Saturday, September 09, 2006

Miller at KU part 2 - Q&A

After his lecture Dr. Miller then entertained questions from the audience. If you don't feel like reading my cliff notes version, feel free to head to the KCFS site and download the .mp3s yourself. I'm downloading them right now and plan to listen to them when I have the chance.

As far as the evening Q&A goes, there were a total of 7 questions asked. I'll put the (paraphrased) question in italics and the response (also paraphrased of course) in normal text.

1. Would you not agree that faith on Sunday and reason on Monday-Saturday requires a schizophrenic compartmentalization especially to scientist.

“No, I think a truly religious person believes that both faith and reason are gifts from god… should compliment one another. We shouldn’t use faith to test things in lab. These are questions of reason. Faith gives scientists a reason to pursue reason… Faith that nature can be understood and is worthwhile.”

2. From an evolutionary perspective, why are humans religious? Was it evolved or a side effect?

The religious impulse can fit with evolution. It helps people band. Some would argue that that’s atheistic, but if there is a God and He used evolution to fashion our physical bodies, he should be able to fashion or mental faculties as well. Thus, it can fit with both the evolutionary perspective and theological ones.

3. How does having a fused set of chromosomes affect meiosis?

Ultimately it doesn't. One telomere must be inactive, which is precisely what we see.

4. If god is the creator, what if an asteroid had never wiped out the dinosaurs? Then there would be no humans --> no God.

This is Gould’s argument. But what’s wrong with big brained dinosaurs? But who’s to say that God wanted hairless bipedal apes and not just some well developed species?

The bible does say that we were created in God’s image, but there's multiple ways to interpret this. One way is to assume that it meant in mental faculties and spiritually. Not in a literal sense that God is a hairless bipedal ape.

5. We know how science has contributed to the human condition. Has Faith? If so, how?

Science is the child of faith. Modern science developed in Eastern theological emphasis of humans being connected to nature and is thus not wholly objective. Western separates man and nature, making objective observer. Thus (Western) faith has contributed by helping to shape science.

6. You claimed that attacks on anti-theism (rather than attacking science) is the road to peace. But history contradicts this.

“Attack” is bad world. Anti-theism should just the target of dialog.

7. Are all faiths equal? Can science help choose one over another?

Glad you decided to end with an easy one. No one thinks all faiths are equal. Everyone thinks their own is best. Science is not much help. Everyone should be modest enough to recognize this. We should all respect choices of others.
That's the short version of the Q&A session. If you want to hear the responses for yourself, follow the link above and check it out. In my next post regarding Dr. Millers visit I'll post my notes on his morning discussion session and from there, will post my overall thoughts of the series. From looking at the blogsphere, it looks like there's a lot of different reactions, even within the same blog.


Anonymous said...

One way is to assume that it meant in mental faculties and spiritually. Not in a literal sense that God is a hairless bipedal ape.

Typical appologetics nonsense, of course. Genesis clearly states that man gained intelligence after eating the fruit from the tree of life in Eden. Clearly, according to that book, mental faculties were an anathama to god in his supposed creation, or the "tree of life" story doesn't work.

Stephen said...

The idea that God intended humans to be stupid is appallingly bad theology. The primary point of the Genesis story has to do with choice. Next you'll say that Jesus stood for the status quo.

Jon Voisey said...

stephen: I'm not sure where you're getting that interpretation.

Anonymous said...

Again, you are all "out to lunch" which automatically places me as an outsider. Well, as an Atheist, I automatically am!
However, Miller's answer to question 4 bothered me just as your replies do. Why? You are just reading the Ancient Hebrew's self-centered perspective on their flat earth, centered. That's all.
The Hebrew Calendar date for today September 12, 2006 is 19th of Elul, 5766. So, that is what you are reading--the Hebrew religious thinking from 5,766 years ago.
Genesis is fiction.

Anonymous said...

The Hebrews, just like all faiths moderan and ancient, state that they are "created in the image of their creator god" to make them self-important to themselves and the surrounding faith groups. Just as they wrote that their "Lord God of Israel" would be their own protector and defender for always."

Anonymous said...

Interesting anti semtic posts, are dismissed.

As to Millers comments, lets face it...he slam dunked the SOMA crowd.

Bye bye

Jon Voisey said...

As to Millers comments, lets face it...he slam dunked the SOMA crowd.

Hardly. SOMA is not at all comprised of "anti-theists", thus, groups like SOMA where not addressed at all.

However, even if it were, one would have to consider whether or not his statements were accurate. If you think they were, then you've bought into a skewed oversimplification to make yourself feel good. Try thinking about the bigger picture.