March for Science Further Marginalizes New Atheism

If you needed any further evidence that the “religion and science are incompatible” position of the New Atheists is a fringe belief, consider that the March for Science’s first official blog posting rejects it:

The War on Science is partly fueled by deepening divisions over class, education, religion, and urban vs. rural lifestyles. This is all part of the larger Culture War we see in the country today, and its flames are being fanned by politicians and media icons who are trying to divide us.

Don’t fall for it.

To focus on these false divisions is to get bogged down in fights over things like creationism versus evolution, faith versus science, and our different views about our place in the universe.

Rather than magnifying these existential differences, science supporters would be wise to find common ground with people of faith. Scientists have more in common with value-driven communities than most people realize. We all search for meaning, and share a deeply-held fascination with the natural world. In this way, science and religion are allies. Texas Tech professor Katharine Hayhoe is a good example of someone who is bridging these worlds, creating a constructive dialogue. (emphasis added)

 

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28 Responses to March for Science Further Marginalizes New Atheism

  1. In this writing I want to address my observations about those I will choose to call the ‘aggressive, evangelizing, advocating atheism atheists’. (I’ll refer to them as AEAAA).
    They are the ones who are a small fraction of the small atheist population in the world. They seem to be fighting for a cause; up in arms, challenged to attack, discredit and humiliate those who believe in God as they try and ‘convert’ other unbelievers in atheism to their way of thinking.
    I’ve known many atheists over the years. Many have been fine people; responsible, upright citizens, good neighbors and work associates.
    I’ve seen many of them become Christians, much to their own initial surprise, but to their joy in life. C.S. Lewis, the author of the Chronicles of Narnia books and once an atheist, wrote of his conversion process in a book he wrote and titled, “Surprised by Joy.”
    I’ve found that there are a number of basic things that impact a person to become or declare themselves an atheist. I haven’t found anyone who has said they were ‘born’ an atheist.
    Many become atheists through a secular, evolutionary education. Any one of many science classes in high school or college seem to make it clear that one must choose evolution or God. Many former atheists, even scientists, will testify of that.
    There are those who become atheists as a result of some crisis, loss or suffering in their life. In their thinking, they couldn’t reconcile the tragic event with a God of love.
    Many become or remain atheists due to the Moral issue. They know that if they believe in God, they will have to change their life style. Since they don’t want to do that, it is ‘out’ with God. That was basically my issue when I was an unbeliever. My concept of God was skewed and wrong. I thought God was a kill joy. I’ve learned he is anything but that.
    Some people have used the inconsistency of other’s Christian lives as an excuse to dismiss it all. That is what my dad did for 79 years of his life. He used among other things one of my married aunts who ran off with the choir director at her church as his reason for rejecting the need for God. “I’m better than she was.”
    I remember when I didn’t believe in God. I did my best to avoid those who did. I wanted nothing to do with them. From where I stood, they didn’t have anything I wanted, needed or was interested in. I had no interest in conversing or interacting with any of them about anything. I thought they were rather foolish and I had no need for them in my life.
    Over the years I have been amazed at the irritation, annoyance, bitterness and anger some atheists (AEAAA) hold for those who do believe in God. Avoiding them isn’t part of their strategy. A ‘head on assault’ is the plan. Take them down, humiliate and ridicule them for their silly ‘faith in God’. They try to find and identify every fault they can in the believers thinking, lives, or reasons they have for their faith.
    It is most interesting how some of them seem to make it a life mission to question and discredit those who believe in God. Some of them will go to great lengths in their attempts to discredit the other’s conversion and beliefs. You can even Google and find their efforts to do so related to well known Christian leaders who used to be atheists. You can Google most all former atheists who have become Christians and are well known; you will find someone who tries to discredit them, their conversion, their explanations, their arguments and reasons for becoming a Christian.
