We were in an area of the rainforest of northern Queensland today that, according to what we read and although we never saw them, has a resident family of tree-kangaroos. We looked. Too bad we missed them. (Apparently most people do. They’re somewhat reclusive, and hard to spot.)
In a similar fashion, although he’s quite visible and extremely vocal, my blog has a resident devotee of scientistic atheism. (I’m not sure exactly what to call him in that regard. He’s definitely not a scientist, as he himself will freely admit — well, not freely, actually; the sequences of neurochemical brain processes that result in that “admission” or emission were set in motion approximately 13.7 billion years ago with the Big Bang, and, even allowing for quantum indeterminacy, were perhaps inevitable even then — but it seems that the term scientologist is already taken. So I typically stay with dogmatic ideologue as the most appropriate descriptor.
Anyhow, one of the sequences of phonemes that frequently result from the involuntary neurochemical events that occur within his skull typically runs approximately as follows: “Your belief in God makes a mockery of the methods and accomplishments of the science that built the world you’re living in.”
I believe that this emission is an example of what naïve sentimentalists, with their tendency to anthropomorphize random products of biochemical evolution, call “thought.”
It’s not a very good one, though.
Along with others, I’ve regularly asked this particular meat-unit exactly which element of the scientific method theists are obliged to mock or reject. I’ve routinely sought to know precisely which accomplishment of science this particular carbon-based life form imagines that I’m compelled to disdain or to disavow.
But it never answers.
Because there are plenty of theists who are fully and seriously involved in the sciences — much more so than this specific cell colony is involved. And there is, to the best of my knowledge, nobody who comments on my blog who hates, despises, rejects, fears, mocks, or laments science. Certainly I don’t.
John was silent for a few minutes.
Then he began again: “But how do you know there is no Landlord?”
“Christopher Columbus, Galileo, the earth is round, invention of printing, gunpowder!” exclaimed Mr. Enlightenment in such a loud voice that the pony shied.
“I beg your pardon,” said John.
“Eh?” said Mr. Enlightenment.
“I didn’t quite understand,” said John.
“Why, it’s as plain as a pikestaff,” said the other. “Your people in Puritania believe in the Landlord because they have not had the benefits of a scientific training. For example, I dare say it would be news to you to hear that the earth was round — round as an orange, my lad!”
“Well, I don’t know that it would,” said John, feeling a little disappointed. “My father always said it was round.”
“No, no, my dear boy,” said Mr. Enlightenment, “you must have misunderstood him. It is well known that everyone in Puritania thinks the earth flat. It is not likely that I should be mistaken on such a point. Indeed, it is out of the question.”
C. S. Lewis, The Pilgrim’s Regress: An Allegorical Apology for Christianity, Reason, and Romanticism  (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992), 20-21.
Posted from Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia