C. S. Lewis on Science

C. S. Lewis on Science January 30, 2015

C. S. Lewis Discovery InstituteA couple of years ago, I attended the premiere of the Discovery Institute’s video The Magician’s Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society.

The Discovery Institute is a Seattle-based think tank whose Center for Science and Culture (CSC) is dedicated to undermining public support for evolution. Though evolution wasn’t a main theme for this video, rejection of evolution and a positive case for Intelligent Design are the goals in two subsequent videos.

Discovery Institute

Before I review the film, take a look at the organization that created it. The budget of the CSC is reportedly $4 million per year. The agendas of foundations and wealthy individuals who contribute include the goal of “total integration of biblical law into our lives” and commitment to “the infallibility of the Scripture”—acceptable goals in a free society but incompatible with the scientific goal of following the facts where they lead without crippling it with an agenda.

In a reasonable world, an organization dedicated to exploring the limits of biology would be staffed with biologists—people who actually understand the science and who are capable of evaluating itBut, unsurprising to any observer of Creationism and related fields, there are very few here. There are lots of doctorates among their 40-odd fellows, but as for relevant ones, I could only find these two:

  • Michael Behe has a doctorate in biochemistry. Though he proposed the clever concept of irreducible complexity, he accepts common descent (the idea that all life has a common ancestor), a view rejected by most in the Creationism and Intelligent Design movements.
  • Jonathan Wells has a doctorate in molecular and cell biology, but Wells has made clear his agenda: “[The words of Rev. Sun Myung Moon], my studies, and my prayers convinced me that I should devote my life to destroying Darwinism.” While I applaud his honesty, this agenda is at odds with science.

Creationism

The approach of the Creationism industry is similar to the tactic of “fear, uncertainty, and doubt” used in the computer industry. Back in the mainframe computer days, IBM’s product was more expensive. IBM salesmen were said to soften up reluctant customers by reminding them, “Keep in mind that no one was ever fired for buying IBM.” In other words: you pay a little more and you’ll get a reliable product, but if you cut corners, you may find yourself out of a job.

The Creationist version is to acknowledge the fruits of science but then mention hoaxes (Piltdown man, the Cardiff giant) or errors (ether, geocentrism) or dangers (radioactivity, surveillance) or embarrassments (eugenics, Tuskegee syphilis experiment). Are you really sure about this whole science thing?

Creationism saying that science is valuable is a bit like Mark Antony saying in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, “Brutus is an honorable man.”

And that approach colored The Magician’s Twin. It was a mixture of sensible cautions against a thoughtless acceptance of all things scientific—“if it comes from science, it must be worth adopting,” or “if science says so, it must be true”—and a subtle undercutting of the credibility of science.

Lewis felt that science and magic are twins in three ways.

1. Science as religion. Consider the crowd of atheists that attended the national Reason Rally, science giving meaning to people’s lives, and Darwin Day celebrations. This is what religion does!

Is that all religion is—community, meaning, and celebration? No, the supernatural is fundamental to the meaning of religion. Indeed, this supernatural-free caricature of religion seems insulting to believers.

I attended the Reason Rally, and yes, that sort of community is a valuable thing. The Sunday Assembly is a weekly gathering for atheists that is becoming popular. Religious people and atheists find value in community, meaning, and celebration, but they don’t share belief in the supernatural. Science is quite plainly neither religion nor magic.

2. Science as credulity. Science discourages skepticism and encourages gullibility. And what is it built on? C.S. Lewis said, “If my own mind is a product of the irrational, how shall I trust my mind when it tells me about evolution?”

This is a variant of Alvin Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism (addressed here). If evolution were true and your mind were honed by natural selection (those minds that thoroughly understood reality being more likely to survive than those that didn’t), we’d expect it to give you a fairly trustworthy account of reality.

As for skepticism and gullibility, I’ll grant that public science education is poor, science is dangerously misunderstood within society, and politicians sometimes fall over themselves to dismiss the scientific consensus when unpleasant. Let’s work together to fix these problems, but don’t pretend that religion is on the right side of this issue.

