I’ve been a Stephen King fan for a long time, so you can imagine my excitement at the fact that he has two books in the queue over the next few months. His novel Joyland will be available next week, while his Shining sequel, Doctor Sleep comes out in September.
I’ll be reading both of them, of course, but for now I want to call attention to this interview with NPR’s Terry Gross. You see, he said the following about belief in God:
I choose to believe it. … I mean, there’s no downside to that. If you say, ‘Well, OK, I don’t believe in God. There’s no evidence of God,’ then you’re missing the stars in the sky and you’re missing the sunrises and sunsets and you’re missing the fact that bees pollinate all these crops and keep us alive and the way that everything seems to work together. Everything is sort of built in a way that to me suggests intelligent design. But, at the same time, there’s a lot of things in life where you say to yourself, ‘Well, if this is God’s plan, it’s very peculiar,’ and you have to wonder about that guy’s personality — the big guy’s personality. And the thing is — I may have told you last time that I believe in God — what I’m saying now is I choose to believe in God, but I have serious doubts and I refuse to be pinned down to something that I said 10 or 12 years ago. I’m totally inconsistent.
It’s a bit tendentious to say that atheists “are missing the stars in the sky” and whatnot. We’ve noticed them, we just think it’s a bit simplistic to jump from that straight to the hypothesis of intelligent design. Science does a pretty good job of telling us how complicated things can arise naturally from simple beginnings. And if you wonder where the simple beginnings came from, it just creates more problems than it solves to hypothesize an omnipotent creator. Along with everyone else, I wonder why there is something rather than nothing. But since an entity with the abilities God is said to have is even more incomprehensible to me than the universe His existence is supposed to explain, then, to borrow King’s phrasing, I choose not to believe.
I certainly agree with the second part of his quote, though.
Moving on, in my younger days I used to be a Dean Koontz fan as well. I gave up on him a few years ago, though. He keeps churning out the novels, at a rate that puts Stephen King to shame, but his recent work has been so clunky and unimaginative that I just couldn’t take it anymore. The last straw was his 2010 novel Relentless, about a crazed book critic who terrorizes an author and his wife. The plot was so ludicrous I kept waiting for the twist where it would turn out that everything that was happening was just a figment of the author’s imagination. But no! There was no twist. It was all happening exactly as described.
Anyway, it seems I was right to be skeptical of Koontz. He has contributed a jacket blurb to Steven Meyer’s new book Darwin’s Doubt. Meyer, if you are not familiar with him, is now probably the most prominent ID proponent in the biz. It’s a lonely job, since ID has mostly been moribund since the big Dover trial, but periodically he writes a new book rehashing the usual talking points. The new one is about the Cambrian explosion. Yawn. The Cambrian explosion is a problem for evolution only in the sense that there are many plausible explanations for it, but too little data for deciding among them. But anti-evolutionists never let a good talking point go.
Anyway, here’s what Koontz said:
Meyer writes beautifully. He marshals complex information as well as any writer I’ve read and far better than most. This book — and his body of work — challenges scientisim with real science and excites in me the hope that the origin of life debate will soon be largely free of the ideology that has long colored it.
Like I said, I think I won’t be rushing out to read any more Koontz novels any time soon.