Your Opinion: Thoughts on faith and reason
Thursday, April 5, 2012
I would like to thank Dennis Givens for his recent LTTE. He has succinctly paraphrased the essential argument between faith and reason as it stands in the popular consciousness. His letter also implies the question: Is there any way that the advocates of these two apparently antagonistic, divergent concepts can be reconciled or at least co-exist?
I have characterized my position as compatible with atheism. I am actually no atheist. I just don’t believe in the existence of a personal god in the way it is generally understood.
I realize my next statement may scandalize my fellow materialists. I find the argument for Intelligent Design intuitively compelling, in spite of the theological, social and political hay its advocates attempt to make of it.
According to Chaos Theory, certain kinds of undifferentiated masses of particles have a tendency to self-organize — often into extremely complex structures, seemingly without any outside forces in play.
Like many other strange discoveries in science, advocates of divinity and scientific materialism come to divergent conclusions. Cosmologists will be the first to tell you that the present conditions of life on earth are highly unlikely, although they are not prepared to attribute it all to an Old-Man-In-A-White-Beard.
As Eddington asserted, “The universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.” Science’s inability to explain certain phenomenon does not automatically invite a Deus-ex-Machina.
I suggest the following article: http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-krauss-cosmology-design-universe-20120401,0,4136597.story.
Givens seemed to imply that our ethical standards somehow must derive from a Biblical God. Of course our codes of conduct from earliest history have often had divine imprimaturs attached “Thou Shalt Not!” etc. Social codes and the cooperative values of love, justice and survival more likely arose from human social evolution, from the ground up rather than from Heaven down. Anthropology has demonstrated that a belief in God is not necessary for human morality. As a guide to ethical behavior, I personally have found the Old Testament God a highly unreliable role model.
To (badly) paraphrase St. Paul: We may disagree on faith. It will be proven — founded or foolish in the last day. We may disagree on hope. It will either be fulfilled or dashed. But the greatest of these remains the universal constant of love. Whether we agree or disagree, whether we have faith or are skeptics, we have no excuse for not loving one another, in spite of our differences.