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Not another one

Hey guess what the war is over!

This year has marked, I believe, the beginning of the end of the war between science and religion. Creationism cannot last. The New Atheists are now old (or departed). And between these camps the middle ground continues to expand.

Has it all, doesn’t it. The air of easy omniscience, the disdain for atheists, the gloating at the death of one particular atheist, the false dichotomy, the warm uncritical affection for the middle ground, the stupid assumption that it’s “extreme” (not to mention old, or dead) to think science and religion are not in every way compatible.

Indeed, many folks have been hard at it, doing a new kind of peace work. Some have done it intentionally, some have not. Outliers, both atheist and religious hardliners, continue to wage battle but they look increasingly irrelevant.

Yup, there it is again: marginalize those atheists, lump those atheists in with religious fundamentalists, declare the enemy irrelevant.

Here are ten who, in small ways and large, have helped to spread seeds of peace on the blasted-out battleground of science and religion.

10. Karl Giberson, science & religion writer and former physicist, for reminding evangelicals that science is not the enemy

And who took a lot of grief from evangelicals as a result – but Paul Wallace omits to mention that.

6. Jack Templeton, surgeon, president and chairman of the John Templeton Foundation, for bringing science into the church

And the church into science, but Paul Wallace omits to mention that.

5. Chris Stedman, interfaith activist and super-swell atheist guy, for decoupling atheism from science, and for being the face of a kinder, gentler atheism

This year saw the softening of the atheist universe. Perhaps the Four Horsemen came out hard because they had to, but in their wake have emerged atheists who are more interested in dialogue and shared values than in pounding the snot out of other people’s notions of God.

Kinder, gentler than what? Well, than those Other atheists, of course, the one who pound the snot out of everything. That seems to be almost the whole point of this super-swell interfaith atheism: to carve atheism into two pieces and claim the Good, Kind, Gentle, Non-snot-pounding piece for oneself while implying (in a super-swell deniable sort of way, of course) that the people in the other part are mean belligerent shits.

Maybe the war isn’t over after all.

Comments

  1. Josh Slocum says

    Paging James Croft, paging James Croft. An emergency meeting of the Stedman Defense League is being held in the Hall of Justiciness.

  2. julian says

    So very glad to seeing this obnoxious twit getting smacked around the blogosphere.

    Jack Templeton, surgeon, president and chairman of the John Templeton Foundation, for bringing science into the church
    -Paul Wallace

    Why not thank George Bush for bringing the importance of AGW to the GOP while we’re at it?

  3. says

    Heh. I was going to say “cue James Croft or John Figdor” at the end but decided not to.

    It’s funny that they can’t see it – that endlessly shouting “I’m the nice kind of atheist!!” inevitably paints other atheists as nasty and that other atheists are not necessarily going to find that admirable.

  4. 'Tis Himself, OM. says

    while implying (in a super-swell deniable sort of way, of course) that the people in the other part are mean belligerent shits.

    As well as dying and irrelevant.

    Wallace does like to indulge in wishful thinking.

  5. says

    New Atheism is the faddish in-thing, except when it’s fading into obscurity. The New Atheists are all fusty old men, except when they’re all immature teenagers. The movement is aimless and incoherent, except when it’s ruthlessly working to eliminate religion. All New Atheists slavishly think the same thing, except when they’re on the verge of tearing the movement apart through infighting. They’re all lazy, uncommitted and unwilling, except when they’re fervent and obsessive. New Atheists boorishly seek argument at every turn, except when they cowardly evade argument at every term. New Atheism is a threat to society, except when it’s dying and irrelevant.

    As Joseph put it, Any Extreme Will Do…

  6. Weed Monkey says

    hyperdeath, oh please. You seem disappointed, but it would become interesting if you could stop foaming at the mouth and explain why.

  7. jfigdor says

    Wow, didn’t realize I had a reputation here. No offense, Ophelia, but I’ve moved onto other blogs (I like Greta Christina’s blog and Blaghag especially). I wish you luck with your journalism. For the record, I was with you and PZ on most of the list, with the obvious exception of my dear friend and colleague Mr. Stedman.

  8. keithharwood says

    I was under the impression that religion lost this particular war when they started putting lightning conductors on churches.

  9. Fin says

    If it’s been a war at all, it’s been a defensive one. Very few scientists seem to actively attack religion, they mostly seem to be fine with religion so long as it’s no where near science. The only way such a war would end would be the reverse: If religion stops trying to insinuate itself into a position where it can control science.

  10. dirigible says

    I am *not* the nice kind of atheist.

    As for “the middle ground”, I wish I could find a source for the American saying about the desirability of finding an acceptable mix of shit and ice-cream.

  11. says

    dirigible says:

    As for “the middle ground”, I wish I could find a source for the American saying about the desirability of finding an acceptable mix of shit and ice-cream.

    Perhaps this quote seems appropriate:

    “There’s nothing in the middle of the road but a yellow stripe and dead armadillos.” – Jim Hightower (author and former Texas politician)

  12. says

    Hah, I fully accept the implied rebuke. Sometimes I am over-enthusiastic to defend my colleagues. I’m really passionate about this stuff! I love Humanism, I love working with the Chaplaincy, and I get very engaged in these sorts of discussions. Perhaps I should hold back a while, eh? I’ve got lots of work on our site to do anyway ;)

  13. says

    Well I certainly don’t want you to hold back in general, James! I like discussing with you, and I admire your part in the discussions. It’s just that the response to this one particular subject has become…predictable.

    You certainly can take a joke. Hats off to you for that, comrade.

  14. John Morales says

    [meta]

    Please, James — don’t belittle Ophelia.

    She’s only being fair; kindness is a different kettle of fish.

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