Thursday, November 23, 2006


And So Forth

Further developments on the Larry Moran flap:

PZ Myers responded to Pat Hayes in the comments of Pat's original post at Red State Rabble. Pat, in turn, responded to PZ here. Pat doesn't need my help but there are some things in PZ's reply that demonstrate that rationalism need not be a victim only of religious thought. Here is PZ's post in full:

If this is the way it's going to work, if you're going to go along with Brayton's division into us and them, and his outrageous distortions of our position (we're out to attack and destroy religion by any means possible? Please.) then I will plainly state that I am not on "Ed's team".

I'm also not interested in being on any "team" that treats criticisms of its members as intolerable dissent, and who react to disagreement by announcing that they're going to treat the critics as schismatics. I know which side is hypocritically demanding conformity and purity of the movement, and it ain't us evil atheists.
Have you even noticed the irony of decrying those " who want to divide the movement" while announcing that you've decided there are two teams, and denouncing the other guys?

As for literature, drama, the visual arts, etc....only an idiot would think Moran or I are denying the importance of art, and only an idiot would equate superstition with art. That was an appallingly stupid comment.
Now wait a minute! Who is doing the dividing? I already pointed out Dawkins' claim (and bad analogy) that "[s]cientists divide into two schools of thought," essentially the brave Churchillian fighters against "supernaturalism" versus the craven Chamberlainesque appeasers of "bishops and theologians." Larry goes even further:

When Eugenie Scott and others promote a theistic version of science they seem to think they are allowing for a safe middle ground where Theistic Evolutionists like Francis Collins, Simon Conway Morris, and Ken Miller can find common cause with scientists who don't let superstition masquerade as science. They are wrong. There is no common ground between the rational and the irrational.
If that ain't "demanding conformity and purity of the movement," I don't know what the heck else it could possibly be.

Neither Ed nor Pat were dividing the pro-science side into "us and them," they were reporting Larry's (and Dawkins') attempts to do so and refusing to join with them. There was nothing in what Ed and Pat said that even hinted at an attempt to shun Larry or Dawkins or eject them from the ranks of science. I wish I could say the same in reverse.

As for art, I don't know what PZ's attitude really is but there is no doubt that at least the best of art doesn't fit Larry's black and white world where there is "no common ground between the rational and the irrational." Is it really asking too much of a supposed rationalist to work out the logic of what he says? But maybe Larry's just kidding again.
Update: PZ Myers has replied to Pat Hayes with a post, If we're choosing teams now, I want to be with the shamelessly godless. Frankly, I don't understand why PZ seems to think that it is okay for Larry to say that Ken Miller is worse for science education than the likes of William Dembski but it is somehow "damning the eyes of the atheists" and the equivalent of not allowing them to state their opinions if they are criticized back.
As PZ notes, John Lynch has come down on ... well, whoever's side it is now and Nick Matzke seems to have been drafted even though he said nothing about Larry.
I'm begining to think that if it wasn't for discord, we evolutionists wouldn't have anything in common at all.
And why do I have the sneaking suspicion that the only one happy about this turn of events (besides creationists) is Larry?

Another look at religion:
Photo essay, "Churches ad hoc"
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