David Barash writes:
EVERY year around this time, with the college year starting, I give my students The Talk. It isn’t, as you might expect, about sex, but about evolution and religion, and how they get along. More to the point, how they don’t.
Does Prof. Barash do the intellectually honest thing and inform his students that The Talk is just his personal opinion? Or does he posture dishonestly as if The Talk is supposed to be The Truth?
Barash continues to explain how he abuses his authority in the classroom:
There are a few ways to talk about evolution and religion, I begin. The least controversial is to suggest that they are in fact compatible. Stephen Jay Gould called them “nonoverlapping magisteria,” noma for short, with the former concerned with facts and the latter with values. He and I disagreed on this (in public and, at least once, rather loudly); he claimed I was aggressively forcing a painful and unnecessary choice, while I maintained that in his eagerness to be accommodating, he was misrepresenting both science and religion.
At first, I though Barash has using his science classroom to preach a New Atheist talking point. But then I noticed that Barash does not truly believe religion and science are incompatible. For he is the author of a book that attempts to harmonize the religion of Buddhism with the science of Biology – “Buddhist Biology: Ancient Eastern Wisdom Meets Modern Western Science.”
In fact, in a less read piece, Barash has been explicit about this:
The connection—or disconnect—between science and religion has been a matter of debate as long as the two constructs have existed. Some scientists accept the late Stephen Jay Gould’s suggestion that the two are “NOMA” (nonoverlapping magisteria), claiming that science and religion occupy distinct realms, the former concerned with what is, the latter solely with what should be. Others (including myself) reject the NOMA notion, pointing out that religion makes many claims about the real world that are frequently contradicted by scientific fact.
There is, however, an intriguing exception: Buddhism. Perhaps this is because Buddhism is as much philosophy as religion. Science and Buddhism have met, and they get along remarkably well. Instead of NOMA, think “POMA” (productively overlapping magisteria). That is the premise underlying my most recent book, Buddhist Biology: Ancient Eastern Wisdom Meets Modern Western Science.
Well, well, well. There is an exception. Why, of course! Barash, who is described as “an aspiring Buddhist” just happens (by coincidence, I suppose) to think (or claim to know) that science is incompatible with every other religion except his religion. How convenient is that? It looks like The Talk comes with a sectarian agenda. But should the biology professor be pushing his sectarian views in his science class?
So given that it turns out Borash does not believe religion and science are incompatible, when Borash uses the word “religion” in his Talk with his students, is this supposed to be code-speak for “Christian?” Is the public university professor trying to bash his Christians students without being too obvious about it?