Peaceful Coexistence?

There is a placatory movement afoot concerning the uneasy relationship between theism and science. In Thanks for the Facts. Now sell them:

"Can't science and religion just get along? A "science and religion coexistence" message conveyed by church leaders or by scientists who have reconciled the two in their own lives might convince even many devout Christians that evolution is no real threat to faith."

Unfortunately for any possibility of honest coexistence, the fact remains that science and religion are intrinsically antithetical. Science deals with evidence based knowledge and, whether or not some scientists are believers, science disproves the chief tenets of most religious beliefs (origins, miracles, and conjectured afterlife). There simply is no good reason, outside emotionally-motivated ignorance, to hypothesize the existence of a supernatural. Without the proferred promise and threat of the supernatural, what is the point of devotion to religious mythologies? Certainly not the rigid, moralistic intolerance passed of as absolute morality by the bigoted Religious so-called Right.

In a realistic, evidence-based world there is no room for deities because deities really do not exist. Never mind placatory statements that we cannot disprove the existence of something that does not exist, the facts clearly support the contention that the supernatural is purely an invention born of ignorance and superstition. There is abundant positive evidence of the invented aspect of religious beliefs in the nearly universal phenomenon of invented religions. Theists inadvertantly and implicitly admit to the disproof of the supernatural by science when they attack science or attempt to commandeer science to their religious purposes.

The New Atheists recognize that without interference religionists will continue to refuse to acknowledge the supremacy of science as an explanatory tool and will continue to distort the truth. No amount of positive scientific statements and geared-to-the-layperson explanations will shift science-ignorant theists without an attack on the root causes of theistic anti-science distortions. Scientific knowledge, particularly in this age of rapid advances in detailed understanding, will always be beyond the ken of the public no matter how well explained. However, this does not mean that the public is justified in dismissing science as hopelessly biased or confused (as religionists would have the science-ignorant believe). This deliberate diminution of science's validity has spread beyond cosmology and evolution and has distorted awareness of public health issues and misdirected political policies.

In Why Pairing Science and Atheism is High-Brow, Jake Young argues that pairing science and atheism might alienate some theists from accepting science. Young quotes John Dewey who said in The American Intellectual Frontier in 1922 that making liberalism high-brow would have the negative consequence of making liberalism a minority movement by definition.

I view this 85 year old essay as an out of date acquiescence to religionist insistence that only religion can provide moral guidance. The lamentable fact is that fundamentalist, conservative, absolutist morality is not only regressive but, in its intolerance and ignorance of social mechanisms, is also largely without any moral merit. Now, as in 1925, America lags far behind other Western nations in its lack of enlightenment.

Young says, "as Nisbet and Schermer have argued, alienating the majority with criticism is likely to extend the time that is necessary for acceptance." I disagree with this because the sit back mutely and be polite to the religionists, bigots, and dim-everything-to-low-brow-level masses has definitely not worked. It is time to shake up the unexamined belief systems of the cossetted religionists and force the closed-minded to question whether or not their narrowness is as acceptable as they have been promised in this modern world. These are not individuals who easily think for themselves and they have been fed an unopposed diet of untruths.

Good critiques of Jake Young's appeasement post: Jason Rosenhouse: Young on Dewey on Being High-Brow : Larry Moran: Jake Young Wants Atheist Scientists to Keep a Low Profile : PZ Myers: Taking exception to Jake


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