Monday, November 01, 2010

Scientific Literalism - An insight from John Haught

Finally, my travels are over for a while.  Last week was in Newport News, VA for a meeting related to turbine engine instrumentation.  The reception Tuesday night included a chef who made a tasty Bananas Foster on demand.  Ummm Good!

On the trip I carried a copy of God After Darwin by John Haught  and Exploring Reality:  The Intertwining of Science and Religion by John Polkinghorne.  Enjoyed both of them but the first book really whetted my appetite for more by that author.  So, while in the waiting room for my annual physical exam at work this morning, I downloaded to my Kindle, Deeper Than Darwin:  The Prospect For Religion In The Age of Evolution by John Haught.  Here is a snippet from an early chapter.  He mentions that not only is a literal interpretation of scripture pursued by many religious people but that there is an analog of that within the scientific community.

However, in a parallel way, a literalist interpretation  of nature-one that goes no deeper than Galileo's quantitative symbols or  Darwin's idea of natural selection-can also lead scientists to dismiss religion  for the shallowest of reasons. Scientific deciphering of nature has been the  occasion for great gains in knowledge, but it has also permitted the emergence   of a most soul-deadening "cosmic literalism." Our recently acquired  scientific expertise in reading the text of nature has led us into such a trancelike   fixation on surface codes and signifiers, and on life's evolutionary grammar,   that we fail to look into the depth that lies beneath them. I hope in the  following pages to burrow beneath both religious and cosmic literalism.  Only in the depth beneath the texts of nature and holy writ shall we find a  way to reconcile science and religion, evolution and the idea of God.

Now that is a new idea to me.  And, wouldn't you know that it connects with my previous post, from different authors, about how people in our age are prone to the literal view of things.   I'm looking forward to learning how he fleshes out this insight. 

No comments:

Blog Archive