15 June 2012

When you call Darwinism a religion, you kill a few brain cells

Every time I hear or read someone squawk that science has become a religion, two things come to mind. First, that said squawker’s language processing ability must be severely retarded, since they cannot grasp the diametrically opposed definitions of ‘science’ and ‘religion’. Second, that they have, perhaps unwittingly, disparaged religion by tacitly admitting that blind belief in a sky fairy isn’t very sensible, but hey, science is just as silly, so gotcha! By the way, qualifying the term ‘religion’ with ‘secular’, as a certain accommodationist philosopher has done, only shows just how warped the definition of ‘religion’ has to become in order for one to take cheap shots at science.

Thankfully biologist Jerry Coyne has a healthy language processing ability. Here he corrects our somewhat confused philosopher’s understanding of the term ‘religion’:

The stuff about treating Darwinism as a secular religion is offal. It’s based purely on the fact that many of us see Darwin as a kind of scientific hero. Many physicists hold Einstein in similar regard. Does that make physics a secular religion? At least we know that Einstein and Darwin existed, unlike the father-figure of conventional faith. Nor do we see Darwin or Einstein as having supernatural powers or a postmortem ability to personally (as opposed to scientifically) influence the world. Indeed, all of us know that their science was sometimes flawed. Darwin’s genetics was wonky; Einstein couldn’t accept pure indeterminism. Try finding a religious person who sees any flaws in God.

Awesome dude? Yes. Omnipotent, infallible deity? No.

Mr Philosopher seems to think that secular, science-loving folks suffer from ‘religion envy’, so much so that we even have a special day celebrating a revolutionary scientist because we want our own holy days, goddamnit! But Coyne pops that delusional bubble:

And what do we do on Darwin Day? We don’t shout hosannas to Darwin, or beg for his mercy, pray to him, or spend all of our time propitiating him. We give talks on evolution — in other words, we spread science and tell people the truth. All of this is the exact opposite of religion.

C’mon science-bashers, this trite “science is just another religion” inanity you keep spouting only embarrasses yourselves. Unless of course your language processing ability is indeed retarded, in which case you are excused.


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