While browsing around for a copy of the debate between Richard Dawkins and Francis Collins on the topic of religion and science, I happened upon an infuriating article written by Brad Harrub, Ph.D. The article has the typical attacks on science and evolution, and, as a bonus, includes an attack on Dawkins.
Naturally, I was none too happy, although completely unsurprised, that an organization called "The Apologetics Press" would publish this pile of baloney. So I decided that I should write a letter.
Since I highly doubt anybody will ever read the letter I sent them, I figured I would ever so slightly increase the odds of its dissemination by publishing it on my ever so popular blog. So here it is, for your reading enjoyment.
Regarding your article titled "Nature Attacks Religion" (http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2981)
I must say I'm continually dismayed by the either ignorant or willful misinformation put forth by the religious community regarding topics such as Evolution. Is the religious argument so weak that these tactics are necessary to retain the flock? I suspect my complaint will fall on faithfully deaf ears, but I will persist nonetheless.
I will not analyze the entire article, but instead will concentrate on your attack on Richard Dawkins. You state the following:
"'That is a perfectly reasonable political stance, but it has nothing to do with truth.'" (Dawkins) One might ask to which truth Dawkins is referring? Perhaps the long parade of evolutionary errors that continue to be recycled in students' textbooks? Or is the "truth" found when alleged "missing links" receive front-page attention when first announced, but rarely any notice when disproved? Or is it the "truth" that evolutionists can't explain the expansion of the Universe or the characteristic of altruism in humans? To what "truth" does Dawkins subscribe?"
Dawkins is referring to scientific truth. Scientific truth is the description of reality that best matches the current evidence. It is, by its very nature, tentative. Unlike religion, which historically must be forced through violent upheaval brought by outside forces to change its stance on what it considers truth, science abandons theories as soon as they no longer match observation. That's what makes science so successful at improving our lives; it is a self correcting process. There are countless examples of major "pillars" of science being completely thrown away when a new theory explains reality better, such as the publication of Einstein's papers on relativity in 1905 that invalidated the Newtonian world view. 500 years of science were rendered obsolete by a single man. Indeed, there are few things more rewarding to a scientist than to disprove a prevailing theory, since disproving that theory is nearly as beneficial to our understanding of reality as the creation of a brand new one.
As far as the textbook errors, you must realize how silly that is. Regardless of the fact that science is an ever-changing and progressive understanding of the universe, mistakes by textbook publishers hardly undermines all of the Evolution, nor does it have any bearing on the argument Dawkins was making. It is, very clearly, a straw man.
Furthermore, your "missing link" statement is a complete fallacy. There is no such thing as a missing link. Your attack on Dawkins obviously didn't require you to read any of his books, since he clearly addresses this silly "missing link" story in several of them. The very idea of a "missing link" is one born out of ignorance of the facts of Evolution. Again, a straw man, despite the fact you probably didn't realize it. There is a decent explanation of why the concept of a missing link is invalid here: http://atheism.about.com/b/a/196538.htm
In addition, Evolution makes no claims about the expansion of the universe whatsoever. It's like saying that algebra is invalid because it can't tell you how to bake moist cake. They are two different topics which you just happen to explain with the same answer: God. That said, science certainly doesn't have all the answers. Science is a process for discovery of the truth. In may lead to a fundamental understanding of the universe one day, or it might not. But as Dawkins correctly points out, suggesting that everything science cannot currently explain is a result of God is the biggest cop-out of all. It's the "God of the Gaps" argument.
Lastly, you have certainly proven that you don't bother to research the topics you attack. Your claim that Evolution cannot explain human altruism is quite ironic considering it is the primary subject of Richard Dawkins' extremely popular book, The Selfish Gene. Although I doubt you are receptive to the explanation, altruism in nature is a result of natural selection not acting on the level of the species, group, or individual, but instead on the level of the gene.*
The fact of the matter is that Evolution is damaging to religion and religious zealots because it takes away a huge underpinning of the modern belief in God: ignorance. I'm not using that term in a derogatory way. I'm simply saying that one big reason for the widespread belief in God is that the world is a very complex and mysterious place and there are many things we don't understand about it. It is both comforting and useful to be able to cite something greater than ourselves as the answer to all of these questions. As science has slowly but surely removed the mystery from many of these aspects of our world, religion's territory has been getting smaller and smaller.
Evolution is a wrecking ball taken to the pillars of religion. That is why you fear it, and that is why you attack it.
What do you think? Too harsh?
*After I had already sent the e-mail I realized I forgot to address the author's claim that altruism in humans cannot be explained by Evolution. I didn't want leave it out from my blog posts, but I didn't want to suggest I had included it in the letter I sent.