In an excerpt from his book The God Delusion (2006), Richard Dawkins argues that scientific evidence is fundamental to the establishment that a scientific theory, such as the idea of creationism and theory of evolution, can become a scientific fact. Dawkins states that “if all evidence in the universe turned in favor of creationism. ” As an ethologist and biologist himself, the plethora of evidence regarding a certain theory would allow him to safely conclude that the argument in question is in fact true, in this instance, creationism.
However, there is a clear conflict when he proceeds to claim that “as rings stand, however, all available evidence favors evolution. ” Dawkins clearly states that the reason why he believes in evolution rather than the idea of Devine creation, is not due to the fact that he does not believe in religion, but instead, to its lack of scientific evidence. From his statement, Dawkins implies that the relationship between science and religion is currently conflicted.
One side must be chosen upon the other; however, instead of acting impulsively, believing in religion over any science, he chooses the side which possesses the most evidence of being factual, a side that scientists usually take upon. As scientists are taught that without evidence there is no proof. A clear example of this idea is seen in the film “Contact”, where the main character, Dr. Ellie Arroway, is being questioned for the authenticity of her claim; however, her lack of evidence suggests that her claim is simply a lie, created to fool the media.
But in reality her claims are not far from the truth. Dawkins thoughts in his passage can be seen to clearly follow one of the four models created by lan Barbour, an American scholar regarded as the “father” of science and religion, to describe the relationship between science and religion, called the “Conflict” model, where one or the other is true and the other is undoubtedly false (Giberson). He solely bases his beliefs on the quantity of evidence held by each side, using scientific evidence when regarding evolution and biblical literalism when regarding creationism.
Dawkins from his statement concludes that based on his studies, all the evidence points towards evolution, implying that the Bible or any other religious book or testament is not a sufficient amount of data to conclude that the belief that life was created by a divine being is legitimate. Furthermore, Dawkins’ argument is captivating by distinctly claiming that he believes in one side over the other, averting from flaw of the “Integration” model, where science and religion can be basically unified as if they were in the same field of study.
Additionally, Dawkins mentions the lack of evidence creationism has which can be compared to a film in which a character had the same problem, “Contact”. Modern scientists have turned down the Bible and now many look at scientific evidence as the basis of a theory. Evidence has become the apex of scientific knowledge, as British author once said (Saunders), ‘What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. ” However, his statement has a clear distinction from the aphorism, “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Which means that the lack of existing evidence does not mean that the evidence does not exist; instead, it can mean that it hasn’t been found yet or there is no possible way to prove such claim.
In the film “Contact”, a movie about metaphysics, which Edward Craig defines as “a broad area of philosophy marked out by two types of inquiry. The first aims to be the most general investigation possible into the nature of reality and the second type of inquiry seeks to uncover what is ultimately real, frequently offering answers in sharp contrast to our everyday experience of the world. , main protagonist, astronomer Dr. Ellie Arroway, is sent to a strange dimension, using a machine built by the government using blueprints received from an unknown interstellar source that seems to have come from the star Vega. There, Arroway seems to be traveling through a wormhole and finally ending up next to an alien that had the form of her father, the alien explains how they found out about Earth and that there are many more of them across the universe.
In disbelief of what she saw, she “returns” to Earth; however, to her surprise she apparently did not travel anywhere, the pod that she sat in just dropped through the machine and nothing happened. Dr. Arroway is questioned in trial, she is accused of being a fraud, carefully planning this immense hoax, but Ellie proceeds to explain that even without any evidence, she still claims to have met the alien and seen extra-terrestrial civilizations.
Scientists across the Norld were forced to believe that she lied as she had no evidence to prove her statement; however, as a turn of events an assistant named Rachel finds the camera that Ellie used recorded eighteen hours of static, the exact amount of time Dr. Arroway claimed her trip lasted. The case is dismissed and Dr. Arroway is given a grant to advance with her project. By the end of the movie, viewers are left with the question of what reality really is and the fact that it is impossible to prove what reality is as we do not have evidence that it exists.
Stephen Hawking addresses this fact in his book, “The Grand Design” he explains that reality is based on perspective, Hawking uses the example of a goldfish inside a bowl, for the fish reality would be distorted compared to a human’s. Nonetheless, this film can easily be compared to the real world; however, instead of no one believing in a person due to the lack of evidence, like in the movie, what is being questioned here is Creationism and Evolution. While both have their fair amount of evidence, as Dawkins claims, Evolution still stands above the idea of creationism since one book cannot be the reference of all knowledge as the Bible is.
Science and religion have being in conflict since the dawn of time, this conflict finally halted when Barbour explained his four models, giving rise to many different views of both studies. In his extract, Dawkins implies that religion and science are on the same plane, as in, they are in conflict rather than being distant from each other. Many scientists believe that science and religion should be treated that way; however, those two fields of study are not actually in an eternal clash as many believe, they should be treated separately, a relationship model that Barbour name the “Independent” model.
Religion and science are completely different, their main difference is the goals that each try to achieve, religion, on one hand, is trying to achieve a sense of reason a human being should have, through the teachings of the Bible and other religious works, answering questions that science cannot answer, on the other hand, science is not trying to give a reason to why humans are on planet Earth, but rather, how we accomplished to get this moment in time, through the teachings of scientists and evidence of their work.
Dawkins by stating that he would switch sides as one gained more evidence gives him a sense that he does not see that the sides are very different from each other; however, it is clear that he sees Creationism and Evolution as conflicting fields, which is the main flaw of his argument. Creationism, defined as “the doctrine that matter and all things were created, substantially as they now exist, by an omnipotent Creator”, it gives humans a sense of justification to the eternal question, why are we here?
Evolution, defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary based on the ideas of naturalist and geologist Charles Darwin as “a theory that the differences between modern plants and animals are because of changes that happened by a natural process over a very long time”, provides an explanation, based on scientific evidence to answer the question, how are we here? Another flaw that Dawkins’ view on the relationship between the two is that he does not see that their evidences are clearly different.
Religions such as Christianity bases their evidence on Biblical literalism, solely relying on a book as their ultimate form of answers, while science, on the other hand, science uses scientific evidence, the studies that past scientists have done, scientific evidence as their form of “truth”, two subjects with clear and different evidences cannot be compared as they base their ideas on completely different fields.
Dawkins may be correct in believing on the side that contains the most evidence; however, his choice of the “conflict” model instead of the “independent” model is Dawkins’ biggest pitfall, religion and science, especially Creationism and Evolution, as they are the biggest reason why religion and science ae at “war”. Religion and science should be seen as two distinctive fields of study, which would result in a better relation between these two sides.