Thursday, August 28, 2008
Just a couple of data points from our friends up north:
Barry Cooper, a professor of political science at the University of Calgary, has an article arguing that the big bad "New Atheists" have recently become so loud because "they know full well that their own arguments are so weak that they have to obscure this fact with a high-decibel diversion." Frankly, I can't figure this part out:
Every faith, the dogmatic atheists say, contains a seed of violence and torment, even (or especially) among those who see in their religion a command to love their neighbours, including neighbours as obnoxious as these atheist critics.But it is clear (and silly) enough that Cooper thinks disputes over science can be reduced to "atheist Darwinians versus the Creationists of the supporters of Intelligent Design." Apparently, the fact that science cannot answer everything is enough to prove atheists wrong:
In short, the atheists' dogmatism is as much an expression of the weakness of their position as is the dogmatism of the believers.
Wondering means tolerating mysteries. Interestingly enough, it was Socrates, not some religious fanatic so pilloried by the evangelical atheists, who said that philosophy begins in wonder.But when did wondering equal believing?
Wonder is something enlightened atheists never could abide. No wonder they shout so much.
Speaking of which, there is this in from Edmonton: "Making a living of bullshit detecting," a sympathetic and respectful story about such skeptics as James Randi (who relates being thrown out of Sunday School as a child), Michael Shermer and Dr. Steven Novella. And nary a word about how "respectful" they are toward believers. In fact, Randi, asked "What's the harm in believing someone can mentally bend spoons or we can contact our dead loved ones through a medium, anyway?" replies:
Well, what's the harm of putting someone on heroin and supplying them for the rest of their lives?
Just to prove that I am capable of wonder, I wonder how this idiot was ever granted a degree in anything.
And since when is speaking up for yourself the equivalent of shouting? We're not allowed to express our opinions in anything above a polite whisper?
Of course not! After all, we all know the religious never raise their voices and are never demanding.
When a believer does the same, you MUST respect them, because they are being spiritual!
Either way, it made me try to come up with a paraphrase for that great line from West Wing to the effect that "economists were put on the planet to make astrologers look good." Something like "political science was created to make tea-leaf reading look good."
Deep down, he knows we're absolutely right. That is why he wants us to shut up.
I can't wait to ask him if he, as a political scientist, believes that all forms of protest need to be conducted in respectful murmurs.