There is an interesting post on The Intersection called Civility and the New Atheists, by Chris Mooney. In the post, Chris reviews Barbara Forrest’s statements that in engaging int he cross-world-view debate (scientists vs. creationists, atheists, vs religion, etc.) one should maintian etiquette, respect and understand diversity, and practice humility.
Atheist and pro-science writer Mooney notes in speaking of a talk by Forrest:
Forrest therefore concluded her talk by saying that we need are “epistemological and civic humility”-providing the groundwork for “civic friendship.” To which I can only say: Amen.
This is, of course, going to make certain commenters including Jason Rosenhouse cringe (see: Coyne is Right, Mooney is Wrong). It makes me cringe too, in a way .. the Amen part (OMG, Chris, a little OTT????). But I actually do agree that the conversation should always be done in the context of these three virtues. But at the same time, I believe it is possible to practice Etiquette while kicking someone’s balls up into their throat if necessary. Diversity is to be respected, but the far right needs at this point to be simply cut out of the conversation.
And Humility is good. As long as you understand that it is, like, my tenth or eleventh greatest quality.
But seriously, I agree completely with what Chris is trying to say here. At the same time, I do not want to see any compromise whatsoever in the science and the law. The trick is, how to do that. Without occasionally kicking someone’s balls up into their throat, diversely, and with humility.
Meanwhile, I eagerly await the chance to read Crhis and Sheril’s new book on a related topic (scientific illiteracy) … maybe it’s in the mailbox now…