Monday, November 21, 2005

God and Science

Suzanne Fields has written an interesting article on the intersection of Scientific Theory and Religious Belief. The only problem is that I'm far from sure what point she intended to make.

Fields starts out repeating an argument by David Sloan Wilson that religious beliefs might be a survival characteristic.
The Wilson argument rests on a Darwinian analysis of what contributes to evolution. Darwin wrote that tribes with a high degree of fidelity, obedience, courage and sympathy, always prepared to sacrifice themselves for the common good, would triumph over other tribes and thus be more likely to survive. This view perceives society as a single organism; since religious men and women historically aim to encourage such traits within their community, Mr. Wilson believes they were favored by natural selection.
I'm not exactly sure how to take this. It seems to suggest that we should build religious society, regardless of whether such religious belief is founded in reality or not. But many, if not most, religious people would argue that their beliefs are based on reality. That's sort of the point, isn't it?

At any rate, Fields larger point seems to suggest that Religion and Science are not as intrinsically antagonistic as some would say. I gather she supports intelligent design, but prefers the more scientifically rigorous versions of that theory. But mostly she wants this argument to stop generating so much heat and noise without accomplishing anything. Not sure I disagree with her, although we would, presumably, disagree on who is responsible for keeping up the pressure.

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