Michael Zimmerman, the guy behind the Clergy Letter Project and Evolution Sunday, in which ministers are encouraged to endorse science and evolution, is unhappy with those danged New Atheists who refuse to support his efforts. Jerry Coyne excerpts Zimmerman’s complaint.
Oddly enough, although these Clergy Letter Project members are often among the first to fight for all forms of creationism to be removed from our public schools and for evolution to be taught, they have also been relentlessly attacked by “New Atheists.” The crux of these attacks seems to take two forms. In the first, clergy members are ridiculed simply for having religious faith. In the second, supposedly intelligent people pretend they are unable to distinguish these clergy members from the fundamentalists with whom they share very little theologically and they are then tarred with the brush of unthinking literalism.
Oooh, “relentlessly attacked”. I like that. Funny thing is, though, that I’ve been kind of cranky about the Evolution Sunday nonsense for a few years, but have been disappointed to see very little other dissent from it. Even Coyne has said it’s “harmless at worst”. Who could be making these relentless attacks?
Maybe it’s me. I’ve been hard-pressed to find anyone else who criticizes that Clergy Letter project, but I know I have. I did a search on my site and found four whole articles on the Clergy Project/Evolution Sunday, and it’s true — I don’t like it much at all. Here’s the full history of my vicious mad-dog barking at Zimmerman.
Feb 2006: I say that I found it orthogonal to my views, but since I found fundies frothing at the mouth over it, I’ll look on it charitably for a bit.
Feb 2007: A grudging acknowledgment of the event, but I suggest a better use of everyone’s time would be to stay home and read a good book.
July 2007: I read some of the Evolution Sunday sermons. Gag a maggot, they’re bad. Really, read some sometime — this is what happens when you invite scientifically ignorant people to pontificate on biology and pretend to have some authority…and they’re always using their mangled version of evolution as a parable to urge greater faith in god.
Then there are a few years where I ignore them altogether.
Feb 2010: My strongest criticism yet, I mention that I despise the Clergy Project, and that they were sponsoring an awful debate in Minnesota between a nicey-nice but airheaded apologist for religion and a flaming young earth creationist.
That’s it. I’d be interested in hearing if someone else has a more consistent and ferocious history of savaging the Clergy Letter Project/Evolution Sunday stuff. So I can shake their hand.
Relentlessness has a whole new meaning in the minds of the faithful. Kinda like “militant”.