Friday, November 24, 2006

Which Is Worse: Being Bashed By a Crowbar or a Baseball Bat?

The most emailed article on the New York Times web site as of this morning was this one, which had to do with a conference looking at the relationship of science and religion. It also appeared to function as a pep rally for scientism fundamentalists. Based on the article and the participants, it seems that it was heavy on participants who love to bash religion and who think science gives them a ground for doing so:
By the third day, the arguments had become so heated that Dr. Konner was reminded of “a den of vipers.”

“With a few notable exceptions,” he said, “the viewpoints have run the gamut from A to B. Should we bash religion with a crowbar or only with a baseball bat?”

His response to Mr. Harris and Dr. Dawkins was scathing. “I think that you and Richard are remarkably apt mirror images of the extremists on the other side,” he said, “and that you generate more fear and hatred of science.”

This Thanksgiving, I give thanks for Richard Dawkins. He makes the premise of this blog so easy to establish.

The article is quite amusing, because it is full of quotes by scientists who clearly do not understand philosophy, philosophy of science and/or logic, let alone the various manifestations of religion.

My one laugh out loud moment came with this line:
Lawrence M. Krauss, a physicist at Case Western Reserve University known for his staunch opposition to teaching creationism, found himself in the unfamiliar role of playing the moderate. “I think we need to respect people’s philosophical notions unless those notions are wrong,” he said.

If Stalin and Pol Pot had only followed that principle, they would have . . . well, in fact, they did follow that principle. They just concluded that anyone who disagreed with their philosophical notions were wrong, and they chose not to respect them. They also did a little bit more than disrespect them.

Who gets to decide whose philosophical notions are wrong?


At December 08, 2006 6:56 PM, Blogger Kat said...

Okay, the line, “I think we need to respect people’s philosophical notions unless those notions are wrong,” made me laugh out loud too. Of course, it also has the potential to make me cry, since so many people actually do seem to live by that standard. Good catch.


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