I have been neglecting my personal blog lately because I have been working to create EVOLUTION: THIS VIEW OF LIFE, a new online magazine that reports “anything and everything from an evolutionary perspective”. Whether I maintain a personal blog remains to be seen, but for the moment I’d like to call the attention of my readers to an essay on ETVOL titled “The New Atheism and Evolutionary Religious Studies: Clarifying the Relationship“.
My main point is that the New Atheism movement needs to accurately reflect the current state of knowledge in ERS, and that the selective invocation of scientific hypotheses is little better than the selective invocation of the bible. By my reading, new atheists invoke byproduct and cultural parasite (with negative effects on the human host) hypotheses more than warranted by the current ERS literature, and this is itself a hypothesis that can be empirically tested.
It is also my impression that evolutionists engaged in the purely scholarly study of religion tend to take a hands-off attitude toward the new atheism movement. To some extent this is a personal choice, but if one’s scholarly field is being mis-represented by people with a policy agenda, there is also an obligation to do something about it.
As a 100% atheist trying to apply evolution to public policy for a range of topics, I have nothing against an activist agenda, as long as it is ethical, based on the best current science, and suitably humble about the limitations of current knowledge. When this is not the case, I feel a special need to do something about it. The application of science requires mutual monitoring, no less than science itself.
EVOLUTION: THIS VIEW OF LIFE strives to be both a medium of communication for the general public and an intellectual forum at the professional level. This article is a good example of how it can function in both capacities.