Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Ethics — Rick Moran @ 4:59 am

As promised, I will not say another word about the ID vs. Evolution debate. I wll however, publish in its entirety, a comment left by my blogbuddy, fellow “24″ fanatic, and Wide Awakes comrade The Maryhunter.

His is a muscular Christianity. He’s also a scientist. And besides that, goddamnit, he’s a helluva writer and makes some sense on this issue.

Thank you Rick, for launching this valuable debate, and the other commentators. I especially thank folks like Jay, Thomas (really spot on, Tom!), Cap’n Wolff, and my colleague Bergbikr, who held firm and argued their reasonable points against the buffets and spitting from those who dismiss ID as kookish at best, and scientific blasphemy at worst.

I am a molecular biologist, an honorary medical geneticist, and a dedicated Roman Catholic, who sees Genesis stories as just that: valuable myths told to Man by God about his origins, the right story at the right time. (Plenty of other cultures have their parallel creation stories, and all in context.) What has unfolded as Scientific Objectivity vis a vis Man’s growing capacity to understand his own vast domain called Universe has, basically since the enlightenment (give or take), increasingly striven to deny God a role in this Universe other than perhaps a silent observer. (Though Darwin and Einstein, the two fathers of 20th Century science, were fierce believers, if I’m not mistaken.)

To deny God a role in Creation is, for a Believer, illogical. And, there are ever so many believers out there… so what to do? Simply find that all believers must be illogical? Are we all wrong, because there is no “objective” proof of God’s existence? (Yea, and I’d like to see some objective proof for String Theory, or it’s latest mathematical enabler, Membrane Theory.) Or shall we believers simply hush up, go underground, pretend there is no God when it comes to Science?

Methinks we who care about this issue should, as Bergbikr suggests, go read Teilhard. Me also thinks, as Rick does, that biomedical science is clearly the very backbone of our economy ca. 21st Century.

However, as a scientist I see utterly no threat from ID. The argument that fundamentalist zealots will undermine science education is hogwash. Science is about being excited by your world and wanting to learn more. Both my children are terribly fascinated with their world, as my wife and I were as kids, and we both read plenty of Bible Stories as children… as ours do now.

Maybe it’s because I’m a Believer that I have faith in Mankind’s power to put the puzzle together in the ways that are necessary to cure cancers, better understand what genetics are behind predisposition to heart disease and stroke, help the Parkinson patient to walk again, create bioprocessors far faster than silicon chips, engineer crops to feed a hungry third world (if the freaking moonbats will let us do it, that is!).

And improbable as it may seem to some, I guarantee it’s true that none of this future technological glory will be threatened or precluded by a belief that God Himself intervened with that last, crucial step that got those monkeys to figure out that the bone was a tool, after all. Because that’s what I see this whole argument is about, after all: becoming human. And human pride.

Do I resent those who have summarily dismissed me and my brethren as ignoramii? Not really. The intellectual challenge is fun (more so when free of insults, but no matter). Rather, I am cheered to imagine God smiling down, watching with love and pride as we little humans, with all our egos, pick around His wondrous creation and piece the puzzle together, in between bickering.

I’m also pleased to know of so many biologists, physicians, chemists, engineers, and mathematicians who are Believers and even still don’t let it get in the way of their goal: to be the very best they can be at pushing back the frontiers of the Scientific Enterprise.


  1. The Evolution vs. Intelligent Design Argument Rocks On at RWNH

    Rick Moran — Wide Awakes blogbuddy, deep thinker, extraordinary writer, and purveyor of one of the the finest establishments in the blogosphere (Rightwing Nuthouse) — has done it again: unabashedly flattered me (or cleverly set me up, sti…

    Trackback by TMH's Bacon Bits — 8/5/2005 @ 7:01 am

  2. [...] a bit more balanced, sober, and eloquent discussion from both sides.) 5 Aug 2005: “THE MARYHUNTER WEIGHS IN ON ID” (Feeling s [...]

    Pingback by TMH’s Bacon Bits » Blog Archive » The Evolution vs. Intelligent Design Argument Rocks On at RWNH — 8/5/2005 @ 7:12 am

  3. Well, I’m not very eloquent but I know what I believe. I witnessed the birth of my second grandchild on July 24th. It is a miracle from God and nothing else. I think that God designed us in his image and placed us on this earth, that is just the right distance from the sun, to sustain life. Now I think the sciencist have to figure out what God has done.

    Comment by Lucy Stern — 8/5/2005 @ 8:53 am

  4. Bush Remarks On ‘Intelligent Design’ Theory Fuel D

    If natural selection is truly the scientific basis of our existence and survival, then wouldn’t homosexuals be extinct by now? I mean, it’s hard for a species to survive or thrive if there’s no procreatin’ goin’ on, right Barney? If I were gay, I…

    Trackback by OC Chronicle — 8/5/2005 @ 11:00 am

  5. There is a big problem with polemic between Creationism and Evolutionism - antagonists simply can’t reach one another across a logical chasm. Evolution involves the science of biology, which utilizes experimental tools of prediction, observation and verification to build a theoretical construct. Creation inhabits the world of religious faith and philosophy, activities of the mind.

    But it is possible to think outside the box and encompass both realities. To illustrate, I quote my previous post on this premier site:

    “I remember well decades ago when a fundamentalist Christian type of colleague (patent lawyer) and I, a Catholic and Caltech bred chemical engineer, went backpacking in the high Sierra. Imagine racking out in sleeping bags, looking up into the stars and discussing Creationism vs. Evolution. I drove him nuts positing the reasonableness of both – concurrently. “Not in the Bible,” sayeth he. OK, sez I, but God is a clever Guy and imagine the elegance of setting Creation up like a big ol’ partial differential equation. Set the Initial Conditions (Big Bang?) and the Boundary Conditions (daren’t presume here) and let the equation run through time – but maybe, here ‘n’ there, perturb the system with a shot of self-consciousness and eventually ‘soul.’ That is elegance!”

    The MaryHunter cited my reference to Teilhard above and I continue the quote and expand on this remarkable man:

    “A French Jesuit-Scientist, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was able to capture these concepts in a marvelous fusion of evolutionary science (paleontology) and theologically informed philosophical speculation. His seminal work is “The Phenomenon of Man.”

    “This work outlined a sweep of ongoing creation, of a developing universe. In particular, he speculated on the progression of an inanimate earth to the generation of simple life and then the growth of cognition and finally the ultimate complexity of spiritualization. From alpha to omega, Himself (Herself?). This is indeed the flight of time’s arrow, pointedly urging onward the upright ape, scampering up-slope to human heights and embracing ultimately the Beatific Vision and union of all creation with God. Now, that is quite a mouthful and mindful!”

    Unfortunately atheists and agnostics deprive themselves of this big picture.

    Comment by Bergbikr — 8/6/2005 @ 11:31 am

  6. As an engineer, scientist and Christian, I see no incompatibility between science and my religion. Note I said science and not evolution. Evolution is an unproven theory at the level that the evolutionist uses it to account for all living things. Curiously, unfettered belief in the absoluteness of evolution elevates it to the positon of a god.

    Comment by docdave — 8/6/2005 @ 12:04 pm

  7. I am an engineer but I find that the more that I learned in the field of science and mathematics, the more that I realized that I am ignorant and fairly insignificant which causes me to look to a higher power.

    Comment by AMC — 8/6/2005 @ 8:26 pm

  8. A Few Thoughts on Science and Imagination

    I think including some philosophical discussions (where applicable) can help students see that free and open discussions are part of what science is about. Students need to understand that theories represent our best current understanding of a scienc…

    Trackback by geosciblog — 8/8/2005 @ 1:53 am

  9. Einstein had no belief in a personal God such as the God of the Bible. Darwin lost all belief and died an atheist.

    Your statement about Einstein, while possibly technically correct, is misleading at best. Einstein was a firm believer in God as a creator of the universe. Darwin studied, enthusiastically, theology early in his career. It was not uncommon for theologeons to be naturalists as they saw directive to learn and understand God’s creation. Prior to the twentienth century, science was often the pursuit of religious people. But they were usually not the ones cowed by dogma in favour of reporting the world as they observed it.

    I am rather disappointed to read some of what I am seeing here. Scientists should not be so cavalier about the current rage over ID v. evolution being taught in schools. As scientists, you should be well aware that ID is not a scientific theory, by any stretch. And the debate is not one of whether evolution discounts the existance of God; it does not and no scientist would tell you that it does. The argument is about wheter ID is to be taught as an alternative “theory” to evolution, something it clearly is not. I have no problem with ID or creationism being taught is school as a separate subject, but it does not belong in science class. And you as scientists should know that.

    This is an issue that proponents of ID are insisting that the state sponsor a particular idealogy. If ID is ok to teach as a “theory,” why not Norse or Greek mythology and the attendant stories about the beginning of the universe? You cannot claim one mythical story is preferential to others without demonstrating the true agenda being pursued by creationists.

    The fact is that our pursuit of an understanding of the universe and its various subsystems and the laws that govern those does not conflict with a belief in God. No scientific theory has ever made any statement that God does not exists. What science does conflict with is a literalistic interpretation of the Bible, and that is what has creationists steamed and that is why they are pursuing this ID agenda with such vigour.

    I would also like to say that this some of the more interesting and sane discussion of this subject i have seen around the blogs. While disagreements are present, the tone is a pleasant relief from what I have usually seen.

    I wrote something about this here. If you get a chance, let me know what you think or just leave a comment. thanks.


    Comment by ken — 8/8/2005 @ 4:00 pm

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