Religion

Tell Us What You Really Think, Hitchens

|

Today in Slate, Chris Hitchens comes out swinging in favor of a personal religious test for office, that is, the total legitimacy of refusing to vote for a candidate because of his religious views. Article VI of the Constitution clearly prohibits an official, legal religious test (and rightly so). However,

what Article VI does not do, and was never intended to do, is deny me the right to say, as loudly as I may choose, that I will on no account vote for a smirking hick like Mike Huckabee, who is an unusually stupid primate but who does not have the elementary intelligence to recognize the fact that this is what he is.

And so Hitchens chronicles another sordid chapter in the public's ongoing confusion about what is unconstitutional (Congress ruling that our national religion will be Mormonism, only Muslims may run for office, and ill words spoken about Catholics will be punishable with jail) and what is absolutely A-OK Constitution-wise (I become a Scientologist, vow to cast my votes only for Jews, and talk shit about Baptists in my spare time).

NEXT: Bush Discovers That Drug Sentences Can Be Too Long

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Thanks Kathy.

  2. Hitchens is funny when he’s been drinking.

    I become a Scientologist, vow to cast my votes only for Jews, and talk shit about Baptists in my spare time

    “You can’t make fun of scientology, kid! We are going to sue your ass and your balls!”

  3. (I become a Scientologist, vow to cast my votes only for Jews, and talk shit about Baptists in my spare time)

    Katherine, since your best blog posts are food-related, I have to ask whether the Scientologists have any dietary rules. I’d hate to see you join a religion that cramps your style on food blogging.

  4. I think it was Hitchens’ former colleague at The Nation Katrina Vanden Heuvel who said (when they parted ways and Hitchens went mad) that Hitchens has obsessively devoted his life to basically three things 1)Destroying religious people, 2)Destroying the Clintons and 3)Destroying Mother Teresa…as someone who considers himself a left-libertarian…Christopher, please get back on the wagon!!

  5. Hitchens is a nasty fellow but occasionally he is right. “No Religious Test” means the government cannot pass a law saying that Mormons can’t hold office. I does not mean that I as a voter am not free to conclude that it is a cult and refuse to vote for any Mormon for any office. It just means the rest of country is free to outvote me and elect a cult member anyway. Why allegedly smart people claim otherwise is beyond me.

  6. 1. Theology tells us very little about how somebody will act in office. Their religion’s moral and ethical teachings are a better place to look.

    2. Holding irrational religious beliefs is not evidence of a lack of intelligence, because they are not beliefs that are arrived at by using your rational faculties to draw conclusions based on evidence and logic.

  7. Oh Hitch, you so crazy. Although, to be fair, “smirking hick” is a pretty good description of Huckabee.

  8. While I am not in favor of any law that in any way enshrines religious descrimination, I’m not so sure that people shouldn’t have to answer for their beliefs…I probably wouldn’t vote for a creationist, sorry, I don’t think that makes me a bigot.

  9. I agree with the assessment of Mike Huckabee, but I don’t really understand this guy. It is, however, correct that I’m allowed to not vote for someone because of what they believe. I should think that was obvious and not worth ranting about, but whatever.

    Also, regarding Mike Huckabee, even my socially conservative/religious friends (of which I don’t have many, but I digress) would deck him if they found themselves within a few feet of him.

  10. No religious test means that you can’t stop someone from RUNNING for office because of their faith. You can vote or not vote for someone for whatever reason you damn well please.

  11. Although, to be fair, “smirking hick” is a pretty good description of Huckabee.

    The only amusement of a Huck presidency would be the inevitable Huckabee Derangement Syndrome from 1) us, 2) the elements of the Dems that just cannot stand religious people, and 3) Europe.

    People think Bush is a smirking chimp and it drives them insane; what would a smirking hick do to them?

  12. I think the first test of a religious candidates should be to persuade us that their personal religious beliefs won’t affect public policy.

    No honest religious person has any business seeking the office if he or she can’t make such assurances. …once persuasively made, I don’t really care what his or her religious beliefs may be.

    I think I’d vote for an Area 51, fake moonshot believing, Sasquatch seeking Baptist. …so long as I thought he or she would cut my taxes, keep spending in check and preserve my rights and liberties.

    Hell, I once voted for a guy for President who was apparently against driver’s licenses and opined on his campaign website site that letting criminals work out in prison only made them stronger.

  13. I object to Hitchens’ classification of Mike Huckabee as a primate.

  14. “Also, regarding Mike Huckabee, even my socially conservative/religious friends (of which I don’t have many, but I digress) would deck him if they found themselves within a few feet of him.”

    I am socially more conservative and religious than a lot of people and I hate Huckabee’s guts. I would vote for a Ralph Nader Linden LaRouche ticket before I voted for him.

  15. Also, Hitchens failed to use the phrase “shit-eating grin”. Maybe he was only on his third gin and tonic.

  16. galaxy101,

    If you wouldn’t vote for a creationist regardless of his or her policy positions or other characteristics, that does make you a bigot.

  17. galaxy101,

    So if a creationists vowed to end the drug war you wouldn’t vote for him? Honestly, who the hell cares what the President thinks about evolution? He is being elected President not to the biology faculty. I am with Ken Shultz on this one. Besides, there are a million good reasons to hate Huckabee that have nothing to do with his religous beliefs.

  18. I object to Hitchens’ classification of Mike Huckabee as a primate.

    I don’t ’bout ya’ll, but I ain’t evolved from no monkey

  19. Hugh,

    Um..what if one of my policy positions is believing in science?

  20. If you wouldn’t vote for a creationist somebody who believes the world is flat and the moon is made of cheese, regardless of his or her policy positions or other characteristics, that does make you a bigot.

  21. can an irrational believer be trusted to make rational policy decisions?

  22. “Also, regarding Mike Huckabee, even my socially conservative/religious friends (of which I don’t have many, but I digress) would deck him if they found themselves within a few feet of him.”

    Ah yes, I remember that Commandment: “thou shalt deck the smirking hicks.”

  23. I think it is perfectly reasonable to decide not to vote for somebody because you believe they hold a variety of irrational beliefs about the world.

  24. “Christopher, please get back on the wagon!!”
    “Maybe he was only on his third gin and tonic.”

    Hitchens drunk is five times the intellect of some of his sober critics.

  25. The reason for being leery of Huckabee’s evolutionary beliefs is because:

    a) anyone who thinks that the world was created 1000 years after the Sumerians discovered glue has got rocks in his head

    b) how much of a science supporter do you think Huckabee will turn out to be?