(I argue that the lay public has no option but to accept the scientific consensus here.)

3. Science as power. Much of science is devoted to power over nature. Unlike magic, you actually can control people with science. Eugenics, drone aircraft, bar codes, transhumanism, and surveillance cameras are some of the many technologies that have downsides.

Let’s be clear on what does what. Science does its best to tell us what is true about nature, and policy decides what to do with this information. You don’t like eugenics? Fine, but don’t blame science for it. “We should sterilize population category X” is a policy statement, not a scientific statement. “Here’s what you need to know about optics to make a video camera work” is from science; “We should install surveillance cameras in public places to reduce crime” is from politics.

In the Q&A afterwards, the video’s director raised concerns about groupthink within biology. Sure, following the crowd rather than the evidence should be avoided, but is this really a major problem? It reminded me of a powerful story Richard Dawkins told in The God Delusion about a senior lecturer in the Oxford zoology department. The professor believed that one feature of the cell was an artifact and didn’t actually exist. One day a visiting American lecturer presented evidence powerful enough to convince even this skeptic.

At the end of the lecture, the old man strode to the front of the hall, shook the American by the hand and said—with passion—“My dear fellow, I wish to thank you. I have been wrong these fifteen years.” We clapped our hands red.

Wow—talk about a teachable moment.

The video does raise appropriate cautions about science. But how do we constrain science as a force for good without taking the nonsensical path of encouraging citizens to pick and choose their scientific truths for themselves? My suggestions:

  • Don’t confuse the debate of scientific ideas within Science with the debate within the public. We laypeople can debate what we think of science, but we don’t decide scientific truth. Science is not a democracy, and we’re stuck with the scientific consensus as the best provisional approximation of the truth. Skepticism doesn’t mean that everyone decides their scientific truth.
  • Don’t confuse science (a decent approximation of what is true) with policy (what to do about it). Science is the domain of scientists; policy is the domain of politicians and the society to which they answer.
  • Understand that science can get it wrong and that its pronouncements are always provisional. Science can get railroaded by powerful interests with an agenda–corporations, grant makers, or politicians for example. To minimize this, let’s encourage transparency and motivate science in the direction that’s best for society. When a study of the safety of phosphorescent zucchini is funded by the company that wants to sell this new vegetable, that doesn’t invalidate the research, but make this funding known.
  • Demand public scrutiny of policies with downsides. The European Union puts the burden of proof that a new policy is not harmful on the proponent of that policy. This Precautionary Principle makes sense, though it may have been used to demand scientific certainty, which science can never provide. We must find the right balance between reckless application of new science and timid immobility.
  • Demand strong science education in schools. Ridicule politicians who reject the scientific consensus when it is uncomfortable. These are necessary for national competitiveness as well as self-respect.

Yes, it is rare that one disputant in an argument convinces another.
Thomas Jefferson said he had never seen it happen,
but that seems too harsh.
It happens in science all the time.
— Carl Sagan

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 8/13/12.)

Photo credit: www.cslewisweb.com


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  • katiehippie

    “If my own mind is a product of the irrational, how shall I trust my mind when it tells me about evolution?”

    For that matter, why trust it when it tells you god exists?

    • Indeed, that type of thinking could be applied to anything. It sounds solipsistic to me.

      • Esquilax

        So much of creationist argumentation is basically solipsism dressed up in fancy clothes, perhaps softened to be merely an attempt to elevate what one perceives over what can be objectively known. You can see it in the repeated “same evidence, different interpretations,” line, or William Lane Craig’s “self authenticating witness of the holy spirit,” where what he feels about god will even trump conclusive evidence to the contrary, to name a few. Creationism is basically a whole movement dedicated to arguing that what you believe is more important than what’s true, that what you feel trumps what can be demonstrated, which I guess makes sense, for a movement so bereft of any form of demonstrability.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s not only bereft of demonstrability, it runs from it.