    It seems as if the AEAAA lay awake at night, irritated at what they see has happened in the lives of others who used to be counted among their ranks. Those who have become believers must be ‘an affront, a personal embarrassment, a serious challenge’ to their own unbelief system and it is their task to ‘take them on’ in an effort to protect their own ‘unbelief system’. They will not be proven wrong by the other’s foolish decision or beliefs.
    Their irritation and annoyance seem rather absurd to me. Maybe they are just ‘bored’ atheists. They don’t know what to do with the little bit of time they have left! Pathetic.
    I assume most all of them (AEAAA), don’t believe in God or life after death and that when they die it is over. Lights out. Get a dust pan and broom to clean it all up. Finished, ended, over, end of game, lights out, plug is pulled, it’s all she wrote, blank screen, nothing more, close the book.
    That being the case whatever time they have left is it!
    They could die tomorrow or the next day or live another 20 or 40 years before cancer, heart attack, or something gets them. It is reported that about 54,000,000 people die every year. Sooner or later they will be in that report.
    What is absolutely amazing to me is why anyone who truly believes that, would waste 5 minutes, 5 hours, days, weeks, months or whatever on; Writing books, developing arguments for their position, Preparing and giving speeches, Debating others, formally or informally, Posting on FB, Challenging those who don’t agree with them, Holding protests, or campaigns with banners, etc. Trying to discredit those who do believe, Getting a degree so they can teach somewhere propagating their views as they try to make their own converts to their non-faith (faith that there is nothing more.).
    How boring.
    So what if you win the argument that it all ends when you die. Give them a trophy. Big deal. Good grief. What an empty victory.
    If I believed what they do, (and I used to) I would consider it an absurd, incredible, pathetic waste of the little bit of time that I had left, whatever time that was, trying to convince others they are wrong in believing that there is life after death.
    Who gives a hoot if others believe it or not. I wouldn’t want to waste my precious little bit of time trying to convince them that they are wrong instead of spending my time doing something if found fun, pleasurable, enjoyable, etc.
    How pathetic it must seem to them (AEAAA) to watch others live out their life thinking there is something more. I guess they feel a ‘moral obligation’ to rescue those foolish ones from their pathetic beliefs. Again, who gives a hoot?
    So what if they (AEAAA) feel judged by some of them (believers) and their life style. Who gives a X#@&# what anyone else believes.
    Oh, so spending my time trying to convince others that there is NO hope, is honorable? Ya. Sure. Now that is surely a distorted view of honor.
    What difference does it make if I persuade some of them into believing that when we all die, it is over.
    What a life mission! What Good NEWS I have for them! How exciting. How fulfilling. How rewarding. Don’t you feel better now? And to think, instead of eating, drinking, drugging, sexing, etc. you were in a battle to convince humanity that they have no HOPE. What an exciting life mission. “Oh it gives me goose bumps just thinking about it.”
    Oh the gratitude others must have for being educated in the knowledge that they are about to return to a pile of ‘star dust’. You can go to sleep at night feeling satisfied you made it clear to others that when they die, it is all over. Poof.
    Ya, sure. If it wasn’t so sad, I would say it is pathetically hilarious.
    But there is nothing hilarious about it.
    Now, if the AEAAA’s are right and it all ends with death, we all lose at that point.
    But if the God believers are right then the AEAAA’s lose big time. The Bible speaks of life after death without God as being outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. I assume that means the people who are there are grieving over their bad decision. And to think of what they could have had.
    The amazing thing is that there IS HOPE, even for AEEEA’s.
    I understand the problem for many of the AEAAA’s. As a good friend of mine has said, “the waters have been muddied.” What he means by that is that true Christianity has been distorted by many and when others see or hear the distorted view, their response is “NO THANKS.” That is what I did for many years. But like many others who were once ‘unbelievers’ I heard the truth, and it has been life changing; a good change.
    But it would be well worth their time to find a reasonable person, a believer, who is educated in the faith and sit down with them and listen with an open mind and heart.
    Or get a book such as More Than A Carpenter by Josh McDowell, who as a college student was totally antagonistic against the idea of God. He discovered something good that changed his entire life. He has spoken about his discovery in over 80 countries on many, many college campuses.

    John Hendee

  2. unclesporkums says:

    Oh, this won’t go well with the Stalinists..

