Ah yes, teach all sides — the science and the Oogity Boogity too. We’ve seen such letters before, but this one is somewhat different. You’ll see.
We don’t like to embarrass people (unless they’re politicians, preachers, or other public figures), so we’ll just use the letter-writer’s first name, which is Gary. We’ll give you a few excerpts from his letter, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!
I have no personal ax to grind in the debate between biological creationist Rex Spendlove and evolutionary atheists.
We’ll overlook that “evolutionary atheists” remark, although it’s a powerful clue regarding Gary’s thinking on the subject. Here’s the Spendlove letter he’s talking about: HyClone founder Rex Spendlove discusses Scientists Supporting Religion group. We saw it a few days ago and briefly considered using it, but the thing was too chaotic, and we couldn’t get a grip on it. Now we have a letter responding to it, which says:
It is only when one side or the other tries to impose their beliefs into our public schools that I become concerned.
Oh — Gary only gets upset when those uppity science people try to “impose their beliefs” in the public schools. Let’s read on:
As a former philosophy instructor at several colleges and universities, I tried to present all sides to my students. My goal was not to persuade them to accept one “ism” over the other, but to encourage them to think for themselves.
We tried to find an academic reference to Gary in Google, but without success. He makes it sound like his classes were all mush. With profound apologies to Barbara Forrest, we’ll remind you of the old joke about the cost of equipping a professor of math compared to a professor of philosophy. The latter is less expensive because he doesn’t need a wastebasket. Gary continues:
We should question not just religious doctrine, but also fundamental assumptions that lie at the very foundation of science. The enemy is not faith or reason, but dogmatism.
Great outlook! Science is just a bunch of assumptions. Yes, dear students — you shouldn’t dogmatically accept reality! Here’s more:
When Einstein was asked how he came up with his theory of relativity, he reportedly said, “I took nothing as given.” Unfortunately, he failed to follow his own advice and stubbornly rejected quantum mechanics.
If only Einstein had Gary as a philosophy instructor, things would have been very different. Moving along:
Likewise Niels Bohr, the father of quantum mechanics, summarily rejected Hugh Everett’s multiverse theory as complete heresy.
Hugh Everett isn’t known for the multiverse theory. He proposed his many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics — the idea that all possible alternative histories and futures are literally real. It’s fun for college bull-sessions, but a wee bit weak on data. Another excerpt from Gary’s letter:
The point is this: Only in an intellectual climate where all views are heard and all knowledge claims are suspect can religious faith grow and scