Sunday, November 26, 2006

Schadenfreude: Religion vs Science in the US

I like and respect most of the higher-profile participants in the current spat on religion and science. Richard Dawkins, who often appears to be misunderstood and misrepresented, is one of my heroes. PZ Myers is a great enthusiast and communicator via Pharyngula of cutting edge biology. Pim van Meurs has contributed much in the campaign to expose ID as scientifically vacuous. Lenny Flank's wry observations have deflated many pompous posters. Ed Brayton has mentioned me in dispatches. Larry Moran seems like a nice guy.

My Schadenfreude comes from living in that cradle of the Enlightenment where separation of church and state is complete and unassailable, and previously growing up in a country where organised religion has been on the wane since the end of the Great War. I really do not understand how this issue seems to get so heated, when the differences of view are so slight. PZ and Lenny, in particular, seem almost deliberately to talk past each other. I agree with Lenny that ID is effectively dead as a political vehicle for the religious right, and maybe now, with no new strategy yet emerging from the fundamentalist camp for them to focus on, some internecine bickering among science supporters was inevitable.

I don't agree with Lenny when he suggests that evangelical atheists are comparable to those creo/fundie activists who would like to gain control of education to indoctrinate the young. Dawkins is careful to point out that indoctrination of any sort, including promoting atheism, is a form of child abuse. Recent threads on Pandas Thumb contain reams of comments from people who must have spare time on their hands since the Kitzmiller ruling. I love to see and enjoy to participate in a free exchange of ideas, but whilst it is natural to want to try and convince others of one's own strongly held opinion, it is disappointing to witness so much effort expended on apparently trivial differences.


JanieBelle said...

Well said, Alan.

Anonymous said...

Very well said Alan. You find me both in total agreement and humbled by the fact that you've said in one page what I cannot get right in twenty!

Anonymous said...

I actually agree with Lenny. I want no truck with trying to impose any religious POV onto others.