I can understand why believers want to defend their beliefs—we all do that. The part I don't get is the incredible stupidity of the main defenders of Intelligent Design Creationism and Young Earth Creationism. Not all of them, of course, but enough to make me slap my head.
Let's take Michael Egnor as an example. He is perfectly entitled to defend his Roman Catholic beliefs and to try and poke holes in evolution. But why does he have to use such stupid arguments? Why is such a person promoted on the main Intelligent Design Creationist website, Evolution News & Views (sic). Is he really the best they've got?
Let's look at his latest post: Clueless in Toronto. He begins with ....
Larry Moran at the University of Toronto has a typically nasty blog post demanding censorship of public prayer at city council meetings in Canada.It doesn't take a mental giant to recognize the difference between censorship and responsible behavior in a secular society. The vast majority (>95%) of city councils in Ontario do NOT begin their meetings with a public display of belief in god(s) and nobody is complaining about that. Furthermore, there's no evidence that the god(s) are punishing those cities for not worshiping them.2
Of course, the obvious remedy to public prayer (if you're a Moran-style atheist) is to not participate. Don't like prayer? Don't pray.
But censorship is part of who Larry Moran and his friends are.
One can make a (weak) case for beginning city council meetings with a prayer if all the council members believe in god(s) and are comfortable with a public display of their personal beliefs in a government institution that's supported by taxpayers. Michael Egnor is free to make that case if he wishes. I'm free to make the case that it's unwise to bring religion into government. If my arguments are more convincing than his—as they are in the vast majority of city councils—then why is this censorship?
I suppose it's "censorship" in his book if the courts agree that public displays of religious belief by politicians in a public institution is unnecessary and inappropriate. But that doesn't make a lot of sense.
It's been almost 15 years since my friends attended a City Council meeting in Mississauga so I don't know for sure what happens today, but back them every member of the audience in the Council Chamber was expected to bow their heads and remain silent during the prayer. They were obliged to participate in a religious ceremony whether they wanted to or not. It's true that they didn't have to pray but they did have to respect the religious ceremony that was going on because it would have been crazy to cause a fuss and then ask city council to respect their views on the issue of the day.
I wonder what would happen if an atheist councilor sat in her chair and read her email messages while the other councilors were standing and praying? No "pressure," right? Why in the world is it necessary for the majority of council members to force their religious demonstrations on every single member of council?
The funny thing is that Moran has had a few self-pitying posts about the reductions in public funding for science (particularly bogus science like AGW "research").First, I do not tell the public that they are idiots. I reserve that description for those individuals who clearly demonstrate that they deserve it. On the other hand, I DO lament the fact that the general public is not well-informed about science.
He doesn't see that the two issues are related. If you tell the public that they're idiots, and you link your anti-religious hate to science, why would you be surprised that after a while the public tells scientists to "go get your paycheck from someone else."
I don't think it's too much to ask that the public finding of science be divorced from religion. The general public should not be basing their decision on how to support scientific investigation on whether or not they believe in a particular god and how fervent their belief is.
Obviously Michael Egnor feels differently. How stupid is that?
Science is an overrated endeavor. Obviously there have been substantial advances, but most of them have been in applied sciences like medical research and engineering, not ideology-infested "disciplines" like climate science and evolutionary biology. Ninety-five percent of the scientific literature is garbage, most of it is irreproducible, and most of the rest is irrelevant except to tenure. A lot of published science is so dodgy with data and logic that if it were a financial prospectus the authors would be prosecuted by securities authorities. And of course scientific literature is a prospectus, attracting hundreds of billions of research dollars annually.Michale Egnor doesn't like the knowledge generated by evolutionary biologists and climatologists. The reason he doesn't like it is because it conflicts with his religious beliefs. He would like to cut off funding for climate studies and evolution because of his religious beliefs. I wonder if this counts as censorship?
Incompetence and fraud seem to plague particular kinds of science. Think about it: what exactly have climate scientists and evolutionary biologists done for you lately, except take billions of tax dollars and then compare you to Holocaust deniers if you question them or call you idiots if you believe in God and drag you into court if you talk about God in public or if you don't want their materialist religion taught to your kids in your schools?
Whether it counts as censorship or not, the argument is quite stupid. How can any reasonable person deny the knowledge generated by science?
People are starting to catch on. There's a simple solution. Defund these credentialed losers who hide behind their worthless "science." They have no marketable skills -- many would require remedial training to work at the drive-through window at McDonald's ("Larry, we know you're new to the restaurant, but you really have to stop telling the customers that they're IDiots -- they pay your salary").Is this really the best they've got? No wonder religion is losing in (almost) all Western industrialized nations.
So aim at the scientific disciplines they infest and take their money away. We don't need just-so stories about evolution, about surviving survivors and randomness generating all of life, and transparent frauds like the crowd in Climategate.
Time to pull away the teat.
1. And the even more subtle webstites of the theistic evolution creationists.
2. Although the behavior of Mayor Rob Ford of Toronto gives one pause. I wonder if things would have been better if there had been prayers at Toronto City Council meetings?