Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Stenger defends New Atheism

Atheist-physicist Victor J. Stenger writes a defense of New Atheism:
Indeed, one of the common themes of New Atheism is to persuade scientists, the majority of whom are atheists, to play a larger role in many contested issues that affect the future of humanity on this planet. ...

We would be a thousand years further along in the scientific quest had it not been interrupted when, in the fourth century of the Common Era, the Catholic Church assumed control of the Roman Empire and plunged Europe into the Dark Ages. Only with the Renaissance, when free thought once again became possible, did a new science develop that led to the modern world. ...

The principles of New Atheism, as I see them to have been elucidated in the new atheist literature, are:

1. We should seek the “end of faith” because it is at best worthless and at worst harmful to believe without evidence, and downright dangerous to believe despite the evidence.

2. Religious claims – whether about the world or about human morality and ethics — should be studied scientifically and not be given a free pass from criticism.

3. Religion should be studied scientifically and not be given a free pass from criticism.

4. Religion “poisons everything.”

5. There not only is no evidence for God, there is ample evidence against the existence of a God, such as the Judaic-Christian-Islamic God, who plays and important role in the universe and in human life.

6. Yet, the situation is not hopeless. Surveys indicate that the tide is turning against theism, especially among the young who are the future.
When the new atheists take sides on those contested issues, it is usually on the left-wing side. For example, Jerry Coynes latest post is outlaw private possession of handguns. There is no science to back up the opinion.

The history lesson is a little distorted. If Christianity was so "dark" and contrary to scientific progress, then why did Christian Europe so rapidly pass up non-Christian civilizations in China, India, Persia, Egypt, Central America, etc.?

Catholics have never claimed that teachings be given a free pass from criticism.

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