Archive for October 22nd, 2009

Congratulations To ScienceBlogs

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | October 22, 2009 3:48 pm

The borg just gained a lot more balance! We’re looking forward to reading David Sloan Wilson’s Evolution For Everyone. Go check out his introductory post. Here’s an excerpt:

As someone who is seriously committed to studying religion from a scientific and evolutionary perspective, I’m here to say that the new atheists can’t bring themselves to accept the facts about religion as a human construction. Read my six-part series on “Atheism as a Stealth Religion”, now archived on my ScienceBlog site, for more. Even better, start acquainting yourself with the emerging field of evolutionary religious studies, whose members are more serious about holding each other accountable for what they say about religion.


Counterproductive Attacks on Religion–Exhibit A

By Chris Mooney | October 22, 2009 8:53 am

After much controversy and much investigation, it now seems clear that the story told by “Tom Johnson” below is not credible. Details are here and here. I regret giving it the attention that I did with this post.

Reacting to a previous post, a scientist named Tom Johnson left a comment so striking that I believe it deserves greater attention. Here it is:

Many of my colleagues are fans of Dawkins, PZ, and their ilk and make a point AT CONSERVATION EVENTS to mock the religious to their face, shout forced laughter at them, and call them “stupid,” “ignorant” and the like – and these are events hosted by religious moderates where we’ve been ASKED to attend. They think it’s the way to be a good scientist, after all.

So what do you think happens when you spit in someone’s face, mock them openly, figuratively throw them to the ground and kick dirt in their face – and then ask “now we really need your help!!”? When my colleagues do this, you can watch the attention visibly disappear from the crowd when you finally start talking about conservation and real science.

That’s the problem with the blogosphere – you can say all the extreme, controversial things you want without consequences. But when your readers start echoing those things to the public (the people that science desperately needs to translate research to action), I’m afraid the consequences are rather severe.

Exactly. In the real world, it is vastly more important to build bridges with those who might be different from ourselves so as to achieve shared goals, than to score intellectual points when only a small and relatively homogenous intellectual group is even keeping track of those points.


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