And so we finally make it to chapter 2 ‘The scope and limits of science’. Kindle informs me that’s only 12% through the book, so the pain ain’t gonna stop anytime soon. Don’t despair though because Chapter 2 is a great chapter; there’s just so much to disagree with. Let’s begin what is meant to be a pretty benign introduction to the current state of science and the boogyman of theism that is hiding under the bed:
It is precisely because of this ideal of an international community, free to get on with its scientific work untrammeled by extraneous and potentially divisive intrusions, that scientists understandably begin to get nervous when metaphysics threatens to rear its head, or worse still when the God question appears. Surely, if there is one area that can (and should) be kept religiously and theologically neutral, it is science? (12)
Is it not too much to ask, or dare to hope, that Lennox has used up his quota of rhetorical questions? Don’t answer that.
Lennox has some naive ideals about Dame Science. I’m guessing he lives on planet Scrooge McDuck where scientist are swimming in moola and so has no idea that here on Earth science, like everything else, costs money. Science is a slave to profit, and so is driven by agendas. Science has not nor has ever been ‘untrammeled by extraneous and potentially divisive intrusions’. And scientists that ‘understandably get nervous’ over a little metaphysical debate probably should get out of the business of science, where one’s ideas are judged by an international circle of peers. But metaphysics that ‘threatens to rear its head’ does sound kind of scary, so maybe scientists are right to get nervous. THREATENS!
And the quotes from scientists who are atheists that Lennox has used in this book are anything but nervous. Quite the opposite I’d venture. They seem pretty sure of themselves and their position. Sure enough that Lennox has written this book to argue against them. Still, never let your facts get in the way of that other point that you’re making. And this short section’s point is to convince the reader that science and metaphysical debate aren’t BFF, so that he can tear that down later. Isn’t it all like that?