Friday, May 13, 2005

On Uncertainty

The Dallas Morning News has a column that discusses religion in public life. Jean Power argues against religious reasoning in public debate because there are too many Biblical interpretations to be found:
I do not claim to know all the answers to solve the problems of this nation and its people. And I certainly do not believe myself to be a theological scholar. Religion is an incredibly personal matter open to many interpretations.

It is of great danger to our community if we allow our leaders with obvious agendas to use our faith to achieve their often less-than-Christian goals. There will never be agreement among Christians, much less those of other faiths, on which scriptural teaching should prevail. And it is for this very reason that we must strive to permit our government to work objectively and fairly for all persons regardless of their faith.
It seems to me, however, that lots of evidence is open to multiple interpretations. One of a fact's unsettling features is that it can be pretty malleable. You know, one person's unemployment figures say that the unemployment rate is down. Another person says that unemployment figures don't take into account the people who have stopped looking for a job altogether. In this case, the fact that there are lower unemployment numbers might just mean that more folks have just decided to give up looking for a job--hardly good news as far as unemployment is concerned.

I wonder why the polysemic nature of religious support should disqualify it from public debate when other types of evidence get a pass.


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