      • TheNuszAbides

        welcome to most of Lewis’s brighter moments.

  • Charleigh Kimber

    “Michael Behe has a doctorate in biochemistry. Though he proposed the clever concept of irreducible complexity…”

    If I’m not mistaken, though, Darwin addressed and refuted that idea in Origin. Being incredibly far behind isn’t too abnormal with YEC’s and ID proponents, though. In newspaper opinion page exchanges, a YEC “scientist” (turned out to be an engineer, Salem’s Law!) ended up presenting me with “facts” about Evolutionary Theory that turned out to be from a debunked paper that was almost one hundred and twenty-five years old.

    I kind of sort of made fun of him for not being able to use Google, and he informed me that he could too use it, he even owned TWO computers, a “regular” one and a laptop. Checkmate!

    • It does sound like there should be a law for that, but I can’t find “Salem’s Law” online. Can you point me to a definition?

      I hadn’t heard that Darwin had wrestled with irreducible complexity. If so, perhaps I should’ve said that Behe reintroduced the idea.

      And, of course, the problem is that once you show plausible mechanisms for blood clotting and the bacterial flagellum, they’ll just find new puzzles and insist that you solve them first. And repeat.

      • Charleigh Kimber

        Ack I’m sorry, it’s the Salem Hypothesis. I sabotaged your searches there. It’s so common that I noticed it long before I’d heard that it was a “thing”; it sounds as if you did, also.

        http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Salem_Hypothesis

        Darwin did address the argument that the human eye was too complex to have evolved. YEC’s frequently quote mine him, ignoring what he said in the very next sentence (that it is not so), and that at some later point he listed different types of eyes, beginning with simple eyespots to detect light and moving up in complexity, illustrating that it was very easy to imagine their evolution.

        At any rate, the “irreducible complexity” argument is taken down by the concept that an organ does not necessarily retain the same function through every stage of its evolutionary development. YECs actually shoot their own argument in the foot by claiming that there’s no such thing as a vestigial organ, and that the appendix serves a purpose by serving as, basically, a bacterial storage bank.

        The appendix is the analogue to the cecum found in herbivores. In humans (and apes?) it shrank by random mutation over countless generations once evolutionary pressure for its presence abated. If it does currently serve as a backup system in case the gut bacteria are decimated (as is the YEC claim), then that actually strengthens Evolutionary Theory (and by extension, weakens “irreducible complexity”) by demonstrating that evolution can result in an organ that can’t be reverse-engineered.

        Arguing for IC is a lot like pulling a wooden board out of the bottom of a boat and then claiming that there’s no other simpler use for the board, therefore it must have grown that way to keep water off your feet.

        And, of course, the problem is that once you show plausible mechanisms
        for blood clotting and the bacterial flagellum, they’ll just find new
        puzzles and insist that you solve them first. And repeat.

        Well, we all know that finding a missing link just creates two more missing links, so therefore the more evidence you have, the less evidence you have. 😛

        • Yes, I’m familiar with Darwin’s approach to discussing a tough problem … and then showing a plausible explanation for it. That’s handy for quote miners and other liars.

          But that’s just a complex organ, not irreducible complexity. Irreducible complexity is when every component of something is necessary for its proper function at the moment (remove any protein from a flagellum, and it doesn’t become a less-nifty flagellum, it becomes junk).

          That nicely shows that the prior step in evolution was probably not the addition of a part, but of course a prior step could’ve been the removal of a part. That rather obvious option doesn’t seem to trouble the YECs.

          Play back the video of the building of an arch, and you see that the last step was not the addition of the keystone, but the removal of the last bit of scaffolding.

        • Pofarmer

          Evolutionally speaking, I doubt the eye started in higher life forms, even. Was watching some video footage of tardigrades the other night, and I noticed they have an eye spot. We have probably lost the actual beginning of eyes, but eyes didn’t all of a sudden develope with mammals.

