Joined: Sep. 2006
Well… let me say that as an atheist I am wary of any appeal to purity, or warnings of “corruption.” I don’t like that kind of talk, and Coyne engages in it. Big red flag for me.
| In the rest of this post I’d like to explore the ways that, I think, the NCSE has made accommodationism not only its philosophy, but its official philosophy. This, along with their endorsement and affiliation with supernaturalist scientists, philosophers, and theologians, inevitably corrupts their mission.|
To which I am tempted to say (so I shall): yeah, so flipping what? There’s more than a hint of puritanicism in Coyne’s approach. Ultimately, he deigns to tell atheists what to do and how to act, and what the NCSE’s mission is. He wants to herd cats and forbid them to do tricks. And of course, he wants to accuse religious believers of thoughtcrime. Well, I am pretty staunch about my antireligion, but that means that I therefore cannot write a letter as part of the Clergy Letter Project, but I wouldn't stop it, either.
We don't know, really, why we're religious or not. My atheism came at age nine and may not be a choice. Does that make my atheism rational, or irrational? As I once said at my blog, Dawkins, at least, is a 6 trying to be a 7; I'm a 7 who knows that the "feeling of knowing" is BS and out of principle I'm trying to be a 6. Dawkins is the more tolerant person, a better person, than I am. So who is Coyne to finger-wave at religious supporters of Darwin? If religion has a genetic component (and I suspect that it does), what then? Coyne may as well be yelling at evolution, then.
It’s not science education’s job, after all, to resolve the question of whether science is or not compatible with religion, or religion with it. It's not even science's job to resolve this - maybe this is a question for the philosophy of science area, but the NCSE is taking an advocacy role that is educational, not "representative." Therefore when Coyne argues that the NCSE isn’t “representing all biologists,” he’s the one who is advocating that the NCSE take a stance on religion. He is asking the NCSE to take a stand that is compatible with his, and my, personal stance—and then calling that “neutrality.” I am hardly neutral.
If I have a problem with the NCSE, it’s that the voices for compatibility are all Christian (Miller, the Pope, etc.). Otherwise, leave it, and the people the NCSE are accommodating, alone. It is in another arena that the "science vs. religion" battle is fought. NCSE is fighting the science vs. pseudoscience (which overlaps with religion) battle. For pity's sake, help them win!
I’m so fracking tired of paying attention to other people’s business. Geez, sex is more interesting to me than religion, and I don’t pay attention to other people’s sex lives! (Or at least, not everyone's.) In fact, I’ll pull an O.J. here and state that sometimes I’m so sick of “being an atheist,” because I’m just me, and that should be enough, but I must be called an "atheist" because of the fact of religion’s existence. It’s like being known as “not bald.” Maybe I'd like to redeem my image a bit and become known as "really not a bitch."
Let’s win the science fight, people. I am beyond caring what else people think inside their heads. The debate between religion and atheism is a tennis game, to be enjoyed with biscuits and sherry; the fight for science is about the right to not be scared out of one’s mind every time lightning flashes. It's the right not to give one's $$ to every god-spewing con-artist that comes along with a "dinosaurs on the ark" crap book. Science vs. religion may never be resolved, but science vs. creationism will, because it's about data, methods, and people's real lives.
Which came first: the shimmy, or the hip?
AtBC Poet Laureate
"I happen to think that this prerequisite criterion of empirical evidence is itself not empirical." - Clive
"Damn you. This means a trip to the library. Again." -- fnxtr