Oh, Alberta…

Evolution classes optional under proposed Alberta law (CBC)


6 comments to Oh, Alberta…

  • MattK

    Like Goodyear, apparently the government of Alberta thinks that evolution = religious issue. While most of the credit for popularization goes to the YECs, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Dawkins, Hitchens, PZ, etc. Oh, and Larry Moran too.

    Many atheists love to bring up the example of various Scandinavian nations of low religiosity to point out the viability of atheism as a part of a highly successful social system. Fine. Great even. But do you really think that they got that way by saying “it’s science or your church! Choose now!”?

    Maybe we should rethink this strategy of in-your-face science=atheism rhetoric. Just a thought.

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  • CW

    “But do you really think that they got that way by saying “it’s science or your church! Choose now!”?I must have missed the part where Dawkins etc. said that. In fact I am quite sure (with the possible exception of the abrasive Hitchens) that each of them have said exactly the opposite.

    When the findings of science conflict or refute certain aspects or assertions of a religion that is not the same thing as saying that therefore science mandates atheism, but neither should we pretend that there is no conflict. If adopting a scientific perspective tends to lead one towards atheism (as I believe it does) then that is simply the way things are. Suggesting that we not mentioning it lest someone feel threatened in their conceits is not an approach that I would take at all seriously.

    If reality challenges your beliefs then change them. If having to consider that makes you mad, how is that my fault? If the Emperor is nude then the Emperor is nude however sad or scared it makes the court.

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  • MattK

    CW – Look, you don’t need to sell me on atheism. But if you are trying to sell your charge-of-the-light-brigade strategy, I’m not buying.

    “If reality challenges your beliefs then change them. If having to consider that makes you mad, how is that my fault?”It’s not your fault. Settle down. I sympathize with the impatience with those of high religiosity whose views are empirically false but I think that we should step back and take a breath. Is it more important for you to proselytize atheism or to advocate for sound reality based education and a fair and secular society? Which goal is more achievable? Which is more important? Do these goals interfere with each other? For those in a position of particular authority as scientists, should they be more circumspect?

    I can’t help wondering whether the resurgence that I perceive in YECs and ID is a direct result of the movement to equate science with atheism. Denyse O’Leary, Gary Goodyear, James Lunney, and the Alberta school issue are coming from somewhere.

    I love atheists who are emphatic about ‘reality (TM)’ but totally ignore human nature or the cultural matrix.

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  • CW

    Is it more important for you to proselytize atheism or to advocate for sound reality based education and a fair and secular society?

    It’s more important to me to call a spade a spade and let the chips fall where they may. You can call it “proselytising reality” but I’ll just keep on calling it honesty.

    I love atheists who are emphatic about ‘reality (TM)’ but totally ignore human nature or the cultural matrix.

    Deciding that we must keep our voices down lest we offend the ignorant is not recognition of human nature, it’s appeasement.

    the movement to equate science with atheism

    The only place I actually see such a movement is on the part of those opposed to both science and atheism.

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  • MattK

    “the movement to equate science with atheism”
    The only place I actually see such a movement is on the part of those opposed to both science and atheism
    Um… PZ, Larry Moran, and Dawkins all do this to varying degrees. Dawkins, at least, has clarified his position to suggest that acceptance of evolutionary theory does not in itself necessitate atheism but I’m not sure if that is an accurate reflection of what he really thinks and it certainly contravenes the general feeling one gets from his public emissions.

    Deciding that we must keep our voices down lest we offend the ignorant is not recognition of human nature, it’s appeasementObviously that is a silly oversimplified straw man. Is absolutism part of Reality (TM) too?

    Since you brought up appeasement, I’m going to go ahead and extend that far enough to mildly violate Godwin’s law. The Allies did engage in appeasement towards Nazi Germany and I think that we can all agree in retrospect that it was a bad idea (or at least delayed the inevitable). Acknowledging that does not mean that it is smart to go around attacking everyone who you have the slightest disagreement with. Keeping on the WWII theme, the German attack on Russia was not exactly the shrewdest course of action.

    Perhaps it would be better to tone down the self-righteousness in order to avoid being a rude asshole and pushing away potential allies. I’m sorry if you find it too burdensome to moderate your advocacy for atheism by not attempting to synonymize it with science. I can’t do anything about that. I think it is unfortunate because I think that it is bad for science and bad for science education and ultimately it might be bad for secular values in society.

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  • CW

    PZ, Larry Moran, and Dawkins all do this to varying degrees. Dawkins, at least, has clarified his position to suggest that acceptance of evolutionary theory does not in itself necessitate atheism but I’m not sure if that is an accurate reflection of what he really thinks and it certainly contravenes the general feeling one gets from his public emissions.

    So your argument is with what you think they mean despite what they actually say? Excuse me for not being compelled.

    Acknowledging that does not mean that it is smart to go around attacking everyone who you have the slightest disagreement with.

    And you accuse me of constructing straw-men? Who has been “attacked” and by whom and what are these “slightest disagreements” which led to the “attacks”? You seem to be arguing with cartoon sketches of Evil Atheists that you’ve created.

    I’m sorry if you find it too burdensome to moderate your advocacy for atheism by not attempting to synonymize it with science.

    And where exactly did I do that? In actual fact, as I have pointed out to you from the beginning, we are not equating science with atheism. You are tossing around your disparagements and snotty characterizations without ever bothering to show that those of us you are spitting upon actually hold the positions which you so revile. In fact, you refuse to accept even direct denials.

    Having made up your mind you can’t be bothered with the facts, is that it?

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