Punk Rock Ph.D
I just found my August ’07 issue of Paste Magazine, which features a nice three page article about Biologist and Bad Religion front man, Greg Graffin. Now, before I go any further, I must confess, I am a fraud. If you read my “Feynman on Religion” post below, you know how I asked some people in the geoscience department at UNLV about their religious beliefs for a paper. It wasn’t an original idea. Never said it was. I just couldn’t remember where I read about it or who it was that had done it first. It was Graffin, and I read about it in the Paste aritcle, “Punk Rock PH.D.”
The article tells how Graffin, for his Ph.D dissertation, sent questionnaires to a couple hundred of the world’s leading evolutionary biologists, asking them the same: “Do you believe in God.” 149 replied. 130 of them answered, “No.” Much like my own experience, Graffin was not surprised by their answer, but also like myself, he was surprised to find a majority of the scientists did not have it out for religion, and were willing to “live and let live.” The article states the majority of the scientists agreed with the statement, “I keep my beliefs about morality and ethics separate from my practice and teaching of evolution.”
It says Graffin, an athiest, is angered by what he feels is the “self-censorship” of scientists who are afraid the public association of evolution with atheism will hurt evolutionary biology, and he is offended by the “intellectual dishonesty” of compatibilism. He said, “There is no way to reconcile the two viewpoints, so quit trying to make them compatible when they’re not.”
I wouldn’t consider myself the radical that Graffin is. I’m not an atheist, and I’m not a believer. I’m a “don’t-really-care-much-either-way-er.” Maybe there is, maybe there isn’t, but I’ve always felt, because we have no way of knowing, all time spent dwelling over it is a waste. After speaking with scientists and seeing how they are able to, not so much make science and religion compatible, but keep them separate, I currently don’t feel it’s as much of a problem as I once thought. That is only if they are, once again, kept separate. Once they start crossing into each other’s realms, all bets are off.