Skip to main content

View Diary: Book Review: Unscientific America (351 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  The difference between Mooney and PZ (0+ / 0-)

    is about "science" or "scientist" vs "religion" or "believers."  

    I am a militant agnostic- I cannot know, and neither can you whether or not there exists such things as gods or souls. We can, as scientists, greatly circumscribe the activities of such beings. We might also note scientifically that there seems no suggestion that they do exist. But it is impossible to exclude the possibility that they do.

    Further, we have for years argued that the sciences are not a threat to religion. In support of this we pointed to many professional scientists who were committed believers in various religions, and the thousands of religious professionals, preachers, priests and rabbis who accept science without loss of their faith. This was not a cynical ploy- these people really do exist.

    •  I'm not sure who "we" are (0+ / 0-)

      but I do not share any of your convictions nor agree with any of your arguments.

      Therefore, I'll speak for myself, not for "we". As a skeptic, I belong to no tribe and follow no dogma - militant or otherwise.

      Accepting "science" is not practicing the scientific method. When Rome decides one day that evolution is false, and the next that it is true, that is not critical thinking.

      The primary, if not sole, rationale in practice in the real world in the political and policy arenas, for the objections to stem cell research, abortion, emergency contraception, same sex marriage, efforts to ameliorate the effects of anthropogenic climate change, efforts to move from depleting fossil fuels to alternatives energy  - is a religious rationale.

      The fact that no two religious believers can agree on anything, and the fact that some religious people don't reject all science out of hand, does not change the fact that it is religious thinking that lies at the heart of the rejection of all the things I mentioned above, and many more.

      Religion is not the only example of faith-based thinking - thinking built upon assumptions and dogmas derived independently from evidence. State communism, Randian libertarianism, free market fundamentalism, there are other examples. However, all religions share that fundamental characteristic that they are built upon faith-based foundations, not empirical/logical/rational ones.

      Those foundations are inimical to rational policy-making and in fact to the principles of a free equal society. In the long run, the more people think religiously and not rationally, the worse off we will be.

      That does not prohibit people from holding all sorts of conflicting ideas simultaneously in their heads.

      You might as well point to people who believe that women are inferior as proof that institutionalizing women's subordination to men is not incompatible with free society.

      Similarly, there are many people who think that people of other skin tones are inferior. That is not an indication that racism is not incompatible with free and equal society.

      I'm not sure who the "we" is that have argued that "the sciences" are not a threat to religion, but "the sciences" are not the issue. Critical thinking according to the principles of the scientific method is the issue, and that is one hell of a threat to religious thinking.

      Which is precisely why the main barriers to scientific literacy, support for empirically-based policy-making and reason in general, are religious barriers. It is why, while not all religious people are enemies of science, virtually all enemies of science are religious people.

      One day posterity will remember, this strange era, these strange times, when ordinary common honesty was called courage. -- Yevgeny Yevtushenko

      by RandomActsOfReason on Mon Jul 13, 2009 at 06:40:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site