18 January 2014

I'm Not A Scientist. Neither Is Bryan Fischer.

One reason why I have not talked more about going to church, at least on this blog, is that my reasons for doing so are highly personal, perhaps even idiosyncratic.  I don't pretend that my reasons for going to church apply to everyone, and I'm not ready to say that everyone "should" go to church or follow any sort of formal religion.

Also, I must admit that I didn't want to be lumped with some of the people who use their "religion" or "faith" to rationalize all sorts of bigotry--including their notions that people like me don't belong in their churches or can be "cured."

In the latter category is a fellow named Bryan Fischer.  Here is someone who, from what I can tell, has even less background in science than I have.  (I last took a science class in 1978; although I try to stay abreast of some developments, I can't claim to have any more than an average lay person's knowledge.)  Yet he is claiming the role of a scientist--specifically, a geneticist and an evolutionary biologist--to reiterate the tired canard that if you have male DNA and anatomy, you can't possibly be female because "God doesn't make mistakes."

What a lot of people don't know is that Charles Darwin studied to be an Anglican parson.  But he was astute enough to realize that the most startling phenomenon he encountered could be explained, if not resolved, only through scientific reasoning, not through faith.  He knew that faith and reason could not be substituted for each other and that a question of science cannot be answered with religion any more than a belief in the supernatural can be justified with empirical evidence.

The funny thing about folks like Fischer is that the more they use the word "science," the more irrational and even specious their explanations become.  That's because when they say things like "all of the science I've seen tells me", you know that they know about as much science as I do.  When someone asks them for citations, they change the subject or accuse the questioner of being misled by Satan, or some such thing.

Perhaps some day someone will come up with a scientific explanation for people like me. And someone else might come up with a cogent pyschological explanation, or even a religious or theological one.  Until then, I hope that enough people realize what the kinds of reasoning used in each of those fields can and can't do.  And people like me can tell our stories and, perhaps, create interesting and useful artistic and literary representations of our experiences.