Genesis and the Scandal of Jewish Indifference

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from an editor at a Jewish publication soliciting from me an article “related to creationism.” He asked that it be pegged to the coming Sabbath when Jews across the spectrum of Judaism begin a new cycle of Torah readings. That cycle begins with the account of creation in Genesis. The editor seemingly wasn’t aware that I’m not a creationist (i.e., a naïve Biblical literalist), or he didn’t know what the word means, or who knows what. Anyway, I wrote and sent off to him the piece he seemed to urgently want, suspecting even as I did so that it would never run in this particular publication. The Jewish religious world — Read More ›

Richard Dawkins’s Jewish Problem

The Anti-Defamation League, the country’s leading group dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism, is rightly sensitive to the offense of trivializing the Holocaust. Why, then, has the ADL said nothing in protest against the Darwinian biologist and bestselling atheist author Richard Dawkins and his comparison of Darwin doubters to Holocaust deniers? The ADL has objected to attempts to inject Nazi imagery into the health-care reform debate (“Such statements only serve to diminish and trivialize the extent of the Nazi regime’s crimes against humanity”), the abortion debate (“Such analogies can only trivialize and diminish the horror”), the animal-rights debate (“the issue should stand on its own merits, rather than rely on inappropriate comparisons that only serve to trivialize the suffering of the six Read More ›

Godless Theodicy

The Problem of Evil is perhaps the most vexing problem in theology. There are many answers to it, which means that there is no single satisfying answer to it. What I’ve never understood about theodicy is this: why do atheists ponder the Problem of Evil? Jerry Coyne has a recent post on theodicy. He (finally) admits …I’m no philosopher…this is amateur philosophizing. Damn right. For a man who recently sneered at Thomas Aquinas, this is progress. Coyne:

Irving Kristol, Darwin Doubter, RIP

If you’re ever given a choice between seeing one of two doctors about a health concern, with all else about them being apparently equal, you’d be well advised to choose the older one. Oh but won’t the young guy have all the latest techniques and therapies at his disposal, fresh from med school? Maybe or maybe not. What’s more likely, and more important, is that the seasoned practitioner will have wisdom and experience of the human condition. So too in the political world, where on the conservative side of the spectrum you have “neocons,” “paleocons,” and “theocons.” Those distinctions have always seemed a bit spurious, having to do more with preferences in personal style and social networking than anything else. Read More ›

Jerry Coyne and Aquinas’ First Way

Jerry Coyne and Jim Manzi have been mixing it up lately over the religious implications of evolution. Coyne asserts, quite rudely at times, that evolution disproves the existence of God. Manzi disagrees, and asserts that theism is compatible with evolutionary science. I’ve had a blog discussion or two with Manzi, and he’s a thoughtful courteous interlocutor. He doesn’t believe that intelligent design is a legitimate scientific inference (so he’s not perfect), but he is logically rigorous and very well informed on scientific matters as well as on the broader philosophical issues. He believes that evolution, understood as an algorithmic process by which populations of organisms change over time, is compatible with belief in God. He asserts that evolutionary science does Read More ›