  3. Mechanar says:

    Some heads are going to explode

  4. Lycan says:

    “If you needed any further evidence that the ‘religion and science are incompatible’ position of the New Atheists is a fringe belief…”

    What’s a fringe belief? Google…

    “A fringe theory is an idea or viewpoint which differs from the accepted scholarship in its field.”

    So, presumably then, the general field of Biology would accept the idea that religion and science are compatible? But if you believe in something like the virgin birth or rising from the dead after so many days, how do you reconcile that with all your science that can’t support it?

    This is an interesting blog… But it’s pretty clear what the point of this blog is.

  5. Kevin says:

    Lycan: “But if you believe in something like the virgin birth or rising from the dead after so many days, how do you reconcile that with all your science that can’t support it?”

    Do you know what makes a miracle a miracle in religious thought? It violates the natural order – it has no natural explanation. Biology can inform us that it is impossible for Jesus to have been born of a virgin or raise from the dead naturally, but it has nothing to say on whether a god could do so.

  6. Doug says:

    @Lycan,
    “all your science that can’t support…”
    Here are a short list of things that “all your science cannot support” (i.e., that have no scientific explanation)”:
    – the universe itself
    – life
    – consciousness
    – intentionality
    – rationality
    – morality
    – aesthetics
    – language
    …betting you aren’t losing sleep over your inability to reconcile these things with “your science”. 🙂

  7. Michael says:

    What’s a fringe belief? Google…
    “A fringe theory is an idea or viewpoint which differs from the accepted scholarship in its field.”

    Which explains why only New Atheists insist science and religion are incompatible.

    So, presumably then, the general field of Biology would accept the idea that religion and science are compatible? But if you believe in something like the virgin birth or rising from the dead after so many days, how do you reconcile that with all your science that can’t support it?

    By moving beyond the talking point level of analysis and thinking it through:

    https://shadowtolight.wordpress.com/2015/03/13/science-and-the-resurrection-belief-are-not-incompatible/

  8. unclesporkums says:

    By the way, John. I appreciate your openness in your change of views .It’s plain that just by looking at their attitudes, and particularly some of the slurs they apply to God, “SkyHitler”, “SkyDictator” This kind of crap just seems to show them as brats who don’t take authority well, they way they over-dramatize ANY authoritative way of life (besides their own) as a “dictator” or “Hitler”. And a lot of these tend to be on the side of the anarchist left. They CAN’T honestly say that they’re for SCIENTIFIC FACT and LOGIC when they approve of men with their genitals intact claiming to be women, and vice-versa. Not out of “politeness” like they falsely claim, (they’ve never been polite to Christians), but accommodating them as foot-soldiers as a means to an end. They just come off like bratty children screaming “No! I don’t want to go to bed! You can’t make me! You’re a jerk! I hate you!”

    Their attitude, which Paul warned us about in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 “1But understand this: In the last days terrible times will come. 2For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3unloving, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, without love of good, 4traitorous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5having a form of godliness but denying its power. Turn away from such as these!” Only VALIDATES our belief.

  9. Michael says:

    And Jeff Carter wrote:

    I don’t want anyone to think that i feel persecuted by Christians . I do not. Many of my best friends are Christians (and many other faiths) …i am treated very well despite my open atheism. This was just a handful of idiots that did this and it was only a minor inconvenience. I have received hundreds of messages from absolute strangers offering to pay for damage to my truck.. and apologizing for what happened. Nobody owes me an apology for this except the people that did it. It really is no big deal.. We have washed it all off from the truck and it looks brand new.. I will order a new bumper stickers and they will be put on by the end of the week.

    It looks like the vandals used some type of washable poster paint. It could have easily been a couple of high school kids playing a prank.

  10. pennywit says:

    It looks like the vandals used some type of washable poster paint. It could have easily been a couple of high school kids playing a prank.

    And that makes it OK?

  11. TFBW says:

    No. It’s a douchebag thing to do no matter who did it.

  12. Michael says:

    And that makes it OK?

    No. It would simply mean that we can’t automatically assume the vandals were some serious Christians trying to threaten an atheist with some hypocritical hate message.

