December 19, 2011

"Top Ten Peacemakers in the Science-Religion Wars."

The 2011 list, assembled by Paul Wallace at Religion Dispatches.

John Stewart is #8, for mocking the American Atheists who sued about the 9/11 cross.

Lots more at the link. #1 is Terence Malick for the movie "The Tree of Life":
It is indeed a strange and beautiful world. Malick, in his graceful and courageous film, reminds us that it is made stranger and more beautiful the more we open ourselves to it.

Both the closed-hearted scientism of atheist hardliners and the narrow creationism of religious fundamentalists kill our strange and beautiful world by flattening it beyond repair.


TMink said...

If I want to believe that the world is a piece of cosmic jetsam on the back of a bigger than huge turtle, how does this hurt anyone? I think I have the freedom believe what I wish in America.


Pastafarian said...

I believe the pseudo-Scotsman Stewart spells his name "Jon". I don't know if this is as much a vanity contrivance as his false last name, or if his mother was all out of Hs when he was born.

edutcher said...

Peace, as defined by the Lefties, is the other side giving the Left anything it wants, anytime and anywhere it wants it, and not only not saying a word about it, but looking as authentically happy about it as possible.

When you see a description like, "super-swell atheist guy", you know the deck is stacked even if Jon Huntsman and John Stewart aren't on the list.

The Crack Emcee said...

These idiots will use any reason to salute Jon Stewart. What's so great about criticizing stupid atheists? As Chris Rock said, "That's what you're supposed to do!"

Now, if Jon Stewart will acknowledge the criticisms of HIMSELF, then he'd be someone worth saluting. But, of course, that is not done because no one sucking his mediated dick demands it.

And so it goes,...I really don't think liberals understand the meaning of the word "bravery" in the least,...

Ann Althouse said...

"What's so great about criticizing stupid atheists?"

You're asking the question as a generality. Consider the specific:

"In their statement, American Atheists said that the cross was a reminder to Christians “that their God, who couldn’t be bothered to stop the Muslim terrorists or prevent 3,000 people from being killed in his name, cared only enough to bestow upon us some rubble that resembles a cross.”"

Carnifex said...

I think you hit the nail on the head with that one professor. Both sides make the world we live in so much less than it is.

The last few days I've probably appeared as a religious zealot, and I'm not. I think all man-made religions to be flawed simply because man himself is flawed. This is something I take to be obvious.

On the other hand, I've had enough encounters with stuff that atheists, and scientist deny even existing. So how can I dismiss my own anecdotal evidence? Seeing is believing.

The world is so very complex, and people try to break it down into little catagories so that they can "understand" it, instead of actually experiencing it fully.

Intelligence is not the end all, be all, a rationalist will try to make of it because that denies most of the human experience. But same applies going full emo, we have intelligence for a reason, and to not use it fully is also denying the human experience.

Anyway, I apologize to any who found my earlier post offensive. I didn't mean them to be. Was just playing devils advocate, as is my won't sometimes.

The Crack Emcee said...

Ann Althouse,

You're asking the question as a generality. Consider the specific,..

Yeah? So? It's still inane. What's so great about Jon Stewart, specifically, saying so? This idea he's some great thinker - when he's admitted he's (again: specifically) "a snake oil salesman" - is a crock. We need less of him and more truth-tellers.

Funny, how seldom we hear about THEM, celebrated or otherwise. Shouldn't we be celebrating those who warned about the financial crisis? Bernie Madoff? James Arthur Ray? Barack Obama?

No, let's continue to throw accolades and riches at the self-proclaimed snake oil salesman/clown for doing what the news media refuses, because they're too busy promoting the GodZero - who Stewart called "our boy" - as Stewart did himself.

That's the ticket,...


How can I dismiss my own anecdotal evidence?

Because you know "anecdote" isn't "evidence," that's how.

Mike said...

On the other hand, I've had enough encounters with stuff that atheists, and scientist deny even existing. So how can I dismiss my own anecdotal evidence? Seeing is believing.

