Writing at Discover.com, Chris Mooney responds to my critique of his essay in Monday’s USA Today. After citing my criticism of his argument that a vague “spirituality” will bridge the divide between science and religion, he reasserts his thesis: “That’s the power of spirituality. Religious or otherwise, it gets you outside the structure of an established church, and lets you decide what matters, and what has meaning. For some traditional religious leaders, I’m sure that’s a very scary prospect. For scientists, it’s the opposite. It meshes perfectly with their individuality.”
Well, neither side is buying his argument. The naturalistic scientists want nothing to do with what they see as a pandering to superstition, and those with any genuine theological convictions want nothing to do with a vacuous “spirituality.”
Interestingly, evolutionary scientist Jerry Coyne, author of Why Evolution is True, has written a response to Mooney from his own perspective. In a lengthy essay, he rejects Mooney’s argument as unhelpful:
Scientists are not automatons. Just like other people, we have emotions and feelings, and sometimes these are connected with our work. If you want to call that “spirituality,” so be it. But I don’t see how recognizing that both scientists and religious people feel emotions about their work or faith can heal the breach between them. That breach is irreparable: it comes from the very different and irreconcilable methods that science and faith use to find truth—combined with the fact that science hasn’t buttressed the “truths” of faith nor has faith produced truths convergent with those of science. Science is at war with faith because it shows that religious “truths” are bunk, and the faithful realize this.
In other words, mere “spirituality” will not heal the breach between naturalism and theism. Coyne cites my own critique of Mooney’s proposal as evidence that both sides in the argument see that Mooney’s emperor wears no clothes.
In a rather interesting section, he writes:
Mohler may be a Baptist, but he’s not a moron. He knows that Mooney’s “spirituality” is just science dressed in faith’s clothing, and is still a threat. Mohler isn’t buying it, and neither will other religious people who oppose science.
So I am a Baptist but not a moron? Well, I will file that under awkward compliments.