Faith & Science Icon Faith & Science

Reviewing Jerry Coyne, Part 3: The National Academy of Sciences Statement on Religion and Science.

Darwinist Dr. Jerry Coyne, in his New Republic article “Seeing and Believing; The never-ending attempt to reconcile science and religion, and why it is doomed to fail,” quotes the National Academy of Sciences on the reconciliation of religion and science. The NAS statement is worth a post on its own.
Dr. Coyne notes:

The National Academy of Sciences, America’s most prestigious scientific body, issued a pamphlet assuring us that we can have our faith and Darwin, too:
“Science and religion address separate aspects of human experience. Many scientists have written eloquently about how their scientific studies of biological evolution have enhanced rather than lessened their religious faith. And many religious people and denominations accept the scientific evidence for evolution.”

Science and religion don’t address entirely separate aspects of human experience. There is one truth about the world. The truth about the natural world is obviously a part of metaphysical truth. Science addresses the truth about the natural world, and religion addresses the deeper metaphysical truth. There are no separate magesteria, despite Stephen J. Gould’s spin. If God made the world, then intelligent design is true, assuming that the artifacts of His designing intelligence can be recognized as such. If there is no God, and the world just came to be, then Darwinism is true, because ID and Darwinism are just the affirmative and the negative answer to the same question: is there evidence for design in biology?
This is clear: metaphysical truth determines scientific truth. If there is a designer (metaphysical truth), then intelligent design is true (scientific truth). If there is no designer (metaphysical truth), then Darwinism is true (scientific truth).

The effort to separate religion and science is disingenuous. All major scientific theories have religious implications, and all religious beliefs have implications for science. The court-imposed Darwinist monopoly on public education has had profound impact on religious belief and discourse in this country, and it is a major factor in the culture war. The effort by the NAS and many other Darwinists to separate religion and science and to advocate the compatibility between religion and Darwinism is to deny the profound religious motivation and consequences of their own largely atheist ideology — an ideology that candid Darwinists/atheists, such as Dawkins, Dennett, Coyne, Myers, and Moran, are delighted to proclaim. The faux-separation of science from its inherent religious origins and implications is an effort to mitigate the legal and public relations backlash against the obvious atheist proselytizing in our science classrooms.
Either our natural world is the product of intelligent agency, or it is not. And that’s a scientific question. Using court-ordered censorship, Darwinists have succeeded in establishing a monopoly on instruction about biology and human origins in public schools. That instruction is inherently religious, because all scientific theories begin with religious (metaphysical) premises and draw religious (metaphysical) conclusions. Ideas have premises and consequences.
The NAS is right to assert that religious belief and science are compatible, but they are compatible not because they address entirely separate aspects of human experience. They are compatible because they they overlap. Scientific understanding is based on metaphysical understanding, which is religion. Science and religion are indispensable to one another. The question is whether practitioners of science and religion, which describes all of us to a greater or lesser extent, are honest about the religious foundations and implications of our scientific opinions.
For Darwinists, the assertion that religion and science are separate magesteria serves a polemical purpose. It justifies the advancement of their ideology, cloaked as disinterested science, in public forums and particularly in public schools without their admission that Darwinism intrinsically advances atheism. Darwinist censorship in academia and in public schools of any meaningful criticism of Darwinism has given one side of this religious argument a monopoly on the public education of our children. Darwin’s theory has been ideologically potent far in excess of its scientific vacuity. Its ideological potency in our culture is mostly a consequence of educational monopoly and censorship of criticism.
Many Americans are beginning to understand that Darwinism is a religious worldview — it is the creation myth of atheism — and that it has a monopoly on public education. As public opinion polls show, there is massive public support for open discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of Darwinism in public schools, and for an end to censorship in science.
The assertion by the NAS that science and religion address separate aspects of life is witless. Truth is unitary. Obviously it matters whether or not God exists, and whether or not He created the universe and man. It matters theologically, it matters philosophically, it matters historically, it matters ethically, it matters politically, and it matters scientifically. It matters scientifically because science is the search for truth about the natural world, and if it was designed by an intelligent agent, that’s the truth about it, and it’s a scientific truth, and it matters.

Michael Egnor

Senior Fellow, Center for Natural & Artificial Intelligence
Michael R. Egnor, MD, is a Professor of Neurosurgery and Pediatrics at State University of New York, Stony Brook, has served as the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, and award-winning brain surgeon. He was named one of New York’s best doctors by the New York Magazine in 2005. He received his medical education at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and completed his residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital. His research on hydrocephalus has been published in journals including Journal of Neurosurgery, Pediatrics, and Cerebrospinal Fluid Research. He is on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Hydrocephalus Association in the United States and has lectured extensively throughout the United States and Europe.