    I realize that libertarians absolutely detest government funding for science and technology development, so you’re probably perfectly fine with all this.

    (Fine. Now let’s say China, the EU, or Japan decide to start several government-funded R&D programs and open the doors to everyone? Where do you think US scientists are going to end up, with comparative effect on the US’s basis in science and technology?

    Libertarians: destroying US science and technology, one researcher at a time. )

  26. who the hell cares what the President thinks about evolution?

    I do, because anybody capable of so utterly suspending logical, rational thought like that has no damned business with his finger on the metaphorical Button.

    It’s one thing to (for example) believe “Jesus died for my sins” or “bad people are reincarnated as cockroaches” or whatever, because such claims cannot be proven or disproven one way or the other. So you can believe them and still be capable of intelligent, rational thought. But it’s something else entirely to deny that the earth orbits the sun, or deny the reality of evolution at the same time news stories about antibiotic-resistant superbugs, or deny approximately 90 percent of all modern scientific disciplines to insist the world is 6,000 years old. Anybody who can do so is too irrational to be trusted with any damn authority over me and mine.

  27. I am an admirer of Hitchens’ prose, if not always his opinions… but I think he’s got to give this shit a rest for a while. Or at least find some other sacred(?) cow to slaughter. Like, act vindicated about iraq or something. Or gut Hilary! Really, it might help. But the constant getting uppity about Jeebus in all His political manifestations is boring as hell. For fucks sake, I’d bet huckabee is really the only one up there who really is faithful. The rest of them are salesman. Maybe Paul! who knows – he’s at least got the courtesy to say, “thats nobody’s business but mine”, which i think is right on.

  28. Can we say that Hitchens is the intellectual version of Michelle Malkin?

  29. The continuing mystery that is Christopher Hitchens deepens. I’ve seen him write an occasionally intelligent article before, so he can’t be so stupid as to think the Constitution denies him the right to not vote for Huckabee. That religious chip on his shoulder is starting to affect his sanity.

    Cluebat: If you don’t want to vote for Huckabee, then <whack> don’t <whack> vote <whack> for <whack> Huckabee!

  30. “Can we say that Hitchens is the intellectual version of Michelle Malkin?”

    Well maybe if Hitchens writes in favor of interning religious people….

  31. If you wouldn’t vote for a creationist regardless of his or her policy positions or other characteristics, that does make you a bigot.

    Nonsnese. If you feel that some minimal level of critical thinking ought to be necessary for anyone to seeking such a high office then it is not at all bigotry to refuse to vote for someone who has demonstrated a his lacking in that area. This is true regardless of the fact that he somehow manages to come down on your side of most issues. Would it be bigotry to refuse to vote for someone who believes Jesus is set to return on Aug. 12, 2010 regardless of his other policy positions?

  32. who is an unusually stupid primate but who does not have the elementary intelligence to recognize the fact that this is what he is.

    1. Stupidity – like the kind displayed by Huckabee – is not all that unusual.

    2. Doesn’t being an “unusually stupid primate” pretty much mean you lack “elementary intelligence”?

    I’m just spit-balling here, of course…

  33. Also his name brings to mind the act of spitting out fuzzy phlegm-covered insects!

  34. oh, and P.S.

    is it fair to say, anybody capable of pretending to be so utterly suspending logical, rational thought …

    Just because people pander to creationists doesnt mean they’re all goofy in the head themselves. If enough of the electorate believed in the tooth fairy they’d all put on tiaras.

    there’s a parable by K. Gibran called “the Wise King” that sorta speaks to this.

    There’s also that quote from Spartacus. No not the oysters and snails bit. The one where gracchus(?) says, “If there were no gods at all I’d still revere them”.

  35. I have my own two personal religious tests — 1) does the candidate feel they have the right to use that office to impose their religious beliefs on others 2) do they make choices based primarily on a rational assessment of the situation at hand, or do they do whacky, dangerous stuff based on the belief that their God ordered them to do so (to take an entirely theoretical example, pre-emptively invading a country that poses no clear and imminent threat based on shaky, controvertible intelligence).

  36. Just because people pander to creationists doesnt mean they’re all goofy in the head themselves. If enough of the electorate believed in the tooth fairy they’d all put on tiaras.

    Anyone willing to pander to irrationality like that has no business with his finger on the Button, either.

  37. Well maybe if Hitchens writes in favor of interning religious people….

    Well, internment no, genocide yes.

  38. Now let’s say China, the EU, or Japan decide to start several government-funded R&D programs and open the doors to everyone? Where do you think US scientists are going to end up.

    I find Japanese girls and Danish girls to be teh hot, so I’m not terribly worried if I have to move. (Never met too many Chinese girls actually born in China though, but that Ziyi Zhang is sure easy on the eyes as well)

  39. I find Japanese girls and Danish girls to be teh hot, so I’m not terribly worried if I have to move. (Never met too many Chinese girls actually born in China though, but that Ziyi Zhang is sure easy on the eyes as well)

    Are you native to Hawaii, Kolohe, or are the Japanese girls the reason you moved there? 😉 Lots of tourists too, not looking for a long committment and shoping at the highly overpriced “duty free” stores?

  40. Brian Courts — For me personally, I’d say avowing to be a creationist has to be judged in the context of whether the person is making a big deal of it (i.e., pandering to that crowd) or is quietly believing in it but showing signs they won’t do stupid stuff based on that belief.

    I know plenty of religious people who hold really odd beliefs, but manage to set those beliefs aside when they interfere too much with functioning well in the real world.

    For example, if Ron Paul was a creationist (and for all I know he could very quietly be one) it wouldn’t affect his policy of abiding by the constitution.

  41. *shopping

  42. I do, because anybody capable of so utterly suspending logical, rational thought like that has no damned business with his finger on the metaphorical Button.

    I say this not to defend Huckabee, because he is, as far as I can tell, the absolute worst candidate from either party.

    Instead, I’m going to expound on one of my usual topics, the idea that logic and reason do not necesarily require one to believe in evolution. It all depends on your beginning premises, which must be accepted on faith.

    If you believe that human observations reflect reality as it truly is and that the current reality is the product of past reality, then based on our current knowledge evolution is probably the only logical and reasonable explanation for the development of organisms.

    If you start with some other premises, then other explanations become “logical” and “reasonable.” As an existentialist (more or less), I don’t care all that much about the premises of others, but personally I’m more inclined to prefer people who are open-minded. I would rather vote for someone who said “I don’t believe in evolution, but will examine any evidence that appears to the contrary” than “I believe in evolution. There is no way any other explanation is possible and I will ignore any evidence that suggests otherwise.”

