Pharyngula

Jon Stewart, you let me down

Last night, Stewart interviewed Marilynne Robinson. I do not expect attack dog tactics from Stewart, ever, but I also didn’t expect him to so totally buy into her premises. It was very disappointing.

The low point came as Stewart tried to justify Robinson’s nebulous argument that science and religion need each other, and he offered stock apologetics.

The more you delve into science, the more it relies on faith.

No, it doesn’t. The less you delve into science, and the more superficial your understanding of the evidence, the more likely you are to ascribe its more difficult concepts to faith. Faith is the product of ignorance.

When Stewart strained to give an example of faith-based conclusions in science, he came up with one: anti-matter. He’s never seen it, so obviously it must not be real, but only the imagined fancy of some egghead physicist somewhere.

Unfortunately for Stewart, anti-matter exists. It’s been observed, measured, analyzed. Its existence is not a matter of faith, but of knowledge and experiment.

Marilynne Robinson was no better, of course, just mumbling the usually feeble platitudes and complaining that the atheists represent science poorly, as if she’d know. And at the end, she offered up this little jewel, unchallenged by Stewart.

We need insights from religion.

Name one. Name one insight religion has ever given us that could not have been made by secular philosophers, that was also useful and true.