Joan Roughgarden’s attempt to restate the theory of evolution using stories and concepts pulled directly from the bible in order to get theists to more readily accept the idea. I don’t think that comparing natural selection to Jacob’s wildly weird and obscure attempt to get even with Laban by inducing sheep to give birth to speckled ewes by placing black and white rods in front of them as they reproduce will ever convince staunch christians of the respectability of the scientific theory.
In this case i would actually side with Dawkins, who
Christians’ beliefs in the literal truth of the bible are wrong premises that inevitably lead to wrong conclusions. Science would do much better to try and find out why certain people cling so hard to fundamentalist ideas and then figure out some way of weaning them away from this easy milk and supplying them with a more appropriate fare. Science must stick to what it does best – and that is not dwadling in magical metaphors. Science understands things so that it can then change them, if necessary. Science needs to do religion, not by talking religious nonsense but by understanding religion and fixing it.
Don’t mix science with religion. Alonzo Fyfe uses the analogy of repairing a ship at sea, and encourages us (though he will have no part in it) to repair religion one piece at a time. He is right that religion has been slowly evolving and adapting itself to new ways of thinking. But describing science in religious terms won’t do. There are planks in the religious ship that must be simply jettisoned because they are completely rotten and useless. We must not encourage christians to take silly stories seriously.
We must not either, à la Dawkins, raise scientific atheism to the status of a religion. That irks the religious for no good reason. We must rather diffuse the tension between science and religion by distancing both of them, by explaining that they have little to do with one another and that Genesis has nothing to do with biology – just as science has nothing to do with god. It is the belief that religion is supposed to be scientific and the just as wrong belief that science answers religious questions that is causing all the trouble. We must enforce a separation of science and religion just as we have successfully and happily enforced a separation between church and state. And that goes for both christians and atheists alike.