  43. Anyone willing to pander to irrationality like that has no business with his finger on the Button, either.

    we’ve yet to invent a politician who does not pander to the irrational, sadly.


  44. we’ve yet to invent a politician who does not pander to the irrational

    RP, no?

  45. Damn. A Hitchen’s anti-endorsement can only help the Huckster among the majority of people who find that over rated dick insufferable. Great prose stylist, my fucking left nut!

  46. Sulla,

    Eveolution is a scientific theory. Yes, a theory with a lot of explanitory power, but a theory nonetheless. There is no guarentee that in a few decades or centuries someone might come up with another theory with greater explainitory power. You don’t “believe” in a scientific theory. At best you agree that it is the best explanation for the known facts that we have. You don’t get religous certainty or absolute facts in science. You get observations and theories to account for and explain those observations.

  47. Hitchens is funny when he’s been drinking.

    I always find him funny.

    …I’m here all week.

  48. Who exactly is Hitchens arguing against?

    Who holds the position that the Constitution prohibits people from having a personal litmus test or from bad-mouthing others’ religious beliefs/sects?

    It seems like a bit of straw being burned in his diatribe?

    Last I checked, people everywhere (for instance, in the art community) were mocking / criticizing other people’s religions just fine.
    I even have seen this type of mockery being considered protected speech.

    What problem is Hitchens actually addressing?

  49. Hitchens’ point should be blazingly obvious to everyone on this board. But my impression is that a major purpose of Romney’s “Mormons are good!” speech was to muddy that distinction, and imply that there would be something wrong about voting against him on account of faith. (I doubt Huckabee has to worry too much on this score.)

    You might call it the difference between a ‘hard’ and a ‘soft’ establishment. The former would be an act of government, and is thus forbidden; the latter is a tacit consensus of the electorate, and is inherent in democracy. There are plenty of other soft establishments besides religion – the odds are rather better for a white straight male Mormon Republican than a black lesbian atheist libertarian, not so?

  50. Here is an interesting discussion about how religion plays out in our elections. Audio, sorry. Text synopsis on page.

    Can anyone tell what radio station I listen to in the morning?

  51. dhex | December 17, 2007, 3:52pm | #

    “”Anyone willing to pander to irrationality like that has no business with his finger on the Button, either.””

    we’ve yet to invent a politician who does not pander to the irrational, sadly.

    Good shot mike. I was still reloading.

  52. “my impression is that a major purpose of Romney’s “Mormons are good!” speech was to muddy that distinction, and imply that there would be something wrong about voting against him on account of faith.”

    I actually think Romney’s speech was intended to say “Hey morons who migh vote for me…Don’t you hate atheists?!”

  53. Ali,

    we’ve yet to invent a politician who does not pander to the irrational

    RP, no?

    Ron Paul, sorry but, no…
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul148.html

  54. If you wouldn’t vote for a creationist regardless of his or her policy positions or other characteristics, that does make you a bigot.

    Count me in that category as well then. I won’t vote for flat earthers, astrology believers, or UFO whack jobs either. I would deny the power of the POTUS to people who can’t face reality.

  55. john,
    evolution is not a theory, although there is a theory of evolution. Just like gravity, evolution is observable fact. Just like gravity, we have a theory for why it occurs, which is natural selection.

  56. Paul | December 17, 2007, 4:03pm | #

    Thanks Paul. Good show. Something to chew on while I work.

    No one’s asking that people vote for people who believe in UFOs (34% of America)… just dont expect “rationality” to be appealing to 90% of the voting public. On planet Vulcan this might be how campaigns work… but here on Earth, Logos sits in the backseat, Ethos rides shotgun, and Pathos drives the bus. Arguing that it “should be otherwise” is naive and sorta besides the point.

  57. Ali,

    I disagree with Hitchens’ take on Islam, but nowhere in the article you linked does Hitchens say he supports genocide. That’s the conclusion of the author. If you want to link to an article where Hitchens advocates rounding up Muslims and killing them, that would prove your point. But supporting a war (which I don’t) doesn’t equal supporting genocide.

    Hitchens has obsessively devoted his life to basically three things 1)Destroying religious people, 2)Destroying the Clintons and 3)Destroying Mother Teresa…

    Two out of three (meaning #’s 2 and 3) aren’t bad.

  58. Neu Mejican,

    Can you find a more rational politician. He has said on several occasions that his religious beliefs are separate form his politics and that he does not feel comfortable speaking about it publically especially during an election season. You know I am not Christian (duh), but am perfectly happy with Paul.

  59. Eveolution is a scientific theory. Yes, a theory with a lot of explanitory power, but a theory nonetheless.

    Thermodynamics is a scientific theory. Yes, a theory with a lot of explanitory power, but a theory nonetheless.
    Relativity is a scientific theory. Yes, a theory with a lot of explanitory power, but a theory nonetheless.
    Universal gravitation is a scientific theory. Yes, a theory with a lot of explanitory power, but a theory nonetheless.

  60. can an irrational believer be trusted to make rational policy decisions?

    Well, both the Clintons are Southern Baptists, same as Huckabee, if that helps.

  61. Just as catholics reserve the right to make fun of catholics and catholicism (i think the same thing goes with Jews) As an atheist I reserve the right to make fun of stupid primate prime; Hitchens.

  62. Hey, I know how we can kill the last few hours of the work day! Let’s all get into some kind of evolution/theory/fact/what does that mean/shut up Dembski/you too Behe argument. We can invite in a few folks from the Discovery Institute, some of the Little Green Fascists, and a Dawkins fan or three for good measure. That’ll be awesome! WHOO!

  63. Les,

    Watch the attached video (minute 7.30 or thereabouts). Something along the lines “we have not resisted enough… training an army to… to fight and *really* kill… ” according to Myers he went on to say even more appalling things. For example (according to Myers): “The way to win the war is to kill so many Moslems that they begin to question whether they can bear the mounting casualties…”

  64. … video in Raimondo’s article, btw.

  65. Les, but i do not worry to much about Chris. He’s a nut. Just don’t elect him president or anything of the sorts. He’s wackier than Huck.

  66. “Eveolution is a scientific theory.”

    That life has evolved over billions of years and over hundreds of millions of years for multicellular life is fact. How it has evolved is theory such as gradual Darwinian evolution through genetic mutations and natural selection or through punctuated equilibrian also entailing genetic mutations and natural selection. Evolution is fact and not subject to change, but the details of it are subject to change as more data comes in.

  67. Ali,

    Can you find a more rational politician.

    Paul does not stand out in my mind as exceptionally rational, and he hardly avoids pandering (I mean the war on Christmas, come on…).

    From his website: NAFTA’s superhighway is just one part of a plan to erase the borders between the U.S. and Mexico, called the North American Union. This spawn of powerful special interests, would create a single nation out of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico, with a new unelected bureaucracy and money system. Forget about controlling immigration under this scheme.

    Does this seem like a danger based in a rational assessment of reality, or pandering?

  68. Tangential to the topic. I picked up Hitchens’ latest screed, “God Is Not Great, How Religion Poisons Everthing”. Fortunately, I picked it at the public library and didn’t waste any money on it. The man has a serious chip on his shoulder.

  69. ali, what do you think the end game for most neo-cons,anti-islamic terrorist people is? There is no army to fight, it is a war against an idea and that idea is islam. This is a crusade for most people even if they won’t admit it at first.

    i’m not one of them btw.

  70. J Sub D.

    Before about 1900, Newtonian physics was one hell of a theory. You could go to the moon with it, but it was of course wrong. Not completely wrong in that it could explain like 95% of what we see, but wrong nonetheless in that it couldn’t explain the other five percent. Any one other than perhaps Maxwell, who had he lived longer very well may have come up with relativity before Einstein, who says they saw it coming is either a liar or a nutcase.

    The theory of evolution is what it is. There is nothing to say that we won’t make observations in the future that the theory cannot account for. Same goes with thermodynamics. As a matter of fact, I will bet anything that before my life ends, our understanding of thermodynamics will be a lot different than it is today.

    I stand by my previous statement, “you don’t get certainty from science”. The fact that people are looking for it from science doesn’t change that.

  71. Hitchens’ article is just basic political doctrine: you’re going to vote for the person who best aligns with your personal values. Hitchens isn’t any different in that respect than the people who LIKE Huckabee.

  72. “Well, both the Clintons are Southern Baptists, same as Huckabee, if that helps.”

    Hillary is a Methodist. She goes to the Baptist Church with the Slick, but she was raised as a Methodist.

  73. “you don’t get certainty from science”

    Absolutely correct. It still gives you your best guess though.

  74. Ali,

    Again, he’s talking about waging war against the militant fundamentalists, not about genocide.

    That said, it’s good not to worry about Hitch, he is a nut. But, despite his insane opinions (and his occasional dickwadery), he’s a gifted writer and very historically knowledgeable. Unlike Malkin, he’s not a knee-jerk partisan or a nationalist.

  75. I find it fascinating that Americans, in general, demand that their elected politicians be religious, but don’t want them to act on their beliefs while in office.

    Imagine, if you will, what would have happened if Bush had refused to do anything after 9/11 because Jesus teaches that you turn the other cheek and love your enemies. Has any president allowed their deeply-held religious convictions to prevent them from taking this country to war?

  76. I do think the thing that sets Hitchens apart from Dawkins(whom I much prefer) is that Hitchens has a way of being a real asshole about all of his opinions.

  77. “you don’t get certainty from science”

    You can’t get certainty from anything.

  78. “Imagine, if you will, what would have happened if Bush had refused to do anything after 9/11 because Jesus teaches that you turn the other cheek and love your enemies”

    You have to understand that we have very few of those kind of religious people in the United States…we have a muscular moronic kick-ass nationalistic Christianity.

  79. It is of course true that science does not provide certainty. But the key point to remember – and I’m not accusing you in particular of forgetting it, by any means – is that there are degrees of uncertainty. This is a point that is often glossed over by people who emphasise that everything in science is “just a theory” – usually as a prelude to suggesting, more or less subtly, that science is therefore less reliable than faith.

  80. “I find it fascinating that Americans, in general, demand that their elected politicians be religious, but don’t want them to act on their beliefs while in office.”

    Another danger is that a polititian with strong apocalypic beliefs decides to hasten the end of the world by blowing it up.

  81. The theory of evolution is what it is. There is nothing to say that we won’t make observations in the future that the theory cannot account for. Same goes with thermodynamics. As a matter of fact, I will bet anything that before my life ends, our understanding of thermodynamics will be a lot different than it is today.

    I stand by my previous statement, “you don’t get certainty from science”. The fact that people are looking for it from science doesn’t change that.

    People keep saying this like uncertainty is somehow a valid criticism of evolutionary theory. (Or science in general, for that matter.)

    Uncertainty in science is a feature, not a bug.

  82. You know what provides certainty? A 4000 year old book written down by nomadic sheep hearders! There’s nothing like the scribblings of shepheards who’d yet to master indoor plumbing to give me an unbending certainty that everything is right with the world.

  83. adrian- Yeah, I know. No idea no matter how dangerous can be fought with weapons. And they (the neocons) know that.

  84. NM- Sure. But neither NAFTA nor religion are his highest ranking election topics. He is 100% rational (at least to me) on the justice of his economic views.

    Again, is there any politician more rational than he is?

  85. Im always surprised no one ever mentions Karl Popper in these (endless, boring!) evolution/creationism discussions

    ‘Certainty’ isnt so much the issue… its the “falsifiability as the criterion of demarcation” between science/non science. Science is not a positive, affirmative process, but essentially negative. It tells you only what can be proven wrong by a given question, not what’s ‘proved’. Nothing is ever proved. Thats a myth.

  86. very historically knowledgeable

    Not to what he says/spews about the history and complexities of the Middle East. Philosopher Hitchens may be, but not that much of a Middle Eastern historian and not quite a student of religion either.

  87. “Paul does not stand out in my mind as exceptionally rational, and he hardly avoids pandering (I mean the war on Christmas, come on…).”

    Maybe he’s not pandering. Maybe he really believes that.

  88. A distinction can be made between those who are critical of the theory of evolution, as there have been many major arguments within the Neo-Darwinist camp over the last several decades, and a creationist who believes the Earth is only five or ten thousand years old.

    As for mere critics, even including those within the Intelligent Design framework, I would have no problem voting for someone who adhered to that point of view even if I disagreed, but the short Earth history creationist are like the flat Earthers, beyond the pale of reason and therefore, display a penchant to gullibility which is not a virtue you want in a president.

    However, for Hitchens, given he is a socialist, there is more than a little bitty mote in his eye when criticizing belief in irrational things.

  89. However, for Hitchens, given he is a socialist, there is more than a little bitty mote in his eye when criticizing belief in irrational things.

    He was a socialist. I don’t think he considers himself to be one anymore.

