Proportional Time and False Dichotomies

Proportional Time and False Dichotomies May 13, 2015

Carbon Dating comic

 

Hemant Mehta shared the above as well information about a Kickstarter campain for the comic strip series it is from.

Some years ago I explored a different approach to “proportional time” for evolution and young-earth creationism.

I would point out, however, that not all religion is committed to the false “teach both sides” dichotomy. Unfortunately, on the other hand, some atheists are just as committed to the false dichotomy as their religious fundamentalist counterparts, being concerned to dismiss religion as nonsense precisely because they share the religious fundamentalists’ assumption that religion offers competing explanations for what science studies.


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  • Gakusei Don

    The worst example was when Dr Francis Collins, scientist and renowned geneticist and evolution supporter, was appointed NIH (National Institute of Health) director by Obama in 2009. Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and others were critical, since Collins was also a Christian.

    Dawkins wrote: “Can somebody who holds such anti-scientific and downright silly beliefs [that God creates miracles, etc] really be qualified to run the NIH? Isn’t he disqualified, not by whether or not he leaves his beliefs outside the laboratory and the committee room, but by the very fact that he is capable of holding such beliefs at all?”

    Harris wrote: “Must we really entrust the future of biomedical research in the United States to a man who believes that understanding ourselves through science is impossible, while our resurrection from death is inevitable?”

    But in the six years since Collins was made NIH director, I’m unaware of any issues that have arisen from Collins’ beliefs.

  • “Unfortunately, on the other hand, some atheists are just as committed to the false dichotomy”

    -It’s not a false dichotomy; it’s a true one.
    “being concerned to dismiss religion as nonsense precisely because they
    share the religious fundamentalists’ assumption that religion offers
    competing explanations for what science studies.”
    -It’s because it does. Most Americans believe in a literal Adam as ancestor of all humanity. Clearly, evolution makes that impossible.

    • AliKat

      I don’t think he was referring to that issue. I think he is talking about the sort of atheist who decries theistic evolution and acts like either you believe in the bible as literal/inerrant or you reject it completely. Often such people also believe only fundamentalists are the true Christians, and doesn’t seem to know that hyper-literalism and inerrancy are pretty modern ideas.

      • Not all believers are literalists/inerrantists in everything, but every believer is an inerrantist/literalist in something. Of course I decry theistic evolution (though it is better than pure creationism).

        • AliKat

          You’d be surprised how open liberal theology is. Have you looked at the description of progressive Christianity’s relationship to the bible on this channel? If you look at it you will see that they accept biblical criticism findings and favor looking at the bible as a basis for starting discussions/questions, not rigid answers. http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/Progressive-Christianity-and-the-Bible-James-McGrath-06-15-2011

          Theistic evolution might be presumptuous about metaphyics, but I think that there is little reason to oppose religious people for reconciling religion with science.