        • Greg G.

          I’ve seen explanations where it would start out as light sensitivity in worms so they would get in the shade to avoid sunburn. Then a dimple would give them feedback for the direction the light came from. Then a hollow place would create a pin-hole camera for an eye. Then a clear lens would help with focusing. The explanations give examples of animals alive today with each step in the development. That’s for vertebrates. Invertebrates had different paths developing compound eyes and eyes in mollusks that have more logical retinas.

        • GubbaBumpkin

          We have probably lost the actual beginning of eyes…

          “Molecular Fossils”

          Walter Gehring: Master Control Genes and the Evolution of the Eye

        • GubbaBumpkin
        • GubbaBumpkin

          Also known as the Salem Conjecture

          The Salem Conjecture was proposed by Bruce Salem on the newsgroup talk.origins [The Salem Conjecture]. Here’s how he described it on Sept. 5, 1996…

    • Greg G.

      “Interlocking complexity” was predicted about 95 years ago from Darwinian principles by H. J. Muller.

      Irreducible Complexity is really irreducible simplicity. Separate systems can create a function but will have duplicate subfunctions from their independent development. Then the duplicated subfunctions can be deleted until it reaches the minimum number required.

      • Charleigh Kimber

        Thank you, I’m going to try to memorize the Mullerian Two-Step and bridge example for easy future reference.

  • “The Creationist version is to acknowledge the fruits of science but then mention hoaxes (Piltdown man, the Cardiff giant) or errors (ether, geocentrism) or dangers (radioactivity, surveillance) or embarrassments (eugenics, Tuskegee syphilis experiment)”.
    Well, they should realise the same arguments can be forwarded against religion
    (in this case, Christian religion):
    1) hoaxes (fictional martyrs, fictional relics, etc.)
    2) errors (heliocentrism? anyone?)
    3) dangers (religion-induced psycopathologies, authoritarianism)
    4) embarrassments (Inquisition, Crusades, witch-hunt, support to tyrants…)
    All of this with a huge difference between science and religion, as while the former is morally neutral and patently a man-made endeavour, the second one claims to be a firm moral source from God!

  • Rikki

    C.S. Lewis said, “If my own mind is a product of the irrational, how shall I trust my mind when it tells me about evolution?”

    Great point. You don’t and shouldn’t. We already know that our minds are not terribly reliable from the observation that witness testimony is notoriously unreliable, we are biased by emotion, have faulty memory, etc. That’s the entire point in creating the scientific method to minimize as much as possible those flaws in our reasoning and observation to produce reliable data about reality. An individual mind that thinks up something, like evolution for example which has been confirmed by that reliable process, should not fully trust their senses and develop their thoughts into testable hypotheses that can be falsified by testing by anyone with the capability, regardless of whatever personal beliefs and biases may get in the way of acceptance.

    If, on the other hand, Lewis is talking in a purely rhetorical way, as in “someone told me evolution is true and has been verified by the scientific method and here’s the data” and because my brain is a “product of the irrational” I don’t know whether to believe them and the data or not, we are headed down the worthless rabbit hole of solipsism. If that’s the case, we can just as easily ditch accepting any claims about the supernatural as well and call it a day.

    As Bob has pointed out, science produces the data, what happens with that data is a matter of philosophy and politics. As well, the intentional conflating of science and technology is being presented in order to poison the well of science, the enemy of un-evidenced supernatural and New Agey woo-ish assertions.

    At the end of the day, the real deal here is that because the believers in the supernatural and woo cannot provide “other ways of knowing” (as they frequently assert exists without demonstration or example) that are reliable and more to the point useful, poisoning the well of science is all they have. If it were otherwise, we wouldn’t be subjected to crappy videos based on poor biased “philosophical reasoning” from the Dishonesty Institute.

    • smrnda

      This is a great point. When I hear about human irrationality, I’m reminded of cognitive biases which we know about through the scientific method, and the way that the scientific method acknowledges and corrects for them. If we were reliable reasoning machines, we wouldn’t need such rigorous methodology in research.

      • Greg G.

        Yes, the scientific method is the best method we have for developing knowledge. As soon as a better method comes along, I’m switching to the new and improved method. Why stick to the second best method for acquiring knowledge?

        • MNb

          Small, but important correction: the only method. But yeah, as soon as a better method is developed I jump that bandwagon with you.

  • MNb

    No mention of the IDiots from Seattle is complete without referring to the wedge document.
    Please don’t read this crap if you worry about your mental health:

    http://ncse.com/creationism/general/wedge-document

    The only relevant point is this.

    “Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies.”
    Now you must understand a bit of IDiot speech. With materialism IDiots mean methodological naturalism, ie the effort to understand, describe and explain our reality without using supernatural claims. A synonym of methodological naturalism is simply the scientific method. In other words: the IDiots from the Dishonesty Institute reject science. But they still want to ride the bandwagon called science, so they won’t ever admit it.

    Now I’m not terribly familiar with CS Lewis, besides his silly trilemma. But I guarantee you one thing. IDiot John West making a video on CS Lewis is not being fair on CS Lewis.

    https://sensuouscurmudgeon.wordpress.com/2008/05/03/buffoon-award-winner-john-west/

    • wtfwjtd

      Wow, there’s some major horse crap in that creationism link all right. So, they seek to “overthrow” the scientific method? Do this mean that they won’t use computers, refrigeration, automobiles, electricity, and dozens of other inventions that science has brought to us that makes our lives more comfortable? No? Didn’t think so; just more hypocritical nonsense designed to placate the faithful. People just don’t think this stuff through.

      • Pofarmer

        I say they use all the modern devices brought about by revelation.

      • MNb

        I warned you. I never made it beyond the introduction.

      • Greg G.

        Does it say anything about “Darwinism” being overthrown in the next 5, 10, or 15 years? A guy at work told me that in the mid-90s. I reminded him about that in 2010. I had recalled hearing that in the mid- 70 as a believer. It turns out that Christians were saying the same thing about gradual ism in geology in the mid- 20s… By that, I mean 1825.

        • Castilliano

          Buddy, it’s just as imminent as Jesus’ return!!!
          Oh…wait…

        • wtfwjtd

          I confess Greg, I didn’t, or couldn’t, read that whole article, the stupid was just too overpowering. Sometimes I’m just not as strong as I used to be, I guess.

      • TheNuszAbides

        oh, they worked it out with – i forget which part of the Trinity heads up the Espionage Bureau, but a dispensation from that bit – to ‘bring the system down from within’ it’s okay to appear to rely on Godless Tech… when nobody’s looking they can just use the ol’ Mustardseed Mountain-Mover.

  • RichardSRussell

    Forgive me if I seem to be sucking up by repeating one of my favorite quotations on this subject:

    Number of things we thought had a supernatural cause and now know don’t: a huge number.

    Number of things we thought had a natural cause and now know don’t: zero.

    Any questions?

    —Bob Seidensticker, Cross Examined blog, 2013 Nov. 16

  • Pofarmer

    So, my wife all of a sudden shows up with a G.K. Chesterton book. I said, tell ya what, i’ll read Chesterton and you read Sagan or Hoffer or Shermer. She replied she would, so I ordered a paper back copy of “The True Believers”. Should he here this week. Well, she takes the boys to church tonight and they come back and the boys tell me the whole Homily is how you should not debate your faith. You shouldn’t give non believers the time of day. Thanks ass hole. What a caustic, bankrupt, brain dead religion.

    • nakedanthropologist

      I have so much sympathy for you and what you’re going through with your wife; I know it’s been incredibly difficult. Perhaps that book will help?

      • Pofarmer

        We’ll see Hoffer hits on all cylinders with an incredibly broad reach.

    • “So, boys, what did you think of that? What does it say to you that a religion has to demand, ‘We’re making it against the rules to question what we say’?”

      • Pofarmer

        Exactly. My boys couldn’t believe it.

        • MNb

          See? I told you to trust your sons! Nobody sees through hypocrisy faster than a 13 year old kid using his/her brains.

        • Pofarmer

          Yes but, they have to be empowered to use that reasoning ability.

      • Pofarmer

        It just seems blatantly hypocritical. How do you go forth and mak disciples of all nations but for Petes sake don’t interact with them.

        • Castilliano

          They can interact, they just can’t discuss their reasoning (or anything of substance). That still leaves giving blatant offense, decrying against ever being offended, emotional carrots & sticks, pithy slogans devoid of meaning, and weaseling into the government.
          And cookies…which I am a bit susceptible to.
          Cheers.

        • TheNuszAbides

          mmm… cookies.

        • TheNuszAbides

          yes, more like: interact, just don’t genuinely exchange.

        • TheNuszAbides

          and right there you have the Perilous-Reefs-of-Critical-Thought book market niche… in which Lewis himself – not a bad storyteller, mind you – whiled away many profitable* hours for the Meandering Derailments subdivision.

          *I have no clue how he sold while alive, but obviously puny mortal money (*spit, throw salt over shoulder*) wasn’t the “real” profit!

      • TheNuszAbides

        … because why would you want to spend even one more minute of your measly earthly existence not being signed up for Eternal Pie-in-the-Sky-when-You-Die?
        literally beggars the imagination…
        (‘what are you gonna do after you get to Heaven?. . . HA! just kidding, silly – it doesn’t matter, since there’ll be nothing to worry about forever! i mean, as long as you don’t start getting big ideas like that Satan jerk, obviously.’)

  • Blizzard

    Looks like the Discovery Institute mounted a C. S. Lewis disinformation and quote-mining campaign. They have a “CS Lewis Web” page (cslewisweb.com) and a youtube page called “CS Lewis” (user/cslewisweb). And who knows what else. I wonder what C. S. Lewis would think of their commandeering his name like that. Makes you wonder what other names they have overtly or covertly appropriated.

  • MNb

    Yesterday evening I was confronted with how sick religion can be. A former brother of law had reconverted to evangelical christianity several years ago. He used to be a strong and vivacious man, who liked to go hunting in the Surinamese jungle (for fun and food – he never shot more than he could eat) and never skipped a “dansi” – a birthday or marriage party.
    Then he was diagnosed with diabetes. Because church he relied on faith healing, despite having lost a brother in exactly that way. When it didn’t work though he decided to rely on medical science after all. As he was late he’s now cripple, no shadow of the man he used to be.
    I didn’t dare to ask if he still visited his church.
    At such moments I can fully empathize with Pofarmer’s disgust.

    • A sad story indeed. In the US, it’s typically illegal for a parent to “treat” a child with this approach (that is, state authorities will remove a child from such an environment and have them treated with actual medicine), though adults can do what they want.

      Like the snake handlers, you wonder how the movement continues. If anyone knows that God doesn’t heal those who pray, it’s those who’ve tried it! I suppose the occasional positive anecdote keeps them going.

      • MNb

        As a remedy I read today the wonderful story of the Lenin Stature in Fremont, Seattle.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statue_of_Lenin,_Seattle

        https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/15/22102331_1223937ef8.jpg

        • You mean Fremont, the center of the Known Universe? Yep, it’s a pretty funky place. In addition to the Lenin statue (authentic and imported from Russia, as I recall), they have a rocket. And a Solstice parade with nude cyclists.

          Seattle Atheists had a FSM float in the parade for some years.

      • wtfwjtd

        “Like the snake handlers, you wonder how the movement continues. “If anyone knows that God doesn’t heal those who pray, it’s those who’ve tried it!

