Quantcast

Category Archive: Skyhooks and cranes

May 13 2009

Skyhooks and cranes-9: The resurgence of natural selection and the resurgence of religion

(For other posts in this series, see here.) I am going to conclude this series by arguing that it was more-or-less a coincidence that led to the deep-seated animosity towards evolutionary theory in America. The early 20th century was the time when religious people in America became alarmed that they had perhaps gone too far …

Continue reading »

May 12 2009

Skyhooks and cranes-8: Alternatives to natural selection

(For other posts in this series, see here.) In the half century after Charles Darwin published his On the Origin of Species in 1859, the idea of evolution gained considerable ground but the theory of natural selection was just one of several mechanisms that drove the process, and hence the anti-religious implications of the theory …

Continue reading »

May 11 2009

Skyhooks and cranes-7: Early American reactions to evolution

(For other posts in this series, see here.) The original question that started this series was why there is such deep-seated and long-standing hostility to Darwin’s theory of evolution, especially in America. It is one that I am often asked and is not a question that can be answered briefly. As I have suggested, part …

Continue reading »

May 08 2009

Skyhooks and cranes-6: Why some atheist scientists support the morality skyhook

(For other posts in this series, see here.) One can understand why the Pope and religious scientists want to promote the unsustainable idea that the world of morality and ethics lies in a separate domain outside the reach of scientific investigation and accessible only by religion. But what is puzzling is why so many nonbelievers, …

Continue reading »

May 06 2009

Skyhooks and cranes-5: Darwin and morality

(For other posts in this series, see here.) The final skyhook that is invoked is the one of morality. It is argued by some religious apologists that we cannot explain the universality of some ideas of right or wrong or the existence of altruism, without invoking something transcendent, some cosmic conscience. Francis Collins, former director …

Continue reading »

May 04 2009

Skyhooks and cranes-4: Understanding the mind

(For other posts in this series, see here.) Currently people seem to be pinning their hopes for a skyhook on the workings of the human mind. This is not because the case here is stronger. In fact, there is no reason whatsoever to think that science cannot explain how the mind works because, unlike with …

Continue reading »

May 01 2009

Skyhooks and cranes-3: The last four skyhooks

(For other posts in this series, see here.) Some people simply cannot get over their childhood infatuation with magical thinking. They want and need to believe in skyhooks. They do not want science to fill in all the gaps in our knowledge. They want there to be some gap that they can only plug god …

Continue reading »

Apr 29 2009

Skyhooks and cranes-2: Replacing skyhooks with cranes

(For other posts in this series, see here.) Darwin’s big idea of natural selection essentially removed the necessity for skyhooks. According to natural selection, complex things could and did emerge from simpler things and hence we no longer need to invoke skyhooks to explain how they came about. Instead we now have ‘cranes’ that can …

Continue reading »

Apr 27 2009

Skyhooks and cranes-1: Why skyhooks are appealing

I occasionally meet people who, knowing something about my interests with science and religion, say something like “I am not religious but I am skeptical of the theory of evolution.” These people are often well-educated but not biologists or archeologists or paleontologists or anthropologists, so it is unlikely that they have done any kind of …

Continue reading »