Anglican Samizdat

November 25, 2009

Richard Dawkins must be gnashing his teeth

Filed under: evolution — David Jenkins @ 10:14 am

From the LA Times:

Today, a century and a half after Charles Darwin published “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection,” the overwhelming majority of scientists in the United States accept Darwinian evolution as the basis for understanding how life on Earth developed. But although evolutionary theory is often portrayed as antithetical to religion, it has not destroyed the religious faith of the scientific community.

According to a survey of members of the American Assn. for the Advancement of Science, conducted by the Pew Research Center in May and June this year, a majority of scientists (51%) say they believe in God or a higher power, while 41% say they do not.

Furthermore, scientists today are no less likely to believe in God than they were almost 100 years ago, when the scientific community was first polled on this issue. In 1914, 11 years before the Scopes “monkey” trial and four decades before the discovery of the structure of DNA, psychologist James Leuba asked 1,000 U.S. scientists about their views on God. He found the scientific community evenly divided, with 42% saying that they believed in a personal God and the same number saying they did not. Scientists have unearthed many important fossils since then, but they are, if anything, more likely to believe in God today.

This isn’t particularly surprising since the ability to make rational deductions from evidence presupposes the reliability of mankind’s capacity to reason. Without the rationality of a Designer, human thought is nothing but the meaningless firing of a collection of neurons accidentally produced by the universe it is trying to make sense of; why trust it?


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