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Book review: Science’s Blind Spot: Making sense of Darwin’s devout


When I first encountered Biola adjunct prof Cornelius G. Hunter’s Science’s Blind Spot: The Unseen Religion of Scientific Naturalism (Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2007), I was intrigued by the possibility that it might help me understand the people who want to destroy the careers of anyone who doubts that Darwinian evolution can produce mind from mud, and ultimately you from goo.

I fear it is somewhat like trying to understand the jihadis. Friends have told me that, to understand jihadis, I must try, at least briefly, to see the world as they do. Similarly, to understand Darwin’s most committed followers, I must undergo a similar mental exercise. For me at least, such exercises do not result in conversion to the alien belief system; rather, they help me make decisions about how to deal more effectively with the believers.

Blind Spot led to a surprising discovery: According to Hunter, the Darwinists are much more religious than I am. Many of them – especially the ones who attend church – are zealous for God’s honour in a way that I would never think of. For them, God is too great to provide evidence for his work in any sense that I could view and understand. And this universe is not good enough to have been created by him.
Read the rest at:

Part One: Theological naturalism: Why we owe it to God to believe in Darwin
Part Two: Rationalism vs. empiricism: What must be true vs. what the evidence shows
Part Three: Why rationalists cannot live with uncertainty

I have just finished Cornelius Hunter's book, Science's Blind Spot and highly recommend it. I believe it is as important as Behe's Edge of Evolution in understanding what the debate is all about. You will never ask again what a Theistic Evolutionist believes and why they believe it. The origin of Darwin's ideas are all religious. IF this sounds strange to anyone then they should read the book. It is an excellent history of the debate over naturalistic methods and why they dominate science and why any challenge to them is considered coming from the unwashed. Hunter is a defender of ID so it is from a pro ID point of view that this book is written. It is inexpensive and not a long read and will make your blood boiil a little but is essential if one wants to understand the debate. jerry
Good questions StephenB. I might add: Given the deterministic nature of naturalism, how could it absolve the God who created those natural forces of anything, thereby protecting his honor? And I agree with what Janice said: Instead these people have decided for themselves, using their own puny, earth-bound, mental resources, what the answers to these questions should be. In so doing they have, most arrogantly, set themselves up as judges of God. Whenever I hear someone say something like, "Well, my God would never..." or "The God I believe in would..." it sets off red flags for me. It makes me wonder whether they've traded in golden idols made with hands for golden images made with minds. The I AM is who He is. And He has ever chosen revelation through His Word and His works as the way to be known. Phinehas
Isn't Darwinian theory based on the premise of random mutation? How is something random yet certain? Wouldn't the fact that this(Evolution) occurs under a random lineage not guided by anything other than survival make common ancestory somewhat completely uncertain? If there are multiple routes that you can take with only slight alterations between these organisms wouldn't it be kind of silly to specify lineage? And if we are to believe in accelerated evolution such as punctuated equilibrium doesn't that make it finding such lineages even more ridiculous? Stone
I would be inclined to challenge Hunter’s assumption that religious faith motivates theistic naturalists. If they really think they are honoring God, I would put the following questions to them. Historically, science found its confidence and conceived its methods on one unifying principle---God created rational minds and a corresponding rational universe. Why do you suddenly no longer believe that? If you are a Christian, how is it that you ignore the possibility that God created a perfect world with perfect designs only to have them both compromised by the effects of original sin? Have you been beguiled by Kant’s skeptical epistemology that relegates things such as design in nature to the status of a mental construct even before the investigation begins? Why do you discount Dembski”s distinction between “perfect design” and “optimum design,” and why do you not find the explanation plausible? Sorry, but it seems to me that these theistic naturalists are moved by anti-religious motives. They want to have their God and their Darwin too. More precisely, they want a quiet God and a noisy Darwin, because they prefer the way Darwin does business. StephenB
"If they reject evidence with regard to the natural world, they are not scientists." Did you notice that when the ASA people were here a few months ago that they insisted that we discuss theology. ASA is a scientific organization of Christians but theology seems to trump science for them when it gets to the core of their religious beliefs and evolution is one of those core elements. Theology is thus the apparent driver for their scientific beliefs in certain areas. Does this sound familiar? jerry
If they reject evidence with regard to the natural world, they are not scientists. If they destroy someone's reputation because of the evidence that person presents, they are not Christians. tribune7
Bob O'H: "‘Devout’ is an adjective, so it needs a noun." No, devout is used here as a noun, just as you could use any number of adjectives that are also used as nouns when referring to a group of people: righteous, damned, faithful, select, lost, saved, confused, elect, informed, ignorant, etc. It's not hard to come up with examples. SCheesman
jerry - what is it that Darwin is possessing? 'Devout' is an adjective, so it needs a noun. Bob Bob O'H
Off Topic; Hi Ms. O'Leary, I thought you might like to know about this new pro-ID web site run by a teacher (professor!). http://professorsmith.wordpress.com/2007/09/28/those-rotten-idists-and-their-tricky-movies-part-ii/ He (or She) has even got a recent piece on the ID controversy brewing in Canada,,, So I thought you might want to take a look at the site. Maybe even drop a note. bornagain77
Bob, O'H, Makes sense to me. What am I missing? I haven't read the book but apparently there are some religious people for who Darwin is part of their theology. jerry
Sorry, but is there a word missing in the title of this post? It doesn't make sense at the moment. Bob Bob O'H
Theistic naturalism sounds very high-minded and honouring of God yet what it's really honouring are human ideas about what God's honour requires. That is, it does not allow God's revelation of Himself, through his Word and through nature, to dictate how we should understand who He is, what He is like and what He requires. Instead these people have decided for themselves, using their own puny, earth-bound, mental resources, what the answers to these questions should be. In so doing they have, most arrogantly, set themselves up as judges of God. It's just another silly argument from personal incredulity and reminds me of something I read once about the Muslim attitude to Jesus. According to Muslims Jesus could not have died on the cross because God would not have let such a shameful thing happen. I can't now find the actual article where I read that but this Wikepedia article offers something of the flavour of it.
it is “God's practice” (sunnat Allah ) to make faith triumph finally over the forces of evil and adversity. ... For Jesus to die on the cross would have meant the triumph of his executioners; but the Quran asserts that they undoubtedly failed: “Assuredly God will defend those who believe”; (XXII, 49). ... The Qur'an asserts that Jesus was a righteous Prophet and that he had a special relationship with God. Also, the Qur'an rejects the use of the word "begotten" when used to describe this special relationship Jesus had with God. "Begetting" is, by definition, having an offspring with characteristics of the parent. The Qur'an view such an act as undignifying to the majesty of God and an act of polytheism.
[...] you can link to a series of essays that will help explain how Darwinists think. See this Essay: Book Review: Science’s Blind Spot: Making Sense of Darwin’s Devout. I haven’t had time to read it all yet. Still, for what it’s worth, maybe you’ll [...] Some Blogs to Visit for Evolution Information « Life Under the Blue Sky: The View From Below

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