Richard Dawkins: author of The God Delusion. When are clueless religionists - of whatever stripe - going to learn that he's basically correct as regards human evolution and the conflict between science and supernaturalist religion?
Salon.com contributor Sana Saeed in a ridiculous article ('Richard Dawkins is So Wrong It Hurts: What the Science vs. Religion Debate Ignores') takes Richard Dawkins and other "New Atheists" to task for basically engendering a conflict between science and religion which is exaggerated.
Of course, this is nonsense. The conflict is real and pervasive, whether between Evangelical creationism and Darwinian Evolution or between the latter and any Muslim sect's claims - as I will show.
As I pointed out in my (March 23) blog post, science - based on naturalism and Materialism - is counterpoised to ANY system based on supernaturalism. It's like trying to mix oil and water. It is a fool's errand. Since ALL the monotheistic religions - whether Judaism, Christianity or Islam - are based on supernaturalism, then science must be fundamentally opposed to the theological claims and doctrines of each.
ALL the monotheistic religions (and by extension their derivative cults, sects) encourage and indeed, DEMAND one sacrifice one's mind to their respective beliefs and dogmas. Dogma is part of religion, at least most of them, as is "sacred revelation" (e.g. in "sacred scriptures") which religious types are obliged to accept and do so unquestioningly. This is one of the reasons I left the Catholic religion behind. I couldn't abide their ridiculous dogmas, whether virgin birth, immaculate conception, transubstantiation or whatever. None of it made sense, and given the Church's hierarchy didn't allow 'free thought" I had no choice. Either one is honest with himself or not.
Thus, from the outset Saeed is on shaky ground. This despite, writing a truly naïve sentence:
"It never once occurred to me during those years, and later, that there could be any sort of a conflict between my faith and science; to me both were part of the same things: This universe and my existence within it."
Well, if indeed this "never once occurred" to her, it means that either: a) she didn't appreciate or accept the supernatural basis of her religion, or b) somehow believed science is invested in supernatural bunkum.
This is highlighted with her additional claim, pertaining to evolution, that : "In my own religious tradition, Islam, there is a vibrant history of religion and science not just co-existing but informing one another intimately"
Maybe so, but this is more a matter of pragmatic mutual exploitation than anything else. The same has occurred in the Christian Western tradition, but that doesn't mean astronomers and astrophysicists as well as chemists and geologists, accept "souls" and life after death, or "heaven and hell". Nor, as Saeed later admits (see below), does it mean religionists accept an ape-human common ancestor .In other words, cross-fertilization serves pragmatic purposes but doesn't alter the basic oppositional frame of reference, which often manifests as religionists cherry picking what they'll accept and what they won't.
This may be why Saeed can also state - presumably with a straight face:
"Muslims, generally, accept evolution as a fundamental part of the natural process; they differ, however, on human evolution – specifically the idea that humans and apes share an ancestor in common. "
But here, her whole thesis collapses, because if Muslims don't accept the evidence of ape-human common ancestry then clearly they don't accept evolution as a whole. Human common ancestry with the ape is part and parcel of the whole theory, as I pointed out many times before on this blog, e.g.
As I noted therein the evidence is overwhelming for common ancestry between apes and humans, including:
- BOTH human and ape have the exact SAME cytochrome –c protein sequence! If evolution is false we’d expect the human and chimp cytochrome-c sequences to vary dramatically given that it exhibits 10^93 variations in functionality with other organisms. That is, 10 followed by ninety three zeros!
- Photographic evidence exists for the telomeric fusion of the ape 2p and 2q chromosomes to become the single ‘2’ chromosome in humans. In other words, prima facie evidence of a common ancestor. (See, e.g.: Yunis and Prakash, 1982, Science, Vol. 215, p. 1525, 'The Origin of Man: A Chromosomal Pictorial Legacy')
If Saeed or her Muslim sect doesn't accept common ancestry then they don't accept the science behind evolution. One cannot willy-nilly cherry pick which parts of evolution they will accept and which they reject. Richard Dawkins, contrary to what she claims - is exactly correct regarding the antagonism and conflict between supernatural religion and science. Those who try to sweep differences under the rug or minimize them do neither science or religion any favors.
And supernaturalism, for Saeed's information, would be the only reason to reject common ancestry. The reason is simply that the supernaturalist demands his point of origin be from a supernatural source, as opposed to a common ape-human ancestor. Philosopher Daniel Dennett ('Darwin's Dangerous Idea') compared the two versions of origin to skyhooks and cranes. Supernaturalists, whether Christian or Muslim, embrace skyhooks because they originate humans from the sky as it were, at the 'hands' of a Sky Daddy. Cranes, by contrast, have to hoist from the ground up to effect their constructions. They're prosaic, dirty material-mechanical flotsam and jetsam like cells, electric signals and chemicals.
Embrace your faith and skyhooks, if you must, but please don't try to portray it as compatible with any realistic science! Not unless you're prepared to accept your origin via the 'Crane' paradigm!