Religion and Science
There’s an interesting essay over at Salon by a Christian physicist discussing the relationship between religion and science. The essay is framed around a discussion of atheistic zealotry of the Dawkins/Hitchens variety, including a description of the recent hateful antics of University of Minnesota biologist PZ Myers. Here’s a (provocative) taste:
Currently, Myers is under fire from his university and an army of righteous Catholics over his self-proclaimed “Great Desecration” caper. On July 24, he pierced a Communion wafer with a rusty nail (“I hope Jesus’ tetanus shots are up to date,” he quipped) and threw it in the trash with coffee grounds and a banana peel. The nail also cut through pages of the Quran and Dawkins’ “The God Delusion.” He featured a photo of the “desecration” on his blog, and wrote, “Nothing must be held sacred. God is not great, Jesus is not your lord, you are not disciples of any charismatic prophet.”
Religion is dangerous, he wrote; it breeds hatred and idiocy. It is our job to advance humanity’s knowledge “by winnowing out the errors of past generations and finding deeper understanding of reality.” There is no wisdom in our dogmas, Myers warned, just “self-satisfied ignorance.” We find truth only in science, looking at the world “with fresh eyes and a questioning mind.”
If (as I do) we want to criticize the folks who are pushing intelligent design nonsense and who (erroneously) want to stop teaching evolution in public schools, we need to condemn this sort of religio-scientistic trash as well. It is equally harmful and, however fancy the credentials of the people pedaling it, just as ignorant.
UPDATE: The question came up in the comments whether the host that Myers desacrated had been consecrated. I suppose there’s no way to know for sure, but here is what he asked of his readers in the July 8 blog post that got the ball rolling (I won’t link to him):
So, what to do. I have an idea. Can anyone out there score me some consecrated communion wafers? There’s no way I can personally get them — my local churches have stakes prepared for me, I’m sure — but if any of you would be willing to do what it takes to get me some, or even one, and mail it to me, I’ll show you sacrilege, gladly, and with much fanfare. I won’t be tempted to hold it hostage (no, not even if I have a choice between returning the Eucharist and watching Bill Donohue kick the pope in the balls, which would apparently be a more humane act than desecrating a goddamned cracker), but will instead treat it with profound disrespect and heinous cracker abuse, all photographed and presented here on the web. I shall do so joyfully and with laughter in my heart. If you can smuggle some out from under the armed guards and grim nuns hovering over your local communion ceremony, just write to me and I’ll send you my home address.