The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.
We think we know that chimpanzees are higher animals and earthworms are lower, we think we've always known what that means, and we think evolution makes it even clearer. But it doesn't. It is by no means clear that it means anything at all. Or if it means anything, it means so many different things to be misleading, even pernicious.
So it is best to keep an open mind and be agnostic. At first sight that seems an unassailable position, at least in the weak sense of Pascal's wager. But on second thoughts it seems a cop-out, because the same could be said of Father Christmas and tooth fairies. There may be fairies at the bottom of the garden. There is no evidence for it, but you can't prove that there aren't any, so shouldn't we be agnostic with respect to fairies?
If you want to do evil, science provides the most powerful weapons to do evil; but equally, if you want to do good, science puts into your hands the most powerful tools to do so. The trick is to want the right things, then science will provide you with the most effective methods of achieving them.
Os livros de física podem ser complicados, mas eles, assim como os carros e os computadores, são produtos de objetos biológicos - cérebros humanos. Os objetos e os fenômenos que um livro de física descreve são mais simples que uma única célula do corpo de seu autor. E o autor consiste em trilhões de células, muitas delas diferentes umas das outras, organizadas com arquitetura intrincada e engenharia de precisão para formar uma máquina capaz de escrever um livro.
At the age of three and a half the Taung Child was eaten by an eagle. The evidence is that damage marks to the eye sockets of the fossil are identical to marks made by modern eagles on modern monkeys as they rip out their eyes. Poor little Taung Child, shrieking on the wind as you were borne aloft by the aquiline fury, you would have found no comfort in your destined fame, two and a half million years on, as the type specimen of Australopithecus africanus.
We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.
A biochemist colleague has kindly provided me with a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, and enough hydroquinone for 50 bombardier beetles, I am now about to mix the two together. According to the above, they will explode in my face. Here goes...Well... I'm still here! I poured the hydrogen peroxide into the hydroquinone, and absolutely nothing happened. It didn't event get warm!
If the history-deniers who doubt the fact of evolution are ignorant of biology, those who think the world began less than ten thousand years ago are worse than ignorant, they are deluded to the point of perversity. They are denying not only the facts of biology but those of physics, geology, cosmology, archaeology, history and chemistry as well.
If you don't understand how somethingworks, never mind: just give up and say God did it. You don'tknow how the nerve impulse works? Good! You don't understandhow memories are laid down in the brain? Excellent! Is photosynthesisa bafflingly complex process? Wonderful! Please don't goto work on the problem, just give up, and appeal to God.