Sunday, September 26, 2004

Wisdom From Gingerich

Owen Gingerich contributed an essay to the 1983 anthology Is God a Creationist. This was an anthology of religious objections to scientific creationisn. If you can find a copy, it provides much food for thought.

Gingerich's essay was particularly interesting, and I felt the following passge was worth transcribing:

In our country today there is a vocal minority which is confused by the separate roles of the scientific way of building up a worldview and the biblical story of creation. Somehow these people feel threatened by the ascendancy of a system of looking at the world that does not explicitly include the designing hand of God in the construction. Science is, by its very nature, godless. It is a mechanistic system, contrived to show how things work, and unable to say anything about the who, the designer. I can sympathize if a deeply religious person finds this incomplete and unsatisfying, and I can even sympathize mildly with the frustration of creationists, who wish that some broader philosophical framework could be placed into biology textbooks. But they are mistaken when they take scientific explanations as such to be anti-God or atheistic, they are wrong when they think that the Genesis account can substitute for the “how” of scientific explanations, and they err when they think that a meaningful tack is to brand evolution as a “mere hypothesis”. In a certain sense all of the theoretical explanations of sciece, the weft that holds the tapestry together, are hypotheses, and to unthread one section risks destroying the entire fabric.

Exactly right.


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