THE BLOG
10/03/2014 05:47 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

God Redux

2014-10-03-God_and_Man_at_Yale.jpg

In a Times Op-Ed piece entitled "God, Darwin and My College Biology Class" (NYT, 9/27/14), David P. Barash, an evolutionary biologist and professor of psychology at the University of Washington makes the following assertion:

"The more we know of evolution, the more unavoidable is the conclusion that living things, including human beings, are produced by a natural, totally amoral process, with no indication of a benevolent, controlling creator."

Adding benevolent to the mix complicates the argument. Let's make it simple. Does science explain everything? For instance, Thomas Nagel, a professor of philosophy and law at NYU and an avowed atheist has asked how naturalism

"can account for the appearance, through the operation of the laws of physics and chemistry, of conscious beings like ourselves, capable of discovering those laws and understanding the universe that they govern."

("A Philosopher Defends Religion," The New York Review of Books, 9/22/12). The philosopher John Searle has remarked that free will and quanta are unanswered questions. Add to that the question of how something could be created out of nothing, an old favorite on the disenchantment talk circuit. Everyone wants certainty. Those who believe don't like it that science diminishes or extinguishes God's role. Those who hone to a rationalist and analytic view of the world quote the last proposition of Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus,

"Whereof one cannot speak, thereof must one be silent."

But such certainties are neither spiritual nor scientific. Hamlet's famous line,

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy"

still points to the fact that we may have to leave open items on our teleological agendas.

{This was originally posted to The Screaming Pope, Francis Levy's blog of rants and reactions to contemporary politics, art and culture}