    Here’s a typical response from Jeff’s FB page:

    Jeff, I’m sick this happened. It only shows how Christianity in this country is out of control. Mythical beliefs make people do destructive things.

    Do you think this evidence warrants this type of attack?

  13. pennywit says:

    No. It would simply mean that we can’t automatically assume the vandals were some serious Christians trying to threaten an atheist with some hypocritical hate message.

    I would say that the crime does point to some Christians who have a serious beef with atheists.

    Here’s a typical response from Jeff’s FB page:

    Jeff, I’m sick this happened. It only shows how Christianity in this country is out of control. Mythical beliefs make people do destructive things.

    Do you think this evidence warrants this type of attack?

    If you’ve been the victim of crime with bigoted intent, then, at least for a while, you’re going to be pretty damn emotional — angry, scared, what have you. I know that if somebody vandalized my car this way, I’d be out for blood. So some intemperate statements by a victim after an incident like this are to be expected. But for a random ‘Net commenter? Not so much.

    HOWEVER, I this incident is part of a broader issue. I find that a significant, loud group of American Christians have a significant issue respecting the rights of American non-Christians. It’s quite frustrating.

  14. Doug says:

    @pennywit,
    “out for blood” is an interesting expression given the context…
    Granted, a crime was committed. I don’t so much as condone it. But any judge worth his seat is going to judge water-soluble paint differently from permanent damage — and conclude that “blood” isn’t an appropriate punishment, considering.
    The common (not imputing it to you, btw) “logic” that defends Muslim suicide bombers with reference to the crusades is typically unable to defend Christian water-soluble-paint vandals with reference to the fact that Christians are currently the most persecuted people-group in the world.
    Curious, no?

  15. TFBW says:

    @pennywit:

    I would say that the crime does point to some Christians who have a serious beef with atheists.

    That is indeed a possibility, and if it’s true, the offenders should be made to write out Romans 12:18 a hundred times. Is it the only possibility, though? What evidence do you have that the offenders are actually Christian, even in the weak sense of self-identifying as such? The obvious face-value explanation isn’t always the true one.

  16. pennywit says:

    “out for blood” is an interesting expression given the context…

    Keep in mind that’s how I’d feel in the moment. If somebody threatens me via anonymous messages (water-soluble or not), I don’t take kindly to it. Once sanity reasserts itself, I’d settle for the perpetrator’s head on a pike, at the edge of my property, as a message against all other malefactors.

    There’s a small chance I watch a little too much Game of Thrones.

  17. pennywit says:

    What evidence do you have that the offenders are actually Christian, even in the weak sense of self-identifying as such?

    I’d say Occam’s Razor points at them right now. The only evidence I can pass along is that which Tim, himself, chooses to share.

  18. pennywit says:

    Jeff, not Tim. Bloody hell. Distracted by work a little much …

  19. Kevin says:

    “Jeff, I’m sick this happened. It only shows how Christianity in this country is out of control.”

    I’m a Christian. Neither I nor any Christian I know would do that. So that only shows how Christianity in this country is benign.

    I’m sure applying the exact same standard to come to the exact opposite conclusion about the exact same population goes to show something, I’m just not sure what exactly.

  20. TFBW says:

    @pennywit:

    I’d say Occam’s Razor points at them right now.

    Then Occam’s Razor is clearly a hoaxer/prankster’s best friend. In any case, you say “Occam’s Razor”, but I hear, “Confirmation Bias”. After all, there’s nothing inherently more complex, improbable, or convoluted about the explanation, “it was a bunch of teenage pranksters aiming to get a rise out of him.” After all, if that were your aim, what would you scrawl on a car festooned with atheist slogans? And what’s more common in your experience: teenage pranksters or Christian vandals?

  21. pennywit says:

    I’m a Christian. Neither I nor any Christian I know would do that. So that only shows how Christianity in this country is benign.

    I’m sure applying the exact same standard to come to the exact opposite conclusion about the exact same population goes to show something, I’m just not sure what exactly.

