A philosopher defends religion

I recently subscribed to the New York Review of Books. Not sure this was a good decision as the last thing I need is more stuff to read. I came to it because I kept seeing interesting articles from the NYRB come up on various blogs and searches. 

Here’s quite an interesting book review of “Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism “. This sets the tone:

“One of the things atheists tend to believe is that modern science is on their side, whereas theism is in conflict with science: that, for example, belief in miracles is inconsistent with the scientific conception of natural law; faith as a basis of belief is inconsistent with the scientific conception of knowledge; belief that God created man in his own image is inconsistent with scientific explanations provided by the theory of evolution. In his absorbing new book, Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism a distinguished analytic philosopher known for his contributions to metaphysics and theory of knowledge as well as to the philosophy of religion, turns this alleged opposition on its head. His overall claim is that “there is superficial conflict but deep concord between science and theistic religion, but superficial concord and deep conflict between science and naturalism.” By naturalism he means the view that the world describable by the natural sciences is all that exists, and that there is no such person as God, or anything like God.” (from New York Review of Books)

Science and Religion

Now there’s a big topic, eh? A magazine that I don’t normally read has a good, in depth, thoughtful article about the debate between Religion and Science (see what I just did?). It comes in the guise of a book review (oddly the author has, himself, recently come out with a competing book, which does undermine his objectivity a little bit.) Still, it’s an excellent overview.

(Funnily enough, the factoid that stayed with me the longest from this article is that Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin were born on the exact same day. Talk about trivia!)

“It is a depressing fact that while 74 percent of Americans believe that angels exist, only 25 percent accept that we evolved from apelike ancestors. Just one in eight of us think that evolution should be taught in the biology classroom without including a creationist alternative. Among thirty-four Western countries surveyed for the acceptance of evolution, the United States ranked a dismal thirty-third, just above Turkey.” (from Seeing is Believing, The New Republic)

And by the way, why does he pick on Turkey? At any rate the article is about much more (it’s long) and in my opinion well worth reading.

p.s. Here’s another example of the unfortunate process which seems to inevitably leading to putting magazines out of business. I read the article, am spreading the word, without looking at any ads as far as I can remember, and certainly not purchasing the magazine. We all want to get everything cheaper and cheaper or even free, and so we get what we want, although in getting it we may be killing the very thing.