I have no truck with the accommodationist, Templeton-funded website BioLogos, but at least they have the decency to point out the errors in Stephen Meyer’s new creationist book, Signature in the Cell (see Darryl Falk’s review here), which maintains that cells must have been designed by God because they’re too complex to have evolved. Falk, who is president of BioLogos, also solicited comments from biologists Francisco Ayala (critical), Gerald Joyce (critical but doesn’t want to waste his time on a creationist), and Nobel Laureate Jack Szostak. Szostak is also critical but, in response to Falk (a professor at the religious Point Loma Nazarene University), also takes a swipe at Falks’s accommodationism:
However, I suspect I must part company with you in that I believe that science and religion actually are irreconcilable. In my view a scientific world view is one based on continuous questioning and therefore a search for more and better evidence and theories; faith in the unknowable plays no role. I think that belief systems based on faith are inherently dangerous, as they leave the believer susceptible to manipulation when skepticism and inquiry are discouraged.
Falk is “saddened” by Szostak’s faith-bashing:
I am especially interested in Dr. Szostak’s final paragraph. He is correct that we part company at this point, which saddens me deeply. I have written before, and I will write again: there are very sound reasons for entering the life of faith. I embarked upon a search for a source of ultimate reality and my personal search was based on evidence, too. The journey of faith is by no means blind, and there many fine scientists who—guided by faith, evidence, and reason—choose to follow the same journey I am on. Scientific pathways and faith journeys need not lead to different locations in life. In fact, I am convinced they point in the very same direction and lead to the very same place.
Falk doesn’t tell us what “evidence” shows that faith and science both point in the same direction (presumably toward Jesus). And of course Falk was “convinced” a priori: virtually all religious accommodationists start with the premise that science and faith produce the same conclusions (indeed, that’s the mission of BioLogos), and then seek support for this notion. This shows, more than anything, why there is a disconnect between science and faith: good scientists don’t start with conclusions and then discard any data that don’t support those conclusions. (What “evidence,” by the way, would show that “scientific pathways” and “faith journeys” actually do lead to different conclusions?) In responding to Szostak, Falk unwittingly demonstrates why science and faith aren’t compatible.
Meyer published his tedious response here; it’s more of the same ID pap clothed in science language. Note that although Falk offered Meyer “an opportunity to post a 1000 word response to all of this on our site,” he actually published Meyer’s entire 2700-word response. Maybe that’s because Falk is kindly disposed toward Meyer: as Falk noted offering Meyer his rebuttal, “He is a Christian brother. I know he means well.”
No, Dr. Falk, Meyer does not mean well. He is spreading lies and confusing people by distorting real science. Is that the unfortunate result of “meaning well”? Do you think that because somebody is a “Christian brother,” he’s incapable of lying for Jesus?
I swear, I do appreciate people like Falk, who are religious, coming out against the lies of the Discovery Institute. But BioLogos, in its shameful pandering to religion, is simply an embarrassment to the community of biologists. In their insistence that faith and science are mutually reinforcing, and their unwillingness to entertain any evidence to the contrary, people like Falk are impediments to the advance of rationality. As Szostak says, “belief systems based on faith are inherently dangerous, as they leave the believer susceptible to manipulation when skepticism and inquiry are discouraged.”