Are the New Atheists Responsible for the Creationist Menace?

Are the New Atheists Responsible for the Creationist Menace?

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In his Brainstorm blog, Michael Ruse weighs in on the firestorm Robert Wright set off in his recent piece for The Atlantic:

Robert Wright, the well-known journalist and author, has just suggested that the so-called New Atheists – people like Richard Dawkins who sneer and laugh at religion, thinking it a great evil and that science, Darwin’s theory of evolution in particular, shows the way forward – are if anything exacerbating the tension in the U.S. between those who accept evolution and those (“Creationists”) who accept some literal form of the Genesis story of origins. …

I do think that Wright has something of a point. I too worry that polarizing things does lead to a religion-or-science-and-take-no-hostages kind of thinking. And whatever the Constitution may say and whatever previous interpretations may have been, I fear that the present Supreme Court might take this as an excuse – if indeed they even look for excuses – to allow some form of biblical literalism into biology classes. The fact is that the New Atheists do tend to treat Darwinism as a form of secular religion – complete with Darwin Day (Darwin’s birthday) as their festival of celebration rather than Christmas or Easter. And I worry that some wily lawyer is going to take advantage of this. Accommodationist folk like me can help map out a middle ground that respects and observes the separation of Church and State. Evolution in the classrooms; God in church.

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