Science & Religion again

Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum, coauthors of “Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future”, writing in the LA Times, ask “Must science declare a holy war on religion?” Their concern appears to be that Richard Dawkins and other so-called “New Atheists” are not supportive enough of efforts by the National Center for Science Education and others to make common cause with those more enlightened religious groups that are prepared to define their faith in ways that claim not to be in conflict with science.

Now I don’t claim to be either atheist or new, and I do agree that some religious denominations define their faith in a way that is compatible with science. However I suspect that Dawkins’ position on the evil of religion is not just on the basis of conflict with science but on other harms that it often creates.
[[For example, where I part company with even most of the “enlightened” religions is in their delegation of moral authority to a single source (text or preacher) rather than to the individual conscience (albeit informed by a multitude of texts and respected advisors).]] Whether this precludes making common cause in the debate on teaching evolution depends on whether one’s higher priority is the education debate or diminishing the power of religion in other areas.

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