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?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Dawkins Search on This Blog

Here is what you get when you search "Dawkins" on this blog:

richard dawkins on cows and humans

8 Nov 2006 by Lawrence Selden

this is from the current time magazine cover article, which consists of a debate between frances collins and richard dawkins. after dawkins compares the morality of killing human embryos to harvest stem cells with the morality of ...

darwinian fundamentalism -

dawkins on colbert report

19 Oct 2006 by Lawrence Selden

richard dawkins was on the colbert report. it is pretty funny and worth a look. colbert is fairly whimsical throughout, but i think he makes dawkins look rather silly, which, i guess, is not that hard anyway. hat tip to krauze.

darwinian fundamentalism -

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

22 Nov 2006 by Lawrence Selden

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.” ...

Darwinian Fundamentalism -

id friendly at the new republic #2: id is science

26 Oct 2006 by Lawrence Selden

is intelligent design science? as noted before, richard dawkins says yes. and now, thomas nagel agrees, as do many others (bold emphasis mine):. i agree with dawkins that the issue of design versus purely physical causation is a ...

darwinian fundamentalism -

"Purely Political Ploy": Fool the Public for the Sake of Science

11 Nov 2006 by Lawrence Selden

Another quote from the TIME article debate between Francis Collins and Richard Dawkins:. TIME: Stephen Jay Gould, a Harvard paleontologist, famously argued that religion and science can coexist, because they occupy separate, ...

Darwinian Fundamentalism -

even wired magazine agrees

30 Oct 2006 by Lawrence Selden

even wired magazine agrees: richard dawkins and daniel dennett are "fundamentalists":. my pilgrimage is about to become more difficult. on the one hand, it is obvious that the political prospects of the new atheism are slight. people ...

darwinian fundamentalism -

Weekend Humor #11: But Enough About Me, Let's Talk About My Quotes

17 Nov 2006 by Lawrence Selden

This indicates that the page is intended as a collection of quotes from a variety of people. You can read previous editions of the Weekend Humor series by typing in "humor" in the search screen above. Richard Dawkins figures prominently.

Darwinian Fundamentalism -

you might be an id critic if . . .

16 May 2006 by Lawrence Selden

4. you're astonished that many id supporters fail to make a distinction between people and ideas, when they claim that evolution must be atheistic because of richard dawkins. 3. you're astonished that many id supporters fail to see the ...

darwinian fundamentalism -

more humor from richard dawkins

5 Feb 2006 by Lawrence Selden

what is an article about intelligent design and macroevolutionary theory without some juicy quotes from richard dawkins? this guy never fails to make me laugh. he always strikes me as a ridiculous caricature of an atheist, ...

darwinian fundamentalism -

time magazine gets it

9 Aug 2005 by Lawrence Selden

while there is much to groan about in the the recent time magazine article the evolution wars, there is much to like. i especially liked the quote from richard dawkins, in which his darwinian fundamentalism shines through: ...

darwinian fundamentalism -

the spectrum of worldviews: how we approach the evidence

21 Aug 2005 by Lawrence Selden

many of the current proponents of macroevolutionary theory are rigid materialists. richard dawkins and richard lewontin are good ... i provide a longer quotation, with citation, in this post. richard dawkins has indicated that evolution ...

darwinian fundamentalism -

daniel dennett: the original darwinian fundamentalist

30 Aug 2005 by Lawrence Selden - References

... i thought it might be a good time to remind people that daniel dennett (and his sidekick richard dawkins) were the original "darwinian fundamentalists" in stephen jay gould's essay entitled "darwinian fundamentalism," discussed ...

darwinian fundamentalism -

penguins, shy swedish females and the non-speciesist imperative

11 Feb 2006 by Lawrence Selden

in a previous post, i chuckled at richard dawkins' views (as expressed in this washington post article) and his belief that "the fact that humans think of themselves as altogether distinct from other animals -- and the biblical notion ...

darwinian fundamentalism -

intelligent design is frightening

1 Dec 2005 by Lawrence Selden

it is not surprising that people like pz myers and richard dawkins should react the way they do to intelligent design. we must understand that for passionate atheists like them, intelligent design is more than just a scientific theory. ...

darwinian fundamentalism -

top 3 countdown

8 Jul 2005 by Lawrence Selden

i am curious to know who people think are the leading darwinian fundamentalists today. my current top 3 are as follows: 1. eugenie scott 2. richard lewontin 3. richard dawkins i will elaborate on the reasons and provide evidence in due ...

darwinian fundamentalism -

weekend humor #2

10 Sep 2005 by Lawrence Selden

well maybe this entire post isn't that funny, but many parts are. reading the comments is essential with this one. perhaps it's just me, and the fact that i find richard dawkins so amusing almost any time he says anything. sometimes it ...

darwinian fundamentalism -

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Viewpoint Discrimination In the Name of Science: A Textbook Case of Darwinian Fundamentalism

You may have already read about the outrageous views of Larry Moran, a Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto, in a post entitled "Flunk the IDiots," regarding the UC San Diego policy of requiring freshman to attend a one-sided intelligent design bashing lecture, which apparently included misleading information about the proponents of intelligent design:
I agree with the Dembski sycophants that UCSD should not have required their uneducated students to attend remedial classes. Instead, they should never have admitted them in the first place. Having made that mistake, it's hopeless to expect that a single lecture—even one by a distinguished scholar like Robert Pennock—will have any effect. The University should just flunk the lot of them and make room for smart students who have a chance of benefiting from a high quality education.

Keep in mind that this is not a random professor far from the mainstream. Here is how Larry Moran describes himself on his blog:
Larry Moran is a Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto. He is interested in biochemistry, molecular evolution, and science education. Larry is the author of Principles of Biochemistry—one of the leading introductory college biochemisty [sic] texts.

Perhaps Prof. Moran could benefit from some remedial spelling classes. I assume that he did not misspell the word "biochemistry" in the text itself. Perhaps he could also take a class on how to make an argument without resorting to juvenile name calling.

Here is part of the University of Toronto's mission and purpose statement (bold added):
Purpose of the University

The University of Toronto is dedicated to fostering an academic community in which the learning and scholarship of every member may flourish, with vigilant protection for individual human rights, and a resolute commitment to the principles of equal opportunity, equity and justice.

Within the unique university context, the most crucial of all human rights are the rights of freedom of speech, academic freedom, and freedom of research. And we affirm that these rights are meaningless unless they entail the right to raise deeply disturbing questions and provocative challenges to the cherished beliefs of society at large and of the university itself.

It is this human right to radical, critical teaching and research with which the University has a duty above all to be concerned; for there is no one else, no other institution and no other office, in our modern liberal democracy, which is the custodian of this most precious and vulnerable right of the liberated human spirit.

So if you come to the University of Toronto with any doubts about the ability of material forces to explain the origin of life or the ability of random mutation and natural selection to accomplish all the variety of life that we see around us, you better not let your doubts be known- especially if you are taking a class from Prof. Moran.

I wonder if there is anyone at the University of Toronto who cares about protecting the academic freedom guarantees in its mission statement.