The limits of atheism

From David Warren and the Ottawa Citizen.

“I get such apoplectic letters, whenever I write about “evolutionism,” that I really can’t resist writing about it again. This is not, of course, because I have any desire to tease such correspondents. Perish the thought. Rather, when a writer finds he has hit such a nerve, he can also know that he is approaching a great truth.

In this case, we must ask ourselves why so many people get so excited about an area of science that should not concern them. For most of these correspondents know precious little science, and haven’t the stamina to engage in detailed argument. They are simply shocked and appalled that anyone would dream of challenging what they believe to be the consensus of “qualified experts,” whom they assume are a closed camp of hard-bitten materialists, with no time for religious or poetical flights.

The answer to this question is clear enough. People without a stake in a controversy pay little or no attention to it. They will hardly be vexed by assertions of one party or another, when the result of the controversy cannot touch their lives. It is rather when a person does have a stake, that he begins to care.

It follows that my most apoplectic correspondents have a stake in evolutionary controversies. They imagine themselves to have an impersonal interest in defending science against “religious superstition,” and the dangers to society that the latter might present. They in fact have strong and uncompromising religious beliefs of their own, which they are loath to have questioned.

Much of the “star chamber” atmosphere, that has accompanied the public invigilation of microbiologists such as Michael J. Behe, and other very qualified scientists working on questions of design in natural systems, can only be explained in this way. The establishment wants such research to be stopped, because it challenges the received religious order, of atheist materialism. Any attempt, or suspected attempt, to acknowledge God in scientific proceedings, must be exposed and punished to the limit of the law; or by other ruthless means where the law does not suffice.”

To read more click here.

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