        Here you go Bob, a recent post in my Facebook feed has the following,and I quote:

        “The value of persistent prayer is not that He will hear us but that we will finally hear Him”

        There, at least, is a partial answer to your query. It’s also an amazing, astounding, jaw-dropping display of rationalization.

        • Pofarmer

          Is he saying “Die Punk!”?

        • wtfwjtd

          It kinda sounds that way, doesn’t it?

    • wtfwjtd

      It makes me very sad(and yes, disgusted) when I read a story such as your in-law’s. Even as a hard-core fundie I would never have advocated such an obviously self-destructive path. Yes, religion can be very, very harmful to people.

      • TheNuszAbides

        Even as a hard-core fundie I would never have advocated . . .

        well, that core of yours obviously wasn’t hard enough, eh? (and thank [insert figurative-externalized-source-of…-um,-nice-stuff here] for that!)

  • GubbaBumpkin

    Though he (Behe) proposed the clever concept of irreducible complexity…

    That’s ‘clever’ as in “makes a nice sound bite”, not as in “makes for a sound, testable scientific principle”. Behe has had to redefine that term a few times as its weaknesses were pointed out.

    • Agreed. It’s all marketing. The Disco Institute asking for money to figure out how life really got to be the way it is is rather like OJ Simpson offering a reward to figure out who really killed Nicole.

      In both cases, I think we already kinda know.

      • Rob

        AnaGrammar error: the Very-Disco Institute! Otherwise it’s just not a proper anagram 🙁

        • I was going for nickname rather than anagram, but thanks for the addition.

  • Pofarmer

    Soooo, number 21 on New England basically just said Jesus helped him make his interception. ,

    • Kodie

      Burn them all.

    • Otto

      I was sure I saw a noodle come out of nowhere and help him secure the catch…my son saw it too.

  • Blizzard

    I hope this post doesn’t attract Casey Luskin’s attention because he will plaster a giant wall of quote-mines all over the comments section. Seriously I seen him do it before many times. Everybody try and stay low-key on this one. Katy Perry, good job in the Super Bowl if you are reading this.

    • MNb

      While you’re right about Luskin my reaction is not

      “Everybody try and stay low-key on this one.”

      but rather

      “Luskin, go f**k yourself”.

      • Blizzard

        Don’t wake up the attack gerbils! Everybody stay calm.

  • TheNuszAbides

    Is that all religion is—community, meaning, and celebration? No, the supernatural is fundamental to the meaning of religion. Indeed, this supernatural-free caricature of religion seems insulting to believers.

    which is a big part of why this bears pointing out – at least for the sake of those on the path to figuring out the deceptively simple matter of dropping the supernatural baggage with a clear* conscience…

    *well, relatively clear!

  • TheNuszAbides

    Demand strong science education in schools. Ridicule politicians who reject the scientific consensus when it is uncomfortable. These are necessary for national competitiveness as well as self-respect.

    next stop: the U.N.! oh wait, international law is why “we” (Earth?) even have a formalized Universal Declaration of Human Rights… for what it’s worth. if only there were Scripture(tm) on healthy competition between the nations… hmmm…

  • Rob

    As a person who lacks infinite patience, after watching the beginning of the video and hearing several people giving relatively ‘soft’ appraisals of Lewis’ work, yet noticing that they were being interviewed inside churches, I decided that this video was probably not worth my time. This happened fairly automatically; these sorts of decisions must not be dawdled over too long.

    Thanks to the VeryDisco Institute for making my life that much easier, and their own job so much harder(?). Thanks also to C.S.L. for the Narnia series, I enjoyed them very much as a child. If he had spent less time on religion we’d have more children’s books of genuine quality, a much greater contribution to mankind than he actually managed.

    Of course, if Isaac Newton had written less about religion, we might have had FTL and anti-gravity by now! Oh well, can’t win ’em all (Newton wrote far more about religion than he did about science, as inconceivable as that may seem).

    • And it’s weird that Newton wrote about religion toward the end of his life, after he’d been breathing all that mercury. Some have wondered if he went a little batty.