Sometimes "seeing" is the least reliable indicator of what happened.

For example: The Gorilla Experiment

Paddy O said...

outside the public steel cages of science-religion deathmatches, where money is to be made by not being peacable, there's an immense amount of peace-making going on. Indeed, I'd say that the Science-Religion conversation is the hottest (as in the thing everyone is doing), in the theology world.

The names of those involved in this discussion pretty much would consist of all the up and coming and established theologians around.

Theology after Barth, and outside the narrow bounds of pop Evangelicalism, is really in love with all things science. The love ain't mutual yet, but the theologians are sending a lot of chocolates and leaving earnest, entreating messages on the voicemails.

TosaGuy said...

"Although we never became religious, by our late teens we had concluded that it was silly to be a militant atheist." -- James Taranto, speaking in the columnic "we"

Chuck66 said...

I am not so sure that there is a science-religion war any more than 70 years ago we had a science-Black war in the old south.

Bigots are bigots.

Maybe there is a science-history war as many fundalmental athiests seem very ignorant of history. The link posted here a day or two ago to the Madison newspaper, had an Atheist commentator say Jesus never existed. That would be like a KKKer saying Rev MLK never existed.

Freeman Hunt said...

What movie did the people who reviewed "The Tree of Life" on Amazon watch? It wasn't "The Tree of Life."

traditionalguy said...

I agree with Sir Crack to a point.

The cult deceptions are crafty distractions from reality which is our best hope to create a safe place.

This is an insecure world.

Circular arguments and a required reincarnation postulates from Hindu traditions are the worst.

The western cults are usually shaman based witchcraft dressed up in hopes that leads to a dead end.

But forbidding religions not approved by the King/Pope duo in Europe is what got the "believing in the scripture" type of Christians over here in the first place.

I just keep in mind that counterfeits everywhere only proves that there is a genuine article hidden somewhere too.

rsb said...

I hope more people become atheists.

Ken said...

Who are the peacemakers in the Science-Tarot wars?

Ken said...

If you ASSUME there is no conflict between religion and science you will laud "peacemakers". I find people who make this assumption are religious but usually know little science. I would prefer to laud those who give convincing arguments not irenic tutting. [The preference for finding out what is true, let the chips fall where they may is in the terms of this list inherently 'warmaking'.]

raf said...

Does this include faith-based science like AGW?

Carnifex said...


If I see something, experience something, and I have, that has no rational explanation, what do I call it? What if its happened several times?

I'll give one example...

I was dove hunting several years ago. If you've never been you get a bunch of guys in an open field, armed with shotguns, shooting at flying birds. Understandably there are dangers involved. One of the most common is that in the passion of the moment, a guy will shoot at a low flying dove, endangering the other hunters. It is fairly common to get peppered with birdshot while dove hunting.

Anyway, I was with a group of about 20 guys spread through a 100 acre field. I was the first guy in the field, and everyone was in front of me. Everyone. No doubt. None what so ever. And I am so sure because I not only had to look in front of me for doves, but I had to watch behind me for them too.

So anyway. this dove comes smoking in low to the ground. (doves can fly at 70 mph) It flies between me and the group immediately in front of me. I shouted "Low bird" which signals the other hunters to no shoot, it was too unsafe. Motion caught my eye and I turned me head to the left to see another dove coming in high enough to shoot. My tunnel vision zeroed in on my target when someone behind me yelled "Duck!". They shouted "Duck". Instinctively, I ducked. I dropped my head down.

And the guys in front of me shot the first dove. And their overspray spattered me. Except for my unprotected face. Well unprotected until someone shouted duck. The pellets hit my hat brim, and harmlessly fell to the ground.

I turned to thank whoever had snuck in behind me. Because that does happen.

No one was there. For a 1/4 mile to the road, in an open field. No trees, no bushes, no holes, dips, nothing but grass, 3 inches tall. Flat as a pancake.