  90. “However, for Hitchens, given he is a socialist, there is more than a little bitty mote in his eye when criticizing belief in irrational things.”

    I don’t think Hitchens was just a socialist, he was a far left Trotskyite, but like the neo-cons he has become very right wing in International matters.

  91. Maybe he’s not pandering. Maybe he really believes that.

    Quite honestly, the attacks on Christmas are very silly (and I am not a Christian [duh!], nor do I want to impose my personal religious holidays on anyone). I do not think Paul has ever suggested making it into law to protect Christmas or what have you. The piece NM refers to is just one where Paul expresses his persona beliefs. I see no problem in that.

    NM is being to hard on Paul.

  92. New Republic has a great article in its current issue on the death of moderate/pragmatic atheism. Not legal or constitutional, still exposes Hitchens et al. (Dennet, Harris, Dawkins) as the nuts they are: http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=5348120e-dea8-4733-8e56-a055d46299d0

  93. John, we may agree more than we think. I don’t think Einstein’s theory of general relativity is the be all and end all of the subject. No more than Newton’s work on gravitation. Or Darwin’s work on evolution by natural selection.

    But NONE of these theories will be overturned/destroyed. They are all essentially correct. Unlike the geocentric theory, phlogiston theory, or biblical accounts of creation, which have all been relegated to the scrap bin. The theories I mentioned, and some others, will almost assuredly be modified somewhat as more knowledge and subtler, more inclusive theories emerge. The Heliocentric theory is not really correct. But the Earth still goes around the sun for an accurate first approximation. The biblical account of creation is completely misproven. Darwin’s work has been and will continue to be modified. If Huckabee can’t figure out or admit that, he’s too stupid or stubborn to be president.

  94. On economic matters, Hitchens is just another neo-con.
    The only things that separate Hitchens from GWB are a) belief in god, b) drinking, and c) intelligence.

  95. New Republic has a great article in its current issue on the death of moderate/pragmatic atheism. Not legal or constitutional, still exposes Hitchens et al. (Dennet, Harris, Dawkins) as the nuts they are: http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=5348120e-dea8-4733-8e56-a055d46299d0

    They really are nutbags. To have your position be that religion is the source of all human evil, the century after communism killed more people than every other ideology ever put together, takes a lot of fucking nerve.

  96. I just got out of a meeting. My point was not that evolution is “just” a theory, but that nothing, not even the scientific method, can prove anything until you establish premises. If you start from the premises that maybe our observations do not reflect the true nature of reality, to the extent reality has a nature or is not simply a useful construct, then evolution is not necessarily a logical or reasonable conclusion.

    I see no reason to believe that our observations accurately reflect reality, or that reality as we observe it today is the same as reality as it was in the “past.” I admit that much of this exercise is ultimately about the meaning of words and people generally don’t get bogged down in epistemology (sp?).

    My point is that accepting the premises that underpin a scientific view of reality is very useful (and in some situations more or less necessary), it is not the only useful way to understand the world. I find believing in most metaphysical concepts has no effect on my life, so I choose to believe very little. I do not believe that my observations are falsely indicating the nature of reality because I do not think it would be a useful philosophy to attempt to thwart our observations of how the world works.

    My point is also that many people, whether they believe in a literal biblical view of creation, or a more nuanced version, or in the big bang and evolution, don’t really stop to consider how they arrived at their beliefs. Someone who blindly believes in the premises that lead to a world in which evolution is part of the scientific canon may be just as unreasonable as someone who blindly believes in the creation account of the Bible.

  97. And I see that Reason’s running ads for the cringlingly lame “Rational Response” Squad.

    Being a smart ass atheist makes you intelligent and edgy till you turn about 15.

  98. Being a smart ass atheist makes you intelligent and edgy till you turn about 15.

    And being an angry one doesn’t get you laid as an adult.

  99. Being a smart ass atheist makes you intelligent and edgy till you turn about 15.

    But being just a smart atheist gives joy that lasts your whole life. 😉

  100. James: I find Dawkins to be an asshole about EVERYTHING (although I saw one possible exception recently in an R. Bailey post).

    Gilmore: “Props” on the Popper reference (I put “props” in quotes because I am not from the ‘hood)

  101. I do on occasion wish the more militant atheists would tone it down. But then, I’m still young – another twenty years of Romneys and Huckabees, and I’ll be ready to blow a gasket too.

    Also – another hooray for Popper, my favourite philosopher on alternate days. (The other days he’s second to Hume.)

  102. “It’s that when they are even slightly criticized for their absurd opinions, they can squeal as if being martyred and act as if they are truly being persecuted.”

    The Christian religion thrives on persecution. From the symbol of torture they use as thier symbol to their book of “saints” they think it is somehow sinfull to live a happy life when it is possible to suffer while converting others to the faith. The best way for an atheist or other nonbeliever to piss off a radical Christian is to treat him with love and kindness as a non-believer.

  103. Science is not a positive, affirmative process, but essentially negative.

    and if you believe in the ability of that process to explain natural phenomena…

    The question is not as simple as being either a creationist or an evolutionist. One could certainly note that both approaches (processes, if you will) are fundamentally incapable of being both fully explanatory and accurately predictive.

  104. Good post, KMW. Now, maybe you can explain to Ron Bailey that personal decisions by lawmakers to vote for abortion or embryonic stem cell research bans do not violate separation of church and state.

  105. The atheist, theist argument will never be settled, and the religionists will always have the upper hand in society. Here, I’m allowed to be a heretic, or apostate or whatever. I can live with that.

    And being an angry one doesn’t get you laid as an adult.

    It’s definately not prudent to bring it up on the first date. Serious question, do religious people talk about religion on a first date? I mean other than denominational identification.

  106. “Serious question, do religious people talk about religion on a first date?”
    I am not a religious person but I once was. It depends on the circumstance. If you met the person in a religious context (i.e. at Church or a Christian Meet-UP) then yes. If, you met her while helping her change her tyre, usually not -till later. Of course a true religious fanatic probably would not WANT to date a girl he met somewhere other than a religious context.

  107. I am as luke warm and fence straddlin a christian as you can find. Having said that, when I hear a candidate say that their religious belief will in no way affect their policy decisions I have to conclude that:
    a)they are a unpracticing believer.
    b) they are a liar.
    c) they will be a bad politician.
    d) all of the above.

    To claim that guidance from God through the Holy Spirit leads your life and that you will ignore It to lead the masses is similar to sean hannity claiming that humility is his greatest asset.

