Certain biologists who reject the
possibility that religious truth-claims could be valid go beyond a mere
preference for a certain level of scientific explanation.
Monod, Dawkins, and E.O. Wilsonare also what might be called cross-explanatory reductionists, in that they
assert that naturalistic explanations, interpretative and descriptive in
nature, render unnecessary explanations which give reasons in terms of
To them theistic truth-claims are
unnecessary and misplaced, and the underlying reasons for them must be sought
in terms of behaviours which were adaptive at earlier points in the history of
cross-explanatory reductionism presumes not simply that lower-level, gene-based
description is adequate, and other explanations such as the religious are
therefore redundant, but that the lower-level, the scientific, is adequate and
that therefore the religious must be wrong.
The weakness of this sort of argument
should be evident. It could be valid only if its particular, often unstated,
presuppositions were also accepted. Dawkins presuppositions are listed by
Keith Ward as:
- that only material entities have any
- that the universe lacks purpose or
- that scientific explanations are the
only proper explanations.
As Ward shows, theism, which rejects these assumptions, operates on
presuppositions of a similarly metaphysical kind, and may be considered to be a
simpler and more comprehensive explanation of the universe as we find it.
link | Feedback | Contributed by: Dr.
Source: God, Humanity and the
Cosmos (T&T Clark, 1999)