Thursday, September 11, 2008
And Now For Something ...
Matt Nisbet is criticizing Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers again. That means the science-oriented blogosphere will have some other topic -– and some other target of venom -– than Sarah Palin to obsess over for a while.
Nisbet is humping a couple of articles he's written, one at Skeptical Inquirer and one in Kean Review. This is how Nisbet describes his criticism:
I draw attention to the confusing messages that scientist pundits such as Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers continue to send to the wider American public. By combining their attacks on religion with their defense of evolution, they blur the lines between science, religion, and atheism, providing fodder to creationists who claim that evolution is part of a larger atheist agenda.It'll be a welcome break from all the recent lipstick smears turning up on the American electorate's naughty bits.
On a (slightly) more serious note. Is Nisbet really impressed - and expecting us to be impressed - with the fact that Expelled played well to sympathetic audiences or received favorable comment from the Usual Pundits? If Eugenie Scott had given it a rave review, I'd have said there was cause for concern but Rush Limbaugh for God's sake?
I have no doubt it will be played at church gatherings to the general satisfaction of all present because that is the choir it is intended to preach to, that is what it is for, to rouse the faithful It is a cheerleader for creationism and the poster should have featured Ben Stein in a ra-ra skirt and waving pom-poms not a school uniform.
Naw. He should have worn lipstick ... with or without a fake pig's nose.
Now is an ideal time to raise the temperature of debate and present non-belief in all gods of any kind as a realistic alternative to the rather simple-minded cosmologies of fundamentalism and the sound but uninspiring half-way houses of mainstream Christianity. Dawkins, Myers, et al are in an excellent position to lead the way.
Despite the fundamentalist attempts at framing the whole thing as a crisis of science, science is in absolutely no danger. The churches, on the other hand, face a drastic historical decline that shows no sign of reversing.
On the other hand, hectoring the extremes is unlikely to do much good either. It's better to let them get it out of their system and follow up with the more moderate statements and/or counter their arguments.
But science is in no danger because it will simply be picked up somewhere else if Americans put it down. There is considerable danger to science in the US, I think.