  108. …that both approaches (processes, if you will) are fundamentally incapable of being both fully explanatory and accurately predictive.

    Huh? Creationists used to proudly point out that there was no intermediate fossils for cetaceans. Evolutionists predicted that the fossils would be discovered and the age of the rocks that they’d be discovered in. Guess who was vindicated in that little skirmish.

    If you are just stating that evolutionary theory can’t explain everything, well yeah. But the gaps keep getting smaller and smaller.

    Evolutionary biology can and does make accurate predictions.

  109. PIRS, thanks. If I sounded stupid there, I’ll blame it on an exclusively secular dating scheme.

  110. Smart Ass Athiest,

    I agree that christians today seem to need a bit of bashing. I think it makes them more self assured of their faith. They need it, in my opinion, because of a lack of faith on their part.
    I appreciate your call to civility to athiests and can only pray that christians would understand the necessity of treating non-believers with kindness and civil discourse out of love. Not out of contempt as most seem so willing to do.

  111. FWIW,

    All the creationists I know believe in evolution. You don’t need to reject evolution in order to be a creationist. ID doesn’t exclude evolution completely.

    With that in mind, I’d agree that anyone that knows anything at all about biology and still doesn’t believe in evolution is either too dumb or too dishonest to be president. …and again, I’d say that the best answer such a person could give would be along the lines–my religious beliefs are between me and God and they will never interfere with public policy.

  112. we’ve yet to invent a politician who does not pander to the irrational

    You can’t, because whatever you disagree with is…irrational.

  113. Re:Popper – it is always important to keep both Kuhn and Feyerabend in mind as well…

    The idea that science can, and should, be run according to fixed and universal rules, is both unrealistic and pernicious. It is unrealistic, for it takes too simple a view of the talents of man and of the circumstances which encourage, or cause, their development. And it is pernicious, for the attempt to enforce the rules is bound to increase our professional qualifications at the expense of our humanity. In addition, the idea is detrimental to science, for it neglects the complex physical and historical conditions which influence scientific change. It makes our science less adaptable and more dogmatic: every methodological rule is associated with cosmological assumptions, so that using the rule we take it for granted that the assumptions are correct. Naive falsificationism takes it for granted that the laws of nature are manifest and not hidden beneath disturbances of considerable magnitude. Empiricism takes it for -ranted that sense experience is a better mirror of the world than pure thought. Praise of argument takes it for granted that the artifices of Reason give better results than the unchecked play of our emotions. Such assumptions may be perfectly plausible and even true. Still, one should occasionally put them to a test. Putting them to a test means that we stop using the methodology associated with them, start doing science in a different way and see what happens. From Feyerabend’s against method…

    Ali,

    NM is being to hard on Paul.

    Not at all.
    I just don’t see him as an animal of a different stripe than your average politician.

    From his record are some less than rational votes…

    # Voted YES on funding for health providers who don’t provide abortion info. (Sep 2002)
    # Voted YES on banning Family Planning funding in US aid abroad. (May 2001)

    Seems the government is being used to promote his personal position…

    # Voted YES on banning partial-birth abortion except to save mother’s life. (Oct 2003)
    # Voted YES on banning partial-birth abortions. (Apr 2000)

    And here, the government is legislating to restrict the freedom of doctors and patients to make this sensitive medical decision for themselves.

    If his position on Roe Vs. Wade is rational, how can he support the Federal government getting involved here?

  114. NM, hmm, I’m thinking of a certain someone who regards science with skepticism, and describes the “empirical fallacy”, then goes on to explain why his method is “true” and all “scientificy” and stuff (look at all the math!), but ignore the fact that none of it can be proven.

  115. Ron Paul

    A sampling of questions…

    Rational?
    “Don’t ask, don’t tell is a decent policy for gays in army. (Jun 2007)”

    Voted YES on banning gay adoptions in DC. (Jul 1999)

    Equal funds for abstinence as contraceptive-based education. (Sep 2007)

    Property rights are the foundation of all rights. (Sep 2007)

    [NM: as important as they are, property rights are secondary to the right to life, and the right to freedom, from which property rights may be derived…not the foundation of all rights, imho]…

    Pandering?
    Voted YES on protecting the Pledge of Allegiance. (Sep 2004)
    Present scientific facts that support creationism. (Sep 2007)
    Supports a Constitutional Amendment for school prayer. (May 1997)

  116. Paul,

    Hmmm…
    I have no idea…

    Any less obtuse clues???

  117. Paul,

    Or am I slow today?

    Wittgenstein?

    Perhaps?

  118. Neu Mejican,

    My biggest problem with Ron Paul is that he supports removing birth-right citizenship. Imagine if he gets his way on this. Twenty or thirty years from now people will need to prove not only where THEY were born but also that there parents were here legally or were born here. This is a nightmare scenario. Think you’ve got big brother now? Get that policy passen and in a few decades we will be living on friggen’ Air Strip One.

  119. NM

    Property rights are the foundation of all rights.

    property rights are secondary to the right to life

    Your life is your property

  120. NM,

    Sorry, I wasn’t attempting to be coy or clever. I was just typing outloud. Robert S. Hartman, who is, I’m sure a wonderful person who only intends to do good, and his execrable “Hartman Value Profile”. A colleague of mine was so intrigued by his glorified astrology test, that he bought his book. It’s a scary read.

  121. SIV,

    No.
    I disagree.

    My life is a condition of being that distinguishes me from an inanimate object.

    My most basic right is to exist in this state as long as I can maintain it without impeding a similar condition in another.

  122. Paul,

    Never heard of Hartman, I must admit.

  123. My biggest problem with Ron Paul is that he supports removing birth-right citizenship. Imagine if he gets his way on this.

    I’m not trying to counter this statement or pump up Mr. Paul’s ideas on this, but when was the last time a presidential candidate, any candidate, had a major, profound change they wanted to make that got their way on it?

  124. Never heard of Hartman, I must admit.

    You’ll do well to ignore him. Well, until the head of your HR department goes to a seminar and starts screening out all of the applicants based upon where they ranked in value the following:

    A Uniform
    A short circuit
    A pile of trash
    A brilliant Mathmetician
    A good Meal
    With this ring I thee wed

    No, I’m not kidding.

  125. My most basic right is to exist in this state as long as I can maintain it without impeding a similar condition in another.

    Baldrick: No, the thing is: The way I see it, these days there’s a war on, right? and, ages ago, there wasn’t a war on, right? So, there must have been a moment when there not being a war on went away, right? and there being a war on came along. So, what I want to know is: How did we get from the one case of affairs to the other case of affairs?

