Friday, August 12, 2005

Harris Weighs In

It seems that lately I've been dwelling on the many dopey things people are writing and saying about evolution. So let's wrap up the week with a round-up of some of the more insightful recent writing on this subject.

Over at The Huffington Post, Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith, has posted this essay on “The Politics of Ignorance”:


Imagine President Bush addressing the National Prayer Breakfast in these terms: “Behind all of life and all history there is a dedication and a purpose, set by the hand of a just and faithful Zeus.” Imagine his speech to Congress containing the sentence “Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty have always been at war, and we know that Apollo is not neutral between them.” Clearly, the commonplaces of language conceal the vacuity and strangeness of many of our beliefs. Our president regularly speaks in phrases appropriate to the fourteenth century, and no one seems inclined to find out what words like “God” and “crusade” and “wonder-working power” mean to him. Not only do we still eat the offal of the ancient world; we are positively smug about it. Garry Wills has noted that the Bush White House “is currently honeycombed with prayer groups and Bible study cells, like a whited monastery.” This should trouble us as much as it troubles the fanatics of the Muslim world.


Well said. I don't agree with everything in the essay, he takes a pot shot at “religious scientists like Francis Collins and Kenneth R. Miller” that I think is unfair an uncalled for, but the essay is still well worth reading.

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