human centrality and purpose- evolution has shown that we are all animals, and all linked in the same biological chain. Additionally, natural processes are full of death and pain, showing no signs of a benevolent creator.
Barash concludes that these discoveris have made the acceptance of religion and science untenable. His students may continue with their faith, but “they will have to undertake some challenging mental gymnastic routines.” In any case, science should no longer have to jump through these religious hoops.
Bold words! Do you place yourself in the Gould’s camp (coexistence) or Barash’s (not)? Did reading the article shift your position? Will enough evidence ever completely edge out religious beliefs and make us all like Barash? How does Barash’s firm declaration compare to other statements we’ve heard from the pope or Islamic study centers?
Barash, David P. “God, Darwin and My College Biology Class.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 27 Sept. 2014. Web. 24 Nov. 2014.