Jesus ‘n’ Mo(hler)

The Jesus and Mo artist has illustrated this week’s dust-up about science and religion (see Baptist bigwig Albert Mohler’s commentary on my op-ed about compatibility):

Note that this circularity also applies in reverse–to the common accommodationist claim that science will always be compatible with true religion (aka “sophisticated religion” or “nuanced religion”).  “True religion,” of course, is defined as that brand of faith that’s compatible with science.  Steve Gould made this tactic famous with his NOMA gambit in Rocks of Ages.

Also, Mohler:

Are science and Christianity friends? The answer to that is an emphatic yes, for any true science will be perfectly compatible with the truths we know by God’s revelation. But this science is not naturalistic, while modern science usually is. Too many evangelicals try to find middle ground, only to end up arguing for positions that combine theological surrender with scientific naïveté. As Jerry Coyne makes very clear, there really is no middle ground.

This is why accommodationism is useless against Mohler and his minions.

h/t: No Astronomer

38 Comments

  1. Kevin
    Posted October 15, 2010 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Leave it to the Baptists to come up with perfect word salad…

    The answer to that is an emphatic yes, for any true science will be perfectly compatible with the truths we know by God’s revelation. But this science is not naturalistic, while modern science usually is.

    As the kid in the ad says, “What does that even mean?”

    • Bob Carlson
      Posted October 15, 2010 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      I had wondered the same thing until I searched for the definition of true science and found it: True Science is Creation Science. Obviously, what it means is that true science isn’t science at all.

      • Kevin
        Posted October 15, 2010 at 10:08 am | Permalink

        I was going to ask for an example of what Mohler considered “true science”, but you’ve apparently beat me to the punch.

        Simply amazing. Worse than Orwellian.

    • Rob
      Posted October 15, 2010 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      As the kid in the ad says, “What does that even mean?”

      Translation: LALALALALALAL I CAN’T HEAR YOU LALALALALALALAL

  2. Posted October 15, 2010 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    The thing about the square peg. Yeah, that one.

  3. yesmyliege
    Posted October 15, 2010 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    His mind is like a wobble-wheeled jalopy slot car speeding along a Mobius strip.

  4. Mackrelmint
    Posted October 15, 2010 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Mohler wraps up: “But this science is not naturalistic, while modern science usually is.”

    m-/

    (facepalm)

    …and I want to shriek “But science IS naturalistic. If it’s not, it’s NOT SCIENCE!!!

    Gah.

  5. Insightful Ape
    Posted October 15, 2010 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Thank you, Dr Mohler, for epitomizing everything I despise about religion.
    You should see Muslims trying to find “scietific” authentications for the Koran. Their behavior is even more impressive than Francis Collins. From the expansion of the universe to equal rights for women to evolution, there is nothing you can’t find in the Koran or more accurately, shoehorn into the Koran with some stretching of the meaning of words and a little bit of imagination.

  6. Posted October 15, 2010 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    Great! Why should anyone want to accommodate these people? It’s good that Mohler doesn’t want to muddy the waters with all that namby-pamby “religion is relevant to the modern day” nonsense. Stay in the Dark Ages where you belong, and it’s much easier to demolish your arguments.

  7. NewEnglandBob
    Posted October 15, 2010 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Mohler moves the goalposts at light speed to the next town, kicks his extra point then moves them again two states away. Then he crows “see how good I am?”.

    Mohler is a name I know from bathroom fixtures. There has to be a connection.

    • ennui
      Posted October 15, 2010 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      You’re thinking of Kohler.

      • sasqwatch
        Posted October 15, 2010 at 9:50 am | Permalink

        Not to detract from Insightful Ape’s excellent post, but Mohler did compose some very excellent symphonies.

        • MadScientist
          Posted October 15, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

          Wasn’t that Mahler?

          • sasqwatch
            Posted October 15, 2010 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

            No, Mahler’s the guy who got fired from “Politically Correct” and got a new show on Comedy Central.
            ;-)

          • sasqwatch
            Posted October 16, 2010 at 11:13 am | Permalink

            I almost ashamed of myself. I set that silly little trap… was worth the wait.

            “Welcome to my parlor, said the spider to the fly.”

            Of course, if you would have said “isn’t that “Maher”, I would have said “nope… you must be thinking of the greatest biologist of the 20th century, the one Jerry did a post on a few days back.”

            “You mean Mayr”?

