The Core of the Complaint March 6, 2007Posted by Administrator in atheism, Cultural Pessimism, Idiots.
I have been ranting now -for months- about PZ Myers and his unreconstructed animus towards religion; to the point that I had partially constructed a post showing that he was in favor of the forced elimination of religion. I finally abandoned that effort when combing through his various posts on the subject proved that he covers himself with enough weasel phrases that such an attack on my part would not hold water. I am still convinced that in his heart of hearts, that is what he really wants, but also knows he can’t say in public wiithout offending some of his Pharyngulist Sycophantic Horde of (PSH) admirers.
That said, he wrote something today that made for an epiphany of sorts for me, to allow me to finally -and pithily- sum up the core of our differences.
Science does not claim to hold any moral weight. Arguing that it is bad because it doesn’t impose behavioral guidelines on people is as silly as arguing that religion is bad because it doesn’t help design better digital signal processing chips for cell phones. On the other hand, damning religion for moral irrelevance is a valid complaint, since “it leads us into moral behavior!” is one of the first excuses out of any apologist’s mouth.
His first two sentences are in fact, dead on. Yet he sticks his foot in it, as he so often does, with the final clause.
Let us look at his argument and examine the premises inherent in it:
- Premise 1: Science has a claim to examining material truths. Anything that can be sensed can then be measured and rationally explained by science.
- Logical result: The following of science leads to rational behavior by its adherents.
- Premise 2: Religion -broadly termed- has a claim to examining moral truths. Anything that involves ethical, moral behavior that is not traced back to the Law of Club and Fang can be explained by religion.
- Logical result: The following of religion leads to moral behavior by its adherents.
Myers rejects the logical result of Premise 2, thereby condemning the entire premise as a useless anthropological artifact.
But the very same argument can then be used to condemn Premise 1. An example: Global warming. Much of this hotly debated scientific topic has been determined as truth and now closed off to discussion. But as has been mentioned time and time again ad nauseaum in this very blog, the argument is far from closed. And many, many people are acting irrationally in the name of rational science. The following of science should lead to rational behavior. But it doesn’t always do so.
Now, if I were like Myers, as a mirror image of him, I would then play the part of the Young Earth Creationist and condemn modern science as Godless heresy and useful for next to nothing, as he condemns religion for being useless in providing moral truths.
But I will not condemn science. I will condemn its practitioners, particularly those that are passionate fools who use science and statistics to support their own emotional versions of the truth (such as the Goracle). So does Myers (rightfully) condemn Christian fools who misuse religion to further their own emotional agendas.
But he then goes the step further and demands that religion itself is the fall guy. It is not, no more than good science is the fall guy for meritricious fools who would use the truth of science and twist it for their own ends.
Both priests of religion and of science use these roads to the truth (faith and reason) for their own means, thereby betraying their followers and seemingly rendering those sources of truth invalid.
That is nonsense. Truth is truth, be it obtained through faith/religion or reason/science. But for either side to claim that the other has no inroad to truth is misled. In religion, it leads to the Young Earth Creationist. Or the berserk Fred Phelps. In science, it leads to foaming radicals such as Richard Dawkins. . .or PZ Myers.
Odd how Phelps -and by association, Young Earth Creationists- and Myers have something in common: A denial of the truth and a desire to eliminate the voice of those that might find a truth in some other fashion than their own.
It’s a whole lot easier – and much more sensible- to believe that the truth is found through both roads, faith and reason. Myers believes truth is found only in reason, and faith is the devil. Phelps believes in individual -and horribly misguided- faith alone, and reason is the devil.
How ironic that PZ resembles so much the things he hates.