Tom Gilson

A Man of Great Faith

In his critical review in The New Republic of two theistic evolutionists, anti-theistic biologist Jerry Coyne speaks about various views of our fine-tuned universe. Contrasting materialist science with theism, he writes,

Also, scientists have other explanations, ones based on reason rather than on faith. Perhaps some day, when we have a “theory of everything” that unifies all the forces of physics, we will see that this theory requires our universe to have the physical constants that we observe. Alternatively, there are intriguing “multiverse” theories that invoke the appearance of many universes, each with different physical laws; and we could have evolved only in one whose laws permit life.

“Perhaps some day,” he writes; or alternatively, perhaps, his hope is in “intriguing ‘multiverse’ theories,” which he fails to point out are unlikely ever to be scientifically demonstrable, as far as we know now. He says “a few predictions” consistent with multiverse theory have been confirmed. As to the rest, well, he’s a man of great faith, isn’t he?

Later he writes,

Contrary to Miller’s claim, the existence of multiverses does not require a leap of faith nearly as large as that of imagining a God.

I wonder how he measured that difference?

In regard to this faith of his, I must grant him this:

It may be wrong, but wait a decade and we will know a lot more about the anthropic principle. In the meantime, it is simply wrong to claim that proposing a provisional and testable scientific hypothesis–not a “belief”–is equivalent to religious faith.

That’s right: it’s not equivalent to religious faith. Religious faith is a certain kind of faith, while belief that science will displace all religious claims is another kind of faith. It’s still highly unproved, and unprovable. Any conviction of that sort deserves to be called a faith.

Recent Related Posts:
Jerry Coyne’s Line In the Sand
Creationism, Intelligent Design, and Whose Rhetorical Maneuvering?

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2 thoughts on “A Man of Great Faith

  1. First, many theists are willing to consider we may be wrong.

    Second, that Coyne is willing to consider he may be wrong is laughable at best. He’s not saying that in a decade he’ll know if he’s right or wrong. If that decade comes, he’ll just ask for more time. And in the meantime, he thinks anyone who disagrees with him should be branded as scientific heretics and denounced as opponents of science.

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