Blinded by Science?
Don’t Be; That’s Just the New Atheists Masking Their Faith Choice
by Terrell Clemmons
In the November 2006 cover story of Wired magazine, Gary Wolf thoughtfully gave ear to some of atheism’s most aggressive voices and labeled the movement that they lead “New Atheism.” Envisioning a brave new world in which science and reason overcome religious myth and superstition, New Atheists labor to purvey a comprehensive worldview that explains who we are and how we got here (Darwinian evolution), diagnoses our most urgent ill (ancient superstitions about God), and, most importantly, prescribes a cure for that ill (eradication of religion).
In the same month that Wired reported on New Atheism, Time magazine artfully depicted the science and religion quandary with a combination double helixÆrosary on its cover. The title, “God vs. Science,” might have led a casual reader to expect a story about a theologian opposing science, but the article actually covered a debate between two scientists. Geneticist Francis Collins, director of the Human Genome Project, and biologist Richard Dawkins of Oxford University weighed in on Time’s questions about science, belief in God, and whether the two can peaceably coexist in an intellectually sound world-view. Collins said they can; Dawkins said absolutely not.
Recent battles over textbooks in America lend credence to the notion of science and religion as perennial foes, and ABC News, reporting on a survey of atheism among scientists, casually commented that “the clash between science and religion is as old as science itself,” as if that’s what everybody with any gray matter already knows. But historians of science reveal a different story, one that is more in line with the view of Dr. Collins.
In his course Science and Religion, Lawrence Principe, professor of the History of Science and Technology at Johns Hopkins University, meticulously untangles the historical accounts of events commonly bandied about as proof that religion suppresses science, such as the trials of Galileo and John Scopes. Principe teaches that, contrary to irreligionist lore, the two disciplines were generally viewed as complementary until a little more than a century ago…
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