Sunday, September 10, 2006


The God In a Mote's Eye

Here is a link to and a bit of an article about Harvard University's Owen Gingerich. I don't think it needs much commentary ... and some people's blood pressure is high enough already.

Gingerich, who recently led the International Astronomical Union panel on how to define a planet, which wanted to keep tiny Pluto a planet (among an expanded list of 12) but was voted down by the full organization, is the retired historian of science of Harvard and senior astronomer with the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. He is also a devout Christian and has just come out with a book, God's Universe, published by Harvard University Press.

Gingerich says the universe and life on Earth make more sense if the divine will designed things in a purposeful way. But this "can be neither denied nor proved by scientific means," any more than science explains realities such as love or beauty.

Scientists, whether believers or atheists, use the same methods in the laboratory. "Science cannot rule out miracles" but miracles aren't part of scientific explanations, he says. The fact that scientists don't refer to God "does not mean that the universe is actually godless, just that science within its own framework has no other way of working."

He complains that some fellow scientists overreach — and build support for intelligent design — when they turn evolution into an argument for atheism. That's ideology, not science, he maintains, and should be resisted for the same reason that intelligent-design thought doesn't belong in science classes.

He finds "no contradiction between holding a staunch belief in supernatural design and working as a creative scientist."

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