Monday, March 10, 2008

Kickin' myself

What do the president of Shell Oil, a Nobel laureate, and a quack-exposing magician have in common? They all spoke on campus today!

I almost talked myself out of going to any of the talks, but each time (after logically winning the argument against going), I found myself walking to the talks! And boy, am I glad!

I took pages of notes, but I don't have time right now to type 'em all in!

So, here's the question I posed the Nobel laureate and the magician:
Is it possible for a religious person to understand -- and not reject -- science?

The Nobel laureate's answer?
Yes, but I don't know how! Francis Collins, of the Human Genome Project, is able to do that.

My question hardly even stirred the waters. It was handily dismissed. But to me, this response is inconsistent with the rest of his talk. Even though the poster announcing this talk (and even his title slide) talked about how science led him to atheism, his talk did not explain this. Instead, it was an hour-long vendetta against religion. As one of the two religions explicity named, Christianity was especially despised. Why do I say that? While both were rejected without a struggle, the Nobel laureate said that the law of Islam, if properly adhered to, would be superior to the current law of our land!

Here's the question I WISH I would have asked them (and the reason why I'm kicking myself!)
(I sent the magician this question via email. It's about a factor of 13 worse than having asked it to him directly tonight, but I don't feel like a completely useless human now!)

Thank you so much for speaking here at the UIUC campus! You made many excellent points, and you are definitely doing a fine work in exposing frauds and phonies. One question I didn't get to ask you was this: Just as there's difference between a snake oil salesman and a neurosurgeon, might there be a difference between a big-haired televangelist and Jesus Christ?

As you pointed out with your examples on homeopathic medicine, some people abuse medicine to puff up themselves and make money. They should be exposed and put out of business. But you and I both realize that there truly is a way to legitimately practice medicine. (Otherwise, I'd never go near anyone wielding a syringe!)

Are there people who abuse Christianity for puff themselves up and make money? Yes, definitely. They should be exposed, and put out business! But is there a way to legitimately practice Christianity?

No comments: