Thursday, July 26, 2007

Is there some major grammatical confusion?

One of my favourite ScienceBlogs visits an important question. Chris is obscure about his own views on the existence of a deity and cites this dialogue from Contact.

I do, however, concur with one of my favorite characters in fiction, Dr. Ellie Arroway in Carl Sagan's Contact.
The question Do you believe in God? has a peculiar structure. If I say no, do I mean I'm convinced God doesn't exist, or do I mean I'm not convinced he does exist? Those are two very different questions.

But but is this not just stupid? The question is clear. The question "Do you believe in God" is not asking for its negative "Am I convinced God does not exist", it really only invites the second answer - you say no if you are not convinced.
So why does Chris, like Ellie in the movie, want to duck the question? I can only guess. The movie had to sell. Maybe Chris is worried about selling.
But the claim that there is confusion here is nonsense.


At 6:00 AM, Blogger Tired Old Fart said...

Hi Al, agree. I've just finished reading Michael Behe's 10th Anniversary "Darwin's Black Box". I feel the same way about his hypothesis. Why does he state "It has to be intelligent design" rather than saying "The theory of natural selection doesn't cut the mustard with these questions." On the latter question I quite concur with the guy. The book is good in the coverage of the chemistry involved. Then again, Darwin never postulated on the origins of life, only on its evolution and even Behe agrees that on those grounds the theory is strong.


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