April 4th, 2008

science wins

evolution = faith

You know, there are days when I really am forced to agree with Sam Harris that liberal religious people are more insane than conservative ones. At least they are internally consistent... well, maybe more so... the liberal religious span a range of insanity which is truly their own.

At dinner tonight the one guy at our table professed to be Catholic (it came up naturally in conversation, though I don't remember how exactly), but said that he didn't really by into everything, but he was raised that way and it provided a good moral structure.

I told him I could argue that point, but I didn't press him on it further.

Then as we were chatting, he decided to try to justify himself, and brought up Pascal's Wager.

I pointed out that the wager presumed there was only one right answer for god and you were sure you knew it, or at least that it was that choice or none. The wager made much less sense if you supposed there were actually 1500 religions/gods to choose from.

I think I started rattling him, because then he started to argue that evolution required faith as well.

Yeah, the tired old saw of the religious who suddenly discover they can't back up any of their statements: you are just as bad as we are!

No. I'm afraid it doesn't work that way just because you say so.

I asked him exactly what was it that was being taken on faith and not evidence.

No answer for a while.

Then someone else at the table wondered why there were still sharks after millions of years...

Are you kidding me? The sharks today are not exactly like the sharks of millions of years ago, though they are in the same family. Mammals are just a little more diverse than sharks... but we also live in a more complex and changeable environment, with a lot more biological niches. Sharks are well adapted to the one they occupy. Why would evolution change them?

So still, no answer. I think this guy needs to go back and retake college biology because he's got a lot of serious misconceptions about evolution if he thinks there is anything about "faith" to it.

And the irony, of course, is that even Pope John Paul II thought evolution was for real. I don't recall him ever taking it "on faith". Yeah, God revealed to Darwin, his new prophet... wouldn't really go over well to the Catholic hierarchy, so it can't be for that reason.