Victor Stenger and His Trained Straw Dog Show

Victor Stenger is a physics professor who wrote a book in 2007 titled God – the Failed Hypothesis. Simply put, from page one this book is little more than an elaborate straw dog argument. First Stenger constructs his own model of a god and then proceeds to knock it down. That he is able to do so is hardly surprising given the mishmash of religious ideas he strings together. In the end he decides there is no evidence to support his model. This less than shocking conclusion is quite predictable.  Stenger is what Dawkins wishes he could be – a strong atheist, expressing no doubt that God does not exist. Where Dawkins always leaves a little wiggle-room in his certainty, Stenger is all-in.

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That settles it! – or does it?

A number of years back, I read a news report of a fossil found in China that “proved” birds had descended from dinosaurs. It caught my attention only because I’m a backyard birdwatcher, a trait I picked up from my father. As I recall (and memory is an unreliable thing), an expert was explaining to the reporter the significance of a feature of the fossil he called “protofeathers”. I was curious to see what he was talking about and searched the web looking for a photo. While most of the references I found led back to the same interview, one mentioned a second interview with a different expert who examined the same fossil and sniffed, “That’s not a protofeather, just a fold of skin.” Curious.

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Carl Sagan and Recognizing Truth

After Carl Sagan’s death, his wife published his Gifford Lectures on religion and science under the title The Varieties of Scientific Experience. The book presents his lectures as well as excerpts from the Q&A sessions that followed. It’s interesting and helpful because it reveals so much of Sagan’s reasoning about his self-described agnosticism.

Unscientific Utterances – Richard Dawkins

In his book, The God Delusion,Richard Dawkins writes, “The nineteenth century is the last time when it was possible for an educated person to admit to believing in miracles like the virgin birth without embarrassment.” If you consider this statement was made by the man whose job title at Oxford was Professor for the Public Understanding of Science, then you may understand why I can only shake my head in wonder at the irony. I love science. I know what science says. This is not science.