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Davidson Loehr

Ursula and Ed, 


This alleged “raging debate” is what I mean about two very different discussions, one scientific and one decidedly not. And I still think it’s worth considering that what is driving the “intelligent design” discussions is a desire to “find a Home” or “feel like we Belong” in the vast universe. Very human — yearnings religions and spiritual schools have tried to address forever. But the “home/belong” part isn’t science, and using scientific words in very unscientific ways, as Ed mentions, makes clear communication impossible. I recognize this linguistic trick because it is so rife in religious writing — what’s called apologetics. 


I’m still reminded of the Roman Catholic theologian David Tracy, who suggested over 30 years ago that religious beliefs — and I’d include all beliefs used to support a yearning to belong or have a home in something as vast as the universe — are best described as “useful fictions” or, as he admitted of his own faith, “necessary fictions.” That degree of honesty and candor is rare anywhere, but it can help, rather than cripple, communication involving Big Words. Though it still begs the question “useful for what?”