Dr. Everett Piper, President
June 1, 2015 – In his recent op-ed in the Huff Post, Victor Stenger, bemoans America’s educational decline and more specifically its loss of status in the sciences. As evidence of his concern Stenger contends, “Once America was the foremost nation in science [but today]… our schools are producing a generation of science illiterates.” He goes further to say that many critics who write on the subject “blame American scientists for doing a poor job,” but, confident in his superior intellect, Dr. Stenger quickly dismisses such a possibility of professional culpability and boldly points to where he believes the fault lies. The obvious culprit for such glaring failure is religion and, more specifically, conservative Christianity.
“From its very beginning in prehistory,” contends the good professor; “religion has been a tool used by those in power to retain that power and keep the masses in line [and] this continues today.” He then concludes: “I have an urgent plea to … all thinking people. We need to focus our attention on one goal [that] has to be achieved…if humanity is to survive: That goal is the replacement of foolish faith and its vanities with something more sublime–knowledge and understanding that is securely based on observable reality.”
I agree with Dr. Stenger’s emphasis on the empirical and would like to, thereby, propose some examples where he and all other “thinking people” might consider setting aside “foolish faith,” and seek, instead, the clarity of what is “observably real.”
For instance, it seems clear and observable that gender is a biological reality and not a human construct and that there is nothing more empirically obvious than the fact that a baby is a boy or a girl and that Bruce Jenner is a man and not a woman.
It, likewise, seems clear and observable that certain behaviors plainly compromise the design and purpose of the human body and that any sexual act other than one between a monogamous man and monogamous woman predictably causes disease and dysfunction and should be logically avoided.
It seems clear that for at least 2,000 years, western civilization has affirmed (to its obvious advantage) the ontologically obvious definition of marriage. It is, likewise, observably clear that children do best when they have both a mom and a dad bound to one another in such a marriage. It seems clear that a mother fares better when she is married to the father of her children. It, too, seems clear that our efforts at social engineering have resulted in untold poverty and dysfunction for these same women and their children.
There are so many things that are clear and observable. It is clear, for example, that socialism only works until you run out of other people’s money. It is clear that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It is clear that liberty is always lost when licentiousness wins. It is clear that women suffer most when men are without morals. It is clear that some absolutes cannot be tested in a tube but yet must be affirmed: that racism is wrong, that slavery should be reviled and that the Holocaust was a bad thing. It is clear that it takes about as much “foolish faith and vanity” to believe that Nature’s design has no designer as it does to suppose a painting has no painter, a building has no builder, a book has no writer or a watch has no watchmaker.
Yes, Dr. Stenger, we do “need to focus our attention on one goal.” Yes, we must replace our “foolish faith and its vanities” with “something more sublime.” Yes, this should be “knowledge and understanding that is securely based on observable reality.” And yes, Dr. Stenger, this reality is about as clear and observable as the very nose on your own face if you would but open your eyes to see.
“Now hear this, O foolish and senseless people, Who have eyes but do not see; Who have ears but do not hear.” Jeremiah 5:21