            “No, no… that’s the British bluesman, one of the greatest of all time. Still has a band called the “Bluesbreakers”.

            “You must mean Mayall.”

            “No… that would be…”

      • Margaret
        Posted October 15, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

        ennui,

        I think NewEnglandBob was combining Moen & Kohler.

      • Diane G.
        Posted October 15, 2010 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

        Mohler is a name I know from bathroom fixtures. There has to be a connection.

        You’re thinking of Kohler.

        Close enough for True Science.

        (& a hat-tip to all the clever comments in this section)

  8. Dominic
    Posted October 15, 2010 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Er, “truths we know by God’s revelation” – that would be NONE then.

    That is not to say that the bible does not contain ‘eternal truths’, but those are human truths like Kings 16:11 “And it came to pass, when he began to reign, as soon as he sat on his throne, that he slew all the house of Baasha: he left him not one that pisseth against a wall, neither of his kinsfolks, nor of his friends.”

    Ah, the revealed word of the Lord! ‘Throne’ could be interpreted as a loo I suppose! Next time you micturate remember you are doing the Lord’s Work!

    • MadScientist
      Posted October 15, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

      Just don’t piss on the walls … for the penalty of pissing on walls is death.

      • Kiwi Dave
        Posted October 15, 2010 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

        But that’s only if the wall is an electric fence.

  9. Posted October 15, 2010 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Dear Mr. Coyne,

    Your article ‘Science and Religion Aren’t Friends’ in USA Today is completely on target.

    Since you also wrote a book Why Evolution is True I make a conclusion that you might be interested in application of hard science to ‘human condition’

    When _etiology_ of ‘human condition’ is analyzed by a ‘belief-free scientist’ he observes that too many people make religion out of science and therefore are no different from believers in the eyes of the ‘belief-free scientist’

    ‘Belief-free scientist’ understands that engaging in the discourse about religion is not productive use of time in the face of the mankind’s problems growing faster than any government is able to address them.

    Over geological time-frame (next 4.5 billion years before sun burns out) science will become the only shepherd of human condition. The argument behind this assertion has been rigorously developed by my colleague and is available for your review if you are interested.

    It is only a matter of time before Homo Cogitan (Thinking Man) of the future looks over 21st and 22nd centuries and asks “What were they thinking by continuously corrupting the one-and-only resource of their hominid-being?”

    It is of utmost importance for mankind to begin understanding evolutionary basis for human condition and assemble the working group of ‘belief-free’ scientists to start the process of reviewing what needs to be done to make transition to the inevitable as smooth as possible.

    We are small group of scientists dedicated to starting such group and we would be delighted to hear from you if you would want to allocate some of your time to the making life for future generations easier sooner than later.

    You can find our writings, video and power point presentations by googling terms ‘dirigiste heurism’, ‘deliberative capability’, ‘relationals’ to name a few.

    Looking forward to hearing from you,

    Sincerely,

    Alex Todorov

    cc: Perry Bezanis

  10. astrokid.nj
    Posted October 15, 2010 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    In an approx 15-paragraph article titled, “Science and Religion Aren’t Friends”, why does it take the author the smallish 15th paragraph to STATE its point (leave alone the fact that there’s no defense of such a point)? It gets boring..

    • sasqwatch
      Posted October 15, 2010 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      Sometimes it takes patience to properly appreciate nuanced, sophisticated theology.

  11. Eric MacDonald
    Posted October 15, 2010 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    One wants to say that Mohler must have got it wrong. He surely didn’t mean to say something so patently silly. I mean, it’s either very profound (in terms of religious claims) and insanely wrong, or it really says no more than that, since religious beliefs cannot be seen to contradict what we know from science, they must be constantly revised to fit the scientific world view. Since he doesn’t mean the latter, he must mean the former, and that means he’s wrong. But then we have to ask why anyone should imagine, for a moment, that a book, that has the history of development and redaction that characterises the Bible, should be, for all time, the measure of what may be claimed rightly about the world?

    The claim itself is simply mad! No one who is sane could possibly mean such a thing, and yet apparently Mohler means it. Therefore, it follows that he really belongs in a psychiatric care facility, though he may possible be let out on day passes under supervision. The fact that he is the president of the world’s largest seminary seems to suggest that he already is resident in a psychatric care facility. It’s the supervision that I worry about.

