Saturday, February 09, 2008

Saturday Night Deep Thoughts

Here's an interesting interview with John Haught, a Catholic theologian who testified against intelligent design in the Dover court case. It is a wide ranging discussion, touching on everything from why neuroscience probably won't be able to explain "subjective experience" to why he dislikes the "new atheism" of Dawkins and Hitchens:
Nietzsche, Sartre and Camus would have cringed at "the new atheism" because they would see it as dropping God like Santa Claus, and going on with the same old values. The new atheists don't want to think out the implications of a complete absence of deity. Nietzsche, as well as Sartre and Camus, all expressed it quite correctly. The implications should be nihilism. [...] I don't have any objection to the idea that atheists can be good and morally upright people. But we need a worldview that is capable of justifying the confidence that we place in our minds, in truth, in goodness, in beauty. I argue that an atheistic worldview is not capable of justifying that confidence.
Unfortunately, he ducks the follow-up question about Camus, who I always thought had the best response to this argument. He also talks about Einstein's discomfort with a "personal god":
Einstein was a man who thought the laws of physics have to be completely inviolable. [...] So the idea of a responsive God -- a God who answers prayers -- would have to violate the laws of physics, the laws of nature. This is why Einstein said the problem of science and religion is caused by the belief in a personal God. But it's not inevitable that a responsive God violates the laws of physics and chemistry. I don't think God does violate those laws.
I confess, I didn't think he elaborated convincingly on how that would work. Still, its a very interesting chat with someone who has thought a lot about how science and religion might play well together. Of course, if that is still to much religion for you, check out the top 50 atheist bumper stickers (#42 is my favorite). H/t to boppyjean for the article.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

My favorites out of the 50 are 12 and 34. I also like the article about
economic theory of relativity, that you have a quick click on side.
Mom

Tim said...

Hi Mom - yeah, I thought that was a really interesting take on economics too. Seems like people have been talking more and more about how the free market doesn't always work as designed.

Rachel Rev said...

Yeah, 42 was my favorite, too.

Jessica said...

I might get the chance to interview Richard Dawkins for Goodreads in a couple months. What should I ask him??