    I look at this through a different lens than you, I think. I see this incident as part of a wider tapestry of behaviors around the country. Things like religious assemblies at public schools (see: Northwest Rankin High School in Mississippi and New Heights Middle School in Chesterfield, South Carolina), harassment of non-Christian students in public schools (See the Sabine Parish case in Louisiana), or blatant discrimination against a mosque in Culpeper, VA, that sought a building permit.

    That’s why I, perhaps, seem a bit exercised about this.

    Yes, yes, I know. Other countries jail or execute those who don’t follow the dominant religion. But that doesn’t make petty bigotry in America right.

  22. pennywit says:

    After all, if that were your aim, what would you scrawl on a car festooned with atheist slogans? And what’s more common in your experience: teenage pranksters or Christian vandals?

    Honestly? Teenage prankster/vandals motivated by religious bias.

  23. pennywit says:

    Follow up — the guy has an inbox. Why don’t you ask him directly how he knows it wasn’t teen vandals?

  24. TFBW says:

    How about you do the research, since you’re posting the link as though it meant something? I don’t even have a Facebook account. Ask him if he knows who the actual offenders are, or whether he has any evidence regarding their religious disposition other than the message scrawled on the car itself.

  25. Michael says:

    I would say that the crime does point to some Christians who have a serious beef with atheists.

    I would say it just as well points to either some pranksters or perhaps some type of hoax. Or, there could be some feud going on that has little to do with religion, where the messages were simply meant to jerk someone around who made it clear his atheism was important to him. The actual evidence we have fits with all these possible scenarios.

    If you’ve been the victim of crime with bigoted intent, then, at least for a while, you’re going to be pretty damn emotional — angry, scared, what have you. I know that if somebody vandalized my car this way, I’d be out for blood. So some intemperate statements by a victim after an incident like this are to be expected. But for a random ‘Net commenter? Not so much.

    Jeff dialed it back very quickly. But many others commenting on his FB page think this “shows how Christianity in this country is out of control. Mythical beliefs make people do destructive things.” The evidence does not merit that type of hysterical conclusion.

    HOWEVER, I this incident is part of a broader issue. I find that a significant, loud group of American Christians have a significant issue respecting the rights of American non-Christians. It’s quite frustrating.

    Let’s deal with this actual incident. Here’s what Jeff himself notes:

    I don’t want anyone to think that i feel persecuted by Christians . I do not. Many of my best friends are Christians (and many other faiths) …i am treated very well despite my open atheism.

    He doesn’t feel persecuted and acknowledges he is treated “very well” by Christians.

    This was just a handful of idiots that did this and it was only a minor inconvenience.

    To his credit, he has backed off blaming Christians and realizes all we can say from this evidence is that ” This was just a handful of idiots that did this.”

    I have received hundreds of messages from absolute strangers offering to pay for damage to my truck.. and apologizing for what happened.

    He offered some more details to Mehta:

    He’s actually been pleasantly surprised by all the Christians who have reached out to him to tell him how bad they feel about this. In some cases, they even offered money to help pay for the damage (he rejected those offers).

    This incident was an anomaly for him, not the norm. In fact, if the police are able to catch the vandal, he said he would not press charges. All he wants is an apology.

    In other words, even if the vandals were some Christians who have a serious beef with atheists, it’s not representative behavior.

  26. FZM says:

    Yes, yes, I know. Other countries jail or execute those who don’t follow the dominant religion. But that doesn’t make petty bigotry in America right.

    Or, countries which jail and persecute those who aren’t secular/atheist enough as well.

    Generally, I’m less optimistic than I used to be about how easily a religiously neutral secular state and public life can actually be established.

    For example, on an issue like school assemblies, assuming religious content has to be excluded, but any content labelled by its supporters as secular is permitted, schools can still be used for inculcating a full philosophical world view, system of belief, values, morality etc. This can be one that basically only secular atheists will be able to accept, and which only they will recognise as being ‘religiously neutral’.

    Similar issues can seemingly arise if only reasonable or rational views are permitted recognition in the public/political sphere, and the criteria of whether a view counts as reasonable or rational is whether it is one held by secular atheists or not.

  27. Pingback: March For Science, War On Knowledge? - Thinking Christian

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