UPDATE: The DoSER program is also supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/ELSI program (that is, the “Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications” initiative of the National Human Genome Research Institute of the NIH), as well as the Smithsonian Institution, so your taxpayer dollars are funding this brand of accommodationism. I’m not sure which money goes where, but since some of the DoSer activities are explicitly sectarian (like this one), it may be a violation of the First Amendment.
Oh, and for more pollution of science by religion, the AAAS has an essay by Elizabeth A. Johnson that says this:
In dialogue with contemporary science, theology understands that the Creator God is neither a maker of clocks nor an instigator of anarchy, but the one ceaselessly at work bringing overall direction and order to the free play of the undetermined realms of matter and spirit, “an Improvisor of unsurpassed ingenuity.”(34) In this evolutionary world, the essential role of genuine randomness does not contradict God’s providential care but somehow illumines it. To use Christopher Mooney’s lovely phrasing,
Wave packets propagate and collapse, sparrows fall to the ground, humans freely decide for good or for ill; yet hairs of the head nevertheless get numbers, elusive quantum particles eventually statistically stabilize, and “where sin increased. grace abounded all the more.” (35)
The world develops in an economy of divine superabundance, gifted with its own freedoms in and through which God’s gracious purpose is accomplished. “The Love that moves the sun and the stars,” (36) it now appears, is a self-emptying, self-offering, delighting, exploring, suffering, sovereign Love, transcendent wellspring of all possibilities who acts immanently through the matrix of the freely evolving universe.
As I’ve pointed out before, the John Templeton Foundation has given a $5.3 million dollar grant to America’s most famous scientific organization, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), to promote a “dialogue on science, ethics, and religion.” Most scientists I know subscribe to the AAAS publication Science, which, along with Nature, form the most prestigious pair of scientific journals in the world.
If you’re curious what this Templeton-funded program is doing, have a browse around the “DoSER website.” (Note: browsing may be deleterious to your well being.)
As reader Steersman pointed out, among the many accommodationist materials available is an essay by Georgetown theologian John Haught: “Does evolution rule out God’s existence?” (guess the answer!). It’s about the mutuality of evolution and religion. Here’s the last paragraph, which explains why, after all, God’s plan for the world had to involve evolution:
However, there may be an even deeper way in which faith in God nourishes the idea of evolution. The central idea of theistic religion, as the Catholic theologian Karl Rahner (among others) has clarified, is that the Infinite pours itself out in love to the finite universe. This is the fundamental meaning of “revelation.” But if we think carefully about this central religious teaching it should lead us to conclude that any universe related to the inexhaustible self-giving love of God must be an evolving one. For if God is infinite love giving itself to the cosmos, then the finite world cannot possibly receive this limitless abundance of graciousness in any single instant. In response to the outpouring of God’s boundless love the universe would be invited to undergo a process of self-transformation. In order to “adapt” to the divine infinity the finite cosmos would likely have to intensify its own capacity to receive such an abounding love. In other words, it might endure what we now know scientifically as an arduous, tortuous and dramatic evolution.
Viewed in this light, the evolution of the cosmos is more than just “compatible” with theism. Faith in a God of self-giving love, it would not be too much to say, actually anticipates an evolving universe. It may be very difficult to reconcile the religious teaching about God’s infinite love with any other kind of cosmos.
Note again: this is on the website of a scientific organization. I invite Dr. Haught to tell me if I’ve taken these words out of context.
I am offended by not only the inanity of these empty apologetics (what in the world is the sweating theologian trying to say?), but also by this stuff being offered at America’s premier science organization as a way to reconcile science with religion. It says nothing, means nothing, and should offend anyone who values clear thinking. Any scientist writing this kind of stuff would immediately be challenged by her peers with the question, “How do you know that?”
Theology is seemingly immune to such challenges because in that field, like much of lit-crit, opacity is a virtue and lucidity a vice. But at least the AAAS shouldn’t be polluted with this kind of nonsense.