    • Ken Pidcock
      Posted October 15, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think he’s insane, except to the extent that he’s illogical. Mohler understands that doubt is corrosive, and so he promotes a kind of extreme compartmentalization. The Bible is true absolutely, so anything that contradicts it is somehow illusory. Whereas Ken Miller sets aside part of his mind for the supernatural, Molher sets aside part of his mind for the natural, and then purposively ignores it.

      I suspect he understands how ridiculous this is, because he isn’t stupid, but his God is non-negotiable. He’ll go down with the ship, expecting to be redeemed.

  12. JDStackpole
    Posted October 15, 2010 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Well, actually isn’t it comforting that Dr. M. actually agrees with Dr. C in the latter’s main point, that any accommodation is out of the question.

    Theological disputation makes for strange bedfellows (so to speak).

  13. Dominic
    Posted October 15, 2010 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Yes – he says Science & christianity (why capitalize the other way?) are friends – how sweet – then says they have no middle ground?

    I feel the accommodationists are not so much ‘middle of the road’ as ‘kerb crawling’, for when push comes to shove don’t they choose god?

  14. Ken Pidcock
    Posted October 15, 2010 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    I highly recommend the transcript of an address Mohler gave on the subject, posted to BioLogos. It’s really quite extraordinary. Mohler demonstrates a solid grasp of history and a fair grasp of biology, then concludes that young earth creationism is still the only acceptable position of true evangelical Christians. He is forthrightly saying, though not in so many words, the Christians need to deny what they know.

    I was disappointed to see that BioLogos has corrected an amusing error that appeared in the transcript when they first posted it. The transcriber (Giberson?) had repeatedly mis-transcribed “inerrant” as “inherent”.

    • Insightful Ape
      Posted October 15, 2010 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      Would true evangelicals, by definition, mean all of them minus Francis Collins?

      • Ken Pidcock
        Posted October 15, 2010 at 11:52 am | Permalink

        I don’t know. Mohler seems to think there are a lot of heretics out there. Whether that’s true, and whether the ascendence of characters like Mohler will bother them, remains to be seen.

  15. Posted October 15, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    His “science” is just like the DI’s – all rhetoric and rationalizing.

  16. MadScientist
    Posted October 15, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    A “non-naturalistic science?” Wow, these people spout such crap. Suuure… and any day now the Discovery Institute is going to present me with their irrefutable proof that Intelligent Design is True. At least the author makes is quite clear that they now have an imaginary science to go along with their imaginary god. I wonder how this science works – I’m betting there are three lines of proof (though two may seem indistinguishable): (1) I said so, (2) god told me so, and (3) god says so.

  17. Tom M
    Posted October 15, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    He did say you are honest. I think that was his only honest moment.
    No, wait, he also admitted there is no middle ground.
    You were also put on notice when he said:…He also dismisses the attempt to forge a middle position between evolution and theism. Both of these intellectual moves should be noted and remembered.
    He’s noting and remembering.

  18. 386sx
    Posted October 15, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad to see Mr. Mohler and Mr. Coyne can agree about something. Mohler had to define science in a way that makes him look stupid, and Mr. Mohler had to forget that the reason they are in agreement is because Mohler’s religion is stupid. But at least they get to the same spot. Sure, one of them had to get there backwards and riding on a donkey goat, but at least it’s progress. If you want to call it that. Lol.

    • 386sx
      Posted October 15, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      “Are science and Christianity friends? The answer to that is an emphatic yes, for any true science will be perfectly compatible with the truths we know by God’s revelation.” –Mohler

      Okay I take back my previous comment. They don’t agree at all. Mr. Mohler does indeed think religion and science are perfectly compatible. Albeit Mohler’s science is backwards donkey goat science. (Not that I have anything against backwards donkey goats.)

  19. KP
    Posted October 16, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Hey, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has a lot of cash. Let’s write a grant proposal to them, based on the claim that “any true science will be perfectly compatible with the truths we know by God’s revelation.”

    I want to know how they will respond if we propose to go on paleontological digs for fossil evidence of dispersal routes of species from the final resting place of Noah’s Ark.

  20. JohnJay
    Posted October 17, 2010 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    If you were to have a religion in complete agreement with modern science, wouldn’t it be like Jefferson’s and Paine’s form of Deism. Unfortunately, the 1800’s didn’t see a wave of conversion. I think because people needed their “personal” god and afterlife for security, and were willing to ignore whatever science may discover about reality in order to keep it. And, of course, the priestly classes didn’t want to cede their control over the people. This is still pretty much true today.


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