Three for Easter

by Neil Rickert

For Easter, I’ll comment on three blog posts that relate to religion (to Christianity).

Jason Shaw

I’ll start with the easy one.  Jason Shaw suggests that peer pressure is behind both smoking and religion.  There may be some truth to that.  I’m reasonably resistant to peer pressure, which is probably why I never did take up smoking and why I found it not too hard to drop religion.  It was parental pressure that got me started in religion, and that’s a  bit harder to resist.

Jerry Coyne

I disagree with Jerry Coyne.  I don’t go as far in criticizing religion.  He objects National Geographic having an article on Francis Collins and religion.  I don’t see the objection.  National Geographic has a tradition of articles on cultural anthropology, so why not one on that of western Christians.

Coyne also criticizes Collins for defending religion as compatible with science.  I’ve never seen the point in that argument.  For sure, science is compatible with some forms of religion, such as that involved in YEC creationism.  But I don’t see that as an essential incompatibility.  Many scientists find a way of maintaining their Christianity without compromising their science.

Michael Egnor

This is where I disagree the most.  Egnor disagrees with Coyne, but for different reasons.  According to Egnor, “Why is there something rather than nothing?” is a fundamental question about ultimate purpose.

Perhaps Egnor is right, that Coyne misunderstood the question to be mechanical rather than teleological.  But I see the question as foolish and pointless.  There is no useful answer that we could ever give to that question.  Any answer that is suggested will be one made up by humans to satisfy their own psychological needs.

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