Saturday, April 27, 2013

Can You Name Any Smart Theists?

I'm tempted at times to put all religious people and religions under one category: dumb. But the rational side to me says that this is not so. Religions make many diverse claims amongst each other, and some of those claims are more practical than others. While it is self evident to me without a doubt that the fundamental claims all religions make are equally false, you do find nuggets of truth and insight here and there.

You absolutely can be smart and religious at the same time, but you cannot be properly educated and smart while being a fundamentalist. Two examples I use of very smart religious people are Dr. Francis Collins and Prof. Kenneth Miller. Both of these guys are very distinguished in their fields of genetics and biology respectively. Kenneth Miller in particular has been a very prominent voice in the war against creationism being taught in the classroom. He testified at the Dover Pennsylvania trial on why "intelligent design" is not a valid scientific theory. He speaks and lectures on the evidence for evolutionary theory, including addressing the arguments made against it by the creationist proponents. And, he's a Catholic who's found a way to successfully reconcile evolutionary theory with his faith without any major conflict.

Prof. Miller and Dr. Collins are textbook examples of how science can be reconciled with faith in the modern world. From their impacts on society along with others that hold to their views, the number of Americans who accept evolution as fact continues to increase, although the increase has not been as precipitous as many hoped. So whenever anyone asks me if I can name some smart theists, I use these two as examples.

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