    Edmund: Do you mean “How did the war start?”

  126. NM: as important as they are, property rights are secondary to the right to life, and the right to freedom, from which property rights may be derived…not the foundation of all rights, imho

    I have by no means done the deep reading that others no doubt have, but my impression is, as the song goes “you can’t have one without the other”

  127. I’m not trying to counter this statement or pump up Mr. Paul’s ideas on this, but when was the last time a presidential candidate, any candidate, had a major, profound change they wanted to make that got their way on it?

    Eisenhower’s internationalism I think permanently (Dr Paul nothwithstanding) removed isolationism from the Republican party specifically, and the mainstream political spectrum generally.

  128. deep fried mexican food says:

    “To have your position be that religion is the source of all human evil, the century after communism killed more people than every other ideology ever put together, takes a lot of fucking nerve.”

    Poorly built strawman there, chalupa. Hitchens thinks that religion is an evil, not the source of all evil.

    Contrasting deaths under the various communist regimes with deaths under religious regimes actually just emphasizes the fact that blind adherence to dogma is an evil. Stalin and Mao sacrificed their millions on the altar of collectivization, and the absolute intolerance of dissent. They declared war on capitalism and the bourgeoisie, religious and atheist alike.
    People were forcibly converted to Marxism, not atheism. Karl Marx said that atheism was “irrelevant to our greater cause of Marxism.”

    Religion, on the other hand, has been the root cause for many wars. The Crusades, the Thirty Years War, Reconquista, etc, etc.

    I am unaware of any “Atheist War”, where the goal was to covert the other side to atheism. Not that it couldn’t happen. Wars are often caused by a small group of fanatical leaders talking the rest of the tribe into it. 🙁

    From Hermann Goering:
    “Naturally the common people don’t want war. But after all, it is the
    leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it’s always a
    simple matter to drag people along whether it is a democracy or a
    fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.
    Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of
    the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are
    being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and
    for exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every
    country.”

    J sub D:
    “But being just a smart atheist gives joy that lasts your whole life. ;-)” Amen. 😉

  129. That life has evolved over billions of years and over hundreds of millions of years for multicellular life is fact. How it has evolved is theory such as gradual Darwinian evolution through genetic mutations and natural selection or through punctuated equilibrian also entailing genetic mutations and natural selection. Evolution is fact and not subject to change,

    Sorry, Rattlesnake Jake, but evolution is a THEORY, as are all the explanations of how it work. A really, really, really solid theory based on lots of observation. Facts, in science, are things actually observed (and generally only if observed by several independent researchers).

    Newton observing an apple falling recorded a fact. Newton deducing his theory of gravity — well, that was a theory, and a jolly good one that explained stuff really well, but which was replaced by a slightly better theory by Einstein.

    I’m not a creationist, BTW — just a pedant. 😉

  130. I’m not a creationist, BTW — just a pedant. 😉

    You mean … pain in the caboose, don’t you? 😉

  131. “Sorry, Rattlesnake Jake, but evolution is a THEORY…”

    To nitpick, “The Theory of Evolution” is a theory. A well supported theory, as you point out.

    “Evolution” is an observed fact.
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html

  132. “Can we say that Hitchens is the intellectual version of Michelle Malkin?”

    No. No, we really can’t. Not even if I understood what you meant by “intellectual version of.”

  133. NM- I disagree on many of the things you mention regarding Paul, but am too tired to argue now. But I do not think you are being fair to the man.

  134. Poorly built strawman there, chalupa. Hitchens thinks that religion is an evil, not the source of all evil.

    Contrasting deaths under the various communist regimes with deaths under religious regimes actually just emphasizes the fact that blind adherence to dogma is an evil. Stalin and Mao sacrificed their millions on the altar of collectivization, and the absolute intolerance of dissent. They declared war on capitalism and the bourgeoisie, religious and atheist alike.
    People were forcibly converted to Marxism, not atheism. Karl Marx said that atheism was “irrelevant to our greater cause of Marxism.”

    Religion, on the other hand, has been the root cause for many wars. The Crusades, the Thirty Years War, Reconquista, etc, etc.

    I am unaware of any “Atheist War”, where the goal was to covert the other side to atheism. Not that it couldn’t happen. Wars are often caused by a small group of fanatical leaders talking the rest of the tribe into it. 🙁

    Sorry, that doesn’t fly. If Christianity has to answer for crusades, inquisitions, etc than atheism has to answer for Marxism.

    My personal theory is that people need some nonsense to believe in. With religion, you may derive spiritual comfort and you may need to force your beliefs on others and you may not. But secular utopian visions always translate into activism.

    Are there people with the intellectual ability and personal courage to not believe in Gods or a world after the revolution? Yes, but they are a small minority and that’s why most politically active atheists/agnostics are on the left.

  135. prolefeed wrote: Sorry, Rattlesnake Jake, but evolution is a THEORY, as are all the explanations of how it work. A really, really, really solid theory based on lots of observation. Facts, in science, are things actually observed (and generally only if observed by several independent researchers).

    Newton observing an apple falling recorded a fact. Newton deducing his theory of gravity — well, that was a theory, and a jolly good one that explained stuff really well, but which was replaced by a slightly better theory by Einstein.

    I’m not a creationist, BTW — just a pedant. 😉

    Since when do facts have to be actually observed? It’s obviously a fact that the earth goes around the sun, and yet that’s not actually observed. (I mean, say what you will about the Ptolemaic model, it doesn’t run contrary to plain observation.)

    Your use of the term ‘fact’ isn’t pedantic, it’s hopelessly idiosyncratic.

  136. Grand Chalupa,

    What’s wrong with the following position? Don’t blame theism or atheism. Blame the big ideological systems that get attached to them.

    After all, theism and atheism are both simple and confined positions. They don’t have any implications for morality or politics or anything like that.

  137. Dave2,

    That’s what I’m saying. Now go tell Hitchens that.

  138. “After all, theism and atheism are both simple and confined positions. They don’t have any implications for morality or politics or anything like that.”

    Dave2, this depends on what you mean by “the big ideological systems that get attached to them”. I am not going to assume what you mean by this. Do you mean religions? If so you may have a point. Otherwise I would have to disagree. Is that what you mean?

  139. Well, OK, but then I still get to say that Christianity is more responsible for witch-burnings than atheism is for Stalinism. After all, Christianity isn’t just harmless little theism. It’s a big crazy ideological system.

  140. PIRS, yeah sure, religions are one prominent example of the kind of thing I have in mind. Revolutionary Marxism also works.

