Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Reconciling religion and science ... and then losing a debate in the Metro

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Do come on over (and change your bookmarks accordingly): rationalist.org.uk

On my journey into work this morning, I was amused to read the 60 Second interview in the Metro. Usually it's a quick chat with a celebrity with a new perfume to plug, or something like that, but today it's with Oxford biologist Dr Andrew Parker. Now a quick search for Dr Parker online shows he's been involved in some fascinating work, such as this research which uses fossils to learn about the evolution of the eye.

Great stuff. But now Dr Parker, who is a fellow of Green Templeton college (the Templeton aspect referring to the late John Templeton, of handing out cash to those willing to reconcile religion and science fame) has written a book called The Genesis Enigma: Why The Bible Is Scientifically Accurate, in which he argues that "Not only is the sequence of events in Genesis scientifically correct but some of the events themselves are really quite precise, which would have been impossible for a human to know at that time. You have to conclude that either the author made extremely lucky guesses or something strange was going on: divine inspiration."

The book is the subject of the Metro's short Q&A interview - it's not usually a format that lends itself to a debate, but whoever conducted it with Parker decided to pull no punches, and as a result managed to expose the gaping holes in his arguments with ease. I recommend you go and read it and see for yourselves, but for what it's worth here's my favourite part:
Q: You say the second ‘Let there be light…’ refers to the evolution of the eye but you edited out the rest of the line, which clearly refers to the Sun, Moon and stars. There’s no mention in Genesis of the evolution of the eye.

A: Um, OK. I’ll probably have a look at this in more detail again. The first page of the Bible doesn’t spell out the eye but it doesn’t spell out any of the science in detail
Now, if Parker's being torn apart in a Metro 60 Second Q&A session, imagine how he'd fare against Dawkins or Grayling...


Tom Rees said...

I particularly liked the question that went something like "Your theory's full of gaps, isn't it?" Heh heh

Joe Hayhurst said...

Good grief.

Paul, any chance of reproducing the full Q&A or a link for those of us in the shires who can't get the Metro?

Paul Sims said...

You can't get the Metro? Don't know how you live...

It was actually in the post, but here it is. Enjoy: http://www.metro.co.uk/fame/interviews/article.html?Dr_Andrew_Parker:_The_Bible_got_everything_right&in_article_id=713776&in_page_id=11

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