A good example of appeasement

… can be found here, in this talk by William Phillips speaking at the AAAS:


at 1:08. The implication is that we will only see grief if we don’t give religious people the origin of life and the origin of the universe. Presumably we fire the scientists working on these issues.

I found this in a post on related topics: Tact not entirely decided upon at Thinkers’ Podium.

Comments

  1. #1 Dave W.
    August 12, 2010

    Wow. Phillips actually says that the people who called Francis Collins “unfit” to head the NIH were an example of New Atheism’s escalation of incivility (starts at 2:20). It’s astounding how thin-skinned these people are, that stating one’s opinion about a public figure’s fitness for a particular office based on that public figure’s self-publicity is now considered to be increasingly rude.

  2. #2 Deen
    August 12, 2010

    Another idiot who thinks civility is merely the absence of name-calling. He has no clue that not misrepresenting others’ positions may have something to do with civility as well.

  3. #3 NewEnglandBob
    August 12, 2010

    Phillips wishes, Phillips wishes, Phillips wishes. That is all he has. Nothing like a fact or any evidence. Typical of theistic doublespeak.

  4. #4 MadScientist
    August 12, 2010

    Ah, yes, we should all roll over and let the zealots propagate their bullshit because telling ‘em it’s bullshit is ‘uncivil’. It’s disappointing that the AAAS gets such dumbshits to speak in public. There are many thousands of intelligent people in the USA who have something interesting to say; why are they wasting time with nonsense?

  5. #5 Virgil Samms
    August 12, 2010

    Stop the lies.

    “Plenty of conventional scientists are people of conventional faith”

    Most of the scientists who retain faith retain a more liberal, more metaphorical, and less literalist brand of faith than the average non-scientist, considering 40+% of Americans are Creationists.

    (gnu atheists) declared Collins unfit to serve as director of the NIH because he was a person of faith (paraphrased)

    Lie. The point of contention is not that Collins is a believer, but that he is a proselytizer who has written about alleged scientific evidence for the existence of the Christian god.

    Stop lying, and maybe we can have the better and more productive dialogue you claim to seek.

  6. #6 Paco
    August 13, 2010

    What Virgil said @5, Amen. It’s not stories Francis Collins derives comfort from, but his claiming that science support Christianity that casts doubt on his mental fortitude. (Sorry, Francis!)

    From the BioLogos website:

    “The BioLogos Foundation explores, promotes and celebrates the integration of science and Christian faith.”

    People, atheists and otherwise, do need to be respectful of other people’s beliefs — but not of bogus arguments, even dishonesty, in selling those beliefs to others. (Nor of application of those beliefs to intolerance of People Of Difference. The important rule of getting along well with others is tolerating how people think and love, not how they lie and hate.)

    I think we need to keep turning around these claims of incivility. Even PZ Myers doesn’t get all hostile to people practicing their beliefs in their churches. But scorn and incivility are well deserved for liars who claim real-world evidence to promote oppression (e.g. of women), privilege (e.g. of priests against accusers) and fear & hatred (e.g. of gays).

    My incivility is reserved for those who want their beliefs to have protected status, especially where that status is used against people. People deserve protection against hatred, ideas don’t.

  7. #7 DuWayne
    August 13, 2010

    Paco –

    I rather strongly disagree that people need to be respectful of the beliefs of others. I respect people, not ideas – at least when people deserve respect. When someone turns around and tells me, for example, that while I can believe what I want, they believe psych drugs are just another addiction, I am not going to accept or respect that belief. I don’t care if they feel compelled to relate that information to others or not – I am not going to let it stand.

    Likewise, if someone tells me they believe that accepting Jesus is the only way to avoid eternal damnation and they are only telling me this out of love because they genuinely believe it, I will respect and appreciate them – I will not however, respect their beliefs. To be perfectly clear, I actually have a great deal of respect for such people. Hell, I used to be one of those people. But their caring enough for me, to try to save me from what they believe will happen to me, doesn’t mean I am going to respect that belief. When people express that to me – and a hell of a lot of my old friends have done just that, since I came out as an atheist, I will express my own belief and criticize their position.

    I will be polite and express my appreciation for their concern to. I do respect them and believe that is right. But I will politely explain why I do not respect their belief, just as they do not respect mine.

  8. #8 Rokkaku
    August 13, 2010

    So Phillips says:

    “The alienation of such people from science is bound to be a bad thing in a modern society that is so deeply dependent on science and technology. Our democracy depends on citizens who are well-informed, and if a large fraction of that citizenry rejects science because they see certain parts of science as being incompatible with their religious faith, then I can only see grief coming from that.”

    Again, another simpering apologist who can’t see the general problem for hand-wringing over the specific. A small measure of appeasement will do nothing, nothing to stop the long-term grief, because once you permit of faith or “offence” as deciding what is and isn’t discussed in science, the goalposts will keep moving and the boundaries keep changing as to what is an article of faith and what is “offensive.”

    That’s quite aside from his breathtakingly mendacious/ignorant (delete as applicable) pronouncements about poor old Francis Collins and his treatment at the hands of those strident “New Atheists.”

    Basically he could not be more wrong, either in his motives, his analysis, or his grasp of the facts.

    Excellent physicist, excellent Methodist – terrible person.

  9. #9 Russell
    August 15, 2010

    Phillips says that he is “serious” about his science, and “serious” about his faith. The question for all who claim such is just what they mean by “serious,” in both cases? If someone in physics were to make faith-based arguments, would Phillips consider that “serious”? And if such argument does not count as “serious” when applied to particles and wave functions, why should it count as “serious” when applied to gods and theology?

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