September 6, 2017

Weigel: "Way Beyond the New Atheist Nonsense"

Fr. Gregor Mendel & Fr. Georges Lemaitre

A reader brought this to our attention. With all the notice given to the ‘New Atheists’, (Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and the late Christopher Hitchens) and their elaborate casuistry against God and religion, this rebuttal by George Weigel ("Way Beyond the New Atheist Nonsense") is a cogent response worth reading. 

George Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. writing in First Things, demolishes an idea central to post-modern thinking that religion and science are contradictory and incompatible.

Weigel states: "Given the intellectual flimsiness of their work, it’s best to look for cultural causes to explain the popularity of the 'New Atheists.' And surely one factor is the now-canonical notion in Western high culture that biblical religion is incompatible with modern natural science—an idea rooted in the notion that the 'scientific method' is the only way to get at the truth." The so-called discrepancy between faith and reason insisted upon by most contemporary scholars is a false assertion since both disciplines concern themselves with knowing objective truth.

The article notes that two Catholic priests, Gregor Mendel and Georges Lemaitre, were pivotal figures in the development of modern genetics and cosmology. The former developed gene theory and inherited characteristics (such as recessive and dominant traits). The later, a brilliant mathematician, who first articulated the Big Bang theory of the universe’s beginnings and subsequent expansion.

"Unless one wishes to assert that Fathers Mendel and Lemaitre were split personalities," Weigel explains, alluding to the Atheists' premise "who said Mass in the morning and did science in the afternoon, [it] would seem to rebut the claim that believer and scientist are mutually incompatible human types."

Weigel concludes, "The Bible teaches that God impressed his intelligibility onto the world through creation by the Word. When that conviction weakens, faith in reason begins to crumble and the result is the intellectual playpen known as post-modernism. In renewing the covenant between faith and reason, the Society of Catholic Scientists serves the good of both—and of our culture." Read more...

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