Are the New Atheists Responsible for the Creationist Menace?
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.