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Author Topic: Francis Collins decries angry atheists in science
Posts: 65
Post Francis Collins decries angry atheists in science
on: August 2, 2011, 16:01

Francis Collins, National Institutes of Health chief,complained Tuesday that vocal atheists are giving the U.S. public a false impression of science:

Angry atheists are out there using science as a club to to hit believers over the head ... causing a lot of people not familiar with science to change their assessments of it.

For details, see USA Today's ScienceFair Blog on July 28th

Posts: 51
Post Re: Francis Collins decries angry atheists in science
on: August 7, 2011, 12:04

Some of the angry atheists with whom I've conversed seem to have a false impression of science themselves -- specifically that it automagically banishes any conception of God or faith to the dust bin by answering any and all questions that are worth asking.

I've frequently had both angry atheists and angry religionists assume that when I say I accept current evolutionary theory that I, therefore, do not believe in God. When I reply that I do, indeed believe in God, I am just as frequently informed that I CAN'T.

Angry religionists inform me that my "belief" in evolution requires me to justify the immorality, hedonism, technological horrors (social Darwinism and eugenics, atomic weapons, and biological warfare), and unbelief they are certain MUST come with acceptance of this and other scientific theories.

Conversely, when I say that I believe in God, both angry atheists and angry religionists assume all manner of things about what I must, therefore, also believe (everything from physical resurrection to the idea that my gender was literally fashioned from a rib, to the inerrancy of a particular scripture).

Several times, stating that I believe in God has caused the next question to be: "How do you justify X." Where X = Crusades, slaughter of Midianites, exclusive salvation of Jews and/or Christians." The answer, of course, is that I don't have to justify any of those things because they are not a part of my belief in God. This often gets blank looks (or online, sputtered outbursts informing me that I darn well do to have to justify all manner of superstition because ... well, just because.)

I would say I was bemused by this, but the truth is, I understand why it happens. It's human nature to erect barricades against ideas that might challenge a simpler, clearer view of Life, the Universe, and Everything. Ideas that require more than cursory thought or that might result in the realization that every question does not have a yes or no answer.

There's a word for this distrust of nuanced understandings: dogmatism. The firm belief that there is this simple formula (science = good / religion = bad or vice versa) and that there is a clean, clear line in the sand that tells us which side of the issue each person is on. That is, whether they have been "saved" either by science or religion -- faith or reason.

Whoa -- I feel a blog coming on.

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