“This is not your father’s creationism,” says skeptic and atheist Michael Shermer in a new podcast with Stephen Meyer about Return of the God Hypothesis. “This is far more serious.” And Shermer shows it by going two hours with Meyer, placing every objection before him that he can think of. The case in Meyer’s book is not creationism at all, of course, but I’ll accept the compliment on Steve’s behalf. Shermer has my admiration in return. This is not your father’s village atheism, either. That a conversation like this is possible represents a hopeful sign for our culture. It’s not a debate — it’s a discussion between respectful, eminently thoughtful people, neither of whom is trying to “win.” We could all trying practicing that more with people who disagree with us.
I don’t see any evidence by the end that Shermer has changed his mind (which, again, was not the intent). But when biology, physics, and cosmology are weighed together, I don’t know what objection to Steve Meyer’s case he would hold onto. Every cosmology either has theistic implications, or ends up wrecking the basis for rational scientific investigation of nature. This may be the most interesting dialogue that Return of the God Hypothesis has sparked so far, and that is no small measure of praise. As a friend commented who heard it before I did, “Whoa! Must listen.” Whoa, indeed. Now I would like to hear a follow-up with some of the other sophisticated advocates for atheism — Sam Harris, perhaps, above all.
Responding to Darrel Falk
By the way, at one point Shermer quotes extensively from the review of the book by biologist Darrel Falk (who doesn’t touch the cosmological arguments at all). Meyer addresses Falk’s points concisely, but you can read a full response from geologist Casey Luskin and physicist Brian Miller here, here, and here. More to come on that front shortly. Miller has asked for a partial retraction from the entity, BioLogos, that published the review. No word as yet on that.