This book is an enlightening read.
One of the most irritating “movements” in recent times is the rise of the New Atheism, which blames the troubled, backward nature of man on religion (rather than religion blaming man for his troubled, backward nature). While you will find some consistent, intellectually-honest atheists that are critical of all religions, the overwhelming majority of invective is aimed at Christianity. Islam skates on pretty much scot-free. Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism go undiscussed.
One of the common claims made is that Christianity is anti-science, anti-education, anti-personal development, and anti-truth. “Debates” are held to bolster the case by having a prominent atheist, such as Chris Hitchens (RIP), debate some clueless backwater preacher about evolution. And yet, as Schaeffer recounts, Christianity actually laid the foundation upon which modern science could be built. The belief in an objective reality, along with a God that had revealed truth to mankind, and that this God was a logical God who had left clues to the working of this world about here and there, is what motivated the scientific revolutions of the 1700’s and onward. The Muslims were at one point far ahead of Europe in science and mathematics – and the Chinese had everyone whupped. But no rational method of enquiry – the scientific method – had been codified and put into practice by them.
While reading the chapter on the rise of modern science, I began thinking of many of the claims made by New Atheists and atheist YouTube/blogger personalities. While I am hardly a backer of credentialism, I am curious as to why so many prominent, gung-ho, pro-science atheists do not have college degrees in the hard sciences. Heck, only two of the Four Horsemen are actual scientists: Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins. Daniel Dennett, while a purty smart fella, is still a philosopher, and Hitch was a man of letters. This extends to other atheists as well. Rebecca Watson, who made a name for herself by accusing Richard Dawkins of misogyny (puh-leaze). She’s made a career for herself out of bashing religion while preaching the wonders of science. Her college degree?
(In defense of the atheists though, Watson is more of a whiny feminist, and feminists hate math and science ‘coz that shit’s tough, so it’s kind of a cheap shot to lump her with them.)
I couldn’t find anything on Jaclyn Glenn’s degree. TheAmazingAtheist (Terroja Kincaid) dropped out of high school. At least Cara Santa Maria has some publications to her name.
If science is so near and dear to these people… why don’t they study it themselves?
I personally don’t take much offense at their claims that religion stifles science – mainly because I know better. Hell, the worst scientific repression in history was not done by Christians, or any religious people at all. The worst scientific repression was perpetrated by godless Communists in Russia and China during the 20th century. The regimes executed or jailed any scientist or engineer that contradicted Stalin or Mao’s agricultural modernization plans, or failed to hit target production goals of things like coal, steel, or petroleum. Russian biology and agricultural know-how was demolished with the rise of Lysenkoism. Solzehenitsyn recounted in The Gulag Archipelago how young NKVD operatives relished in being able to push around and threaten with arrest the senior faculty of Russian technical schools. Those schools would never have allowed one of those boys into their halls. But after being empowered by the Communist state, they could push around, arrest, or outright execute those gray old men that had been practicing science and engineering for 30+ years.
But me, the guy studying for the doctoral degree in engineering, is a backwards, moronic, superstitious bumpkin that believes in sky-bullies. …right