  141. “Sorry, that doesn’t fly. If Christianity has to answer for crusades, inquisitions, etc than atheism has to answer for Marxism.”

    Grand Chupla, you are wrong. Atheism is not an ideology it is a belief on one specific idea: the existence or non-existence of a deity. Christianity is an ideology as is Marxism. I would agree if you said “If Christianity has to answer for the Crusades then Marxism has to answer for deaths cause by Mao and Stalin.” That would make sense.

  142. Dave2, in that case I agree with you.

  143. Y’know, of all the religions of the modern era, the one that I think probably DOES deserve to be called a cult is Scientology. Their e-meter routines sound more like brainwashing than anything equivalent to prayer. Their rants against psychology help to justify this suspicion in my mind. A well trained psychologist could probably tell if a person had been brain washed. There are also enough credible news reports of people being killed by for opposing the church in one way or another.

  144. Dude, you don’t know the half of it. Scientology is one of the worst cults around. Look up Operation Snow White and the RPF and dead agenting. Not to mention Xenu and the Marcab Confederacy and all the rest.

  145. Thanks,

    Have you read the Skeptics Dictionary entry?
    http://skepdic.com/dianetic.html

    It has some interesting links. This group looks scary.

    It also looks like they may have some political power. Check this out.
    http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/07/02/05/1334203.shtml

  146. Grand Chupla, you are wrong. Atheism is not an ideology it is a belief on one specific idea: the existence or non-existence of a deity. Christianity is an ideology as is Marxism.

    That’s your opinion. Many say that a Christian is someone who believes Jesus was the son of God. Like atheism, its an idea and the bible is big enough and has enough contradicatory statements to justify anything. An anarchist like Tolstoy or a fascist like Franco, a Republican like Regan or a Democrat like Carter could all be considered Christian.

    Whose version of Christianity do you consider the ideology?

  147. “Evolution is fact and not subject to change, but the details of it are subject to change as more data comes in.”

    disclaimer: i am a BELIEVER (praise science!!!!) in evolution.

    however, your statemtn is rubbish. NOT SUBJECT TO CHANGE.

    plenty of things that observation and science SEEM to make crystal clear as fact, are later found out to be erroneous. everything from things we thought obvious about geometry (not so obvious in curved space/time), physics (oh boy. ), astronomy, etc. that once were FACTS are now realized to have been the best theory (see: occam) to encompass the available data.

    evolution is certainly that theory. and it MAY be a fact. heck, it may be a fact. but stating that it is a fact, incontrovertibly and that it is not subject ot change is ironically one of the most dogmatic, and LEAST respectful of science statements i have ever read.

    i could cut the irony with a ladle. seriously, somebody who claims to be all scientific n ‘ stuff stating that the current theory (in anything) is FACT and not subject to change is deliciously ironic.

    good show

    !

  148. Their rants against psychology help to justify this suspicion in my mind.

    I believe that Scientologists are pissed off at psychiatry, not psychology. I’m just basing this on the ads they post on Sunset Blvd, near their home base. They even some kind of walk-in museum around Vine with displays about the horrors of psychiatry.

  149. whit,

    Settle down, for Christ’s sake. Pointing out that heliocentrism is a fact is not dogmatic and it’s not a betrayal of science. Same goes for evolution.

    There’s no need to talk up the remote possibility of being wrong. It’s not like when someone asks you what time it is, you say “Quarter till three, though certainty will ever elude such poor forked creatures as we!”

  150. Ali,

    NM- I disagree on many of the things you mention regarding Paul, but am too tired to argue now. But I do not think you are being fair to the man.

    I am not sure why you think I am being hard on Paul. All I have said is that he is a politician who, like the others, picks positions that support his own biases, and panders to the biases of his base.

    I disagree with his anti-scientific positions, his anti-freedom positions, and his strange anti-conspiracy rhetoric.

    On other points, I find his positions well thought out, even when I disagree with them.

    On balance, he comes out as about average on the “rational politician” scale. Sort of the evil twin of Kucinich (or is he the good twin, I forget).

  151. Dave2-

    The Earth is the center of the Universe and the Sun does move around it. An evil god has caused you to believe otherwise.

  152. chalupa:
    “Sorry, that doesn’t fly. If Christianity has to answer for crusades, inquisitions, etc than atheism has to answer for Marxism.”

    I missed the supporting evidence for this silly assertion. Bald assertion has no persuasive power with me, sorry.

    “My personal theory is that people need some nonsense to believe in.”

    Ah, the “Nobel Lie”. Well, that’s one way to go.

    “But secular utopian visions always translate into activism. ”

    I have no idea WTF this means. You just make this up as you go along?

  153. Make that “Noble Lie”, and I ain’t givin out any awards. 🙂

  154. “Settle down, for Christ’s sake. Pointing out that heliocentrism is a fact is not dogmatic and it’s not a betrayal of science. Same goes for evolution.”

    at one point geocentrism was scientific FACT. it encompassed all the available data (until they noticed a couple of retrogade paths in the sky, etc. then started to get extra complicated with their spheres, then finally realized it was all WRONG).

    but that’s details. the point is this. nobody who respects and understands science would make a statement that some scientific theory is NOT SUBJECT TO CHANGE.

    the whole IDEA of science is that we fit the theories to the (often new and conflicting evidence), NOT the evidence to the theories.

    your statement is unscientific, stupid, and arrogant (and some scientists ARE as arrogant as some theists in discussing “settled science)

    you just demonstrate that dogmatism and lack of understanding is just as prevalent among lovers of science as anybody else.

    we can all think of a ton of examples ( i referenced a few) that were clearly scientific fact (lol) that later turned out to be wrong. and our current theories may be wrong too. but they are the BEST theories.

    it is said that in science, new theories meet several stages of disbelief, ridicule, etc. before they are accepted. and that’s fine. it is part and parcel of science to be skeptical.

    but you are not proposing skepticism (or science). you are proposing dogmatic closemindedness.

    i won’t ‘settle down’ because you are espousing ridiculous ignorance of what science is IN the course of defending science.

    it is entirely correct to state that theory of evolution is well accepted theory, supported by a wealth of data/evidence, etc. it is also correct to say that “intelligent design” is NOT science. it’s not a “competing scientific theory” , since it’s not a scientific theory. it’s metaphysics/philosophy with a scientific (faux) sheen.

    but that’s again not the point. the point is that anybody who claims ANY scientific theory is NOT SUBJECT TO CHANGE since its FACT doesn’t understand what science is.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.