Friend Fruit asks:
Has any of those people [Ed mentioned], Dawkins, Myers, et. al. advocated the elimination of religion and religious believers by stoning, disembowlment, burning at the stake, or other forms of auto de fe?
I do agree that perhaps Ed’s original phrasing is a little inflammatory and should perhaps have read “religion itself, in any form, is to be attacked and destroyed.” However, that doesn’t alter Ed’s essential point. Those of us who have been working to fight anti-evolutionism have all seen this schism occur in various groups – a schism between moderates (whom people like Larry Moran call “wimps”) and a group of individuals who practice a very strident, intolerant atheism that in many ways mirrors the religious intolerance they so despise and often make it more difficult for us to fight for sensible science standards. (Note I am not including all atheists in this latter group – that would be a definite falsehood.)
This latter group also seems to have a strange attitude to Richard Dawkins, a quasi-worship, if you will. As a biologist, Dawkins has had a couple of original ideas (most a relatively long time ago), is worth listening to as a biologist on such matters, and thus should be given the same deference one would give any evolutionary biologist … when talking about biology. I cannot however give too much weight to his writings on religion, precisely because he seems to have not made any effort to seriously engage with the extensive philosophical literature. Sure, it’s a breath of fresh air to hear someone speak out, but I cannot understand why he is taken so damned seriously, and why criticism of him is dealt with such fervor.
I’ll now crawl back into my foxhole.
Update 11/23: Readers sent here from other blogs may want to read this.