So who can I prove this too? What evidence, beyond my word exists for what happened. I can swear on a stack of bibles but we know that doesn't carry scientific weight. Even my Dad doesn't believe me and he was in the field too!

Only someone who has experience will even concede that it could happen.

So I find myself in the same territory of conspiracy theorist, and ufo abducties. Only I don't dismiss them out of hand because I've been there, I've done that. And it changes your perception of reality.

caplight said...

I read Rachel Held Evans on occasion. A very bright young writer.

tamsf said...

"Because you know "anecdote" isn't "evidence," that's how."

I think it was simply the substitution of "anecdotal" for the perhaps better word "empirical". Things happen that can't be reproduced in a lab. But that doesn't mean that they didn't occur.

n.n said...

There is an undeniable order in our universe which can be recognized in the natural order (e.g. instinctive) and enlightened order (e.g. conscious). Whether that order is realized as an act of God or an as yet undetermined stochastic process is immaterial to the human condition. Each faith will be judged by the principles it engenders and their compatibility with each of the known orders that guide our existence.

The professional disagreement between atheists and theists is largely unproductive and uninteresting, other than from the process it is possible to infer their true nature. Also the overriding concern that the scientific process has been and will be prematurely disrupted in order to serve special interests.

Otto said...

"narrow creationism of religious fundamentalists" What does that mean?
Am I to conjure up someone from the Spanish Inquisition,Elmer Gantry,or Billy Graham?
Ann you seem to be in a twitter about religion. Happens to a lot of non-believers at Christmas time. But you are a smart girl and that will carry you through.

Freeman Hunt said...

Both the closed-hearted scientism of atheist hardliners and the narrow creationism of religious fundamentalists kill our strange and beautiful world by flattening it beyond repair. They deny its depth and mystery. Malick, in joyous contrast, has shown us—through art and not through argument—just how wondrous and surprising it is to live life out here in the middle.

Wallace focuses on the creation sequence because it's safe. You can say some airy, nearly self-evident, everybody-pleasing thing like he does here and move on. The movie is not about six day creation versus evolution. That's not even what that part of the movie is about. The movie isn't arguing about those things. It takes the findings of cosmology and evolutionary biology for granted as well as the existence of a Creator. That's pretty normal, and not so much a statement. An aside perhaps.

The point is something a bit different. It's an expansion of the Job quote. (In prose I would word it something like, "Let me show you just how awing the whole laying of the foundations of the earth was. Behold and be humbled. Behold and tremble before your God.") It's part of an exposition on the problem of evil.

There's even a bit where he addresses the suffering of animals, a slice of the problem of evil that is still in play in academics. A carnivorous dinosaur approaches a wounded dinosaur and steps lightly on its head, considering. It could kill it, but it doesn't. It takes off into the light. A bit of mercy. A foretaste of the development of mercy in man? Part of the evolutionary development of mercy? A bit of "Who are you to judge my creation, you who do not see all means and know all ends. How do you know for what purposes I intend these beings?"

Anyway, that is all a shorter part of the movie. Wallace doesn't wade into the family narrative that makes up the bulk of the film because, I assume, he doesn't get it. But that's no big mark against him. None of the critics did.

Freeman Hunt said...

Ha. Actually he probably didn't wade into the narrative because it was obviously not about reconciling science and religion.

Ken Pidcock said...

And between these camps the middle ground continues to expand.

Paul Myers: [S]quatting in between those on the side of reason and evidence and those worshipping superstition and myth is not a better place. It just means you're halfway to crazy town.

Phil 3:14 said...

Gosh Professor, this Christmas season certainly brings out the ambivalence in you.

The Crack Emcee said...



If I see something, experience something, and I have, that has no rational explanation, what do I call it? What if its happened several times?

You call it "unknown" until you have solid evidence of what it is.

Revenant said...

I don't understand people who think an exclusively science-based world can't be strange and wonderful.

Science is always telling us unexpected things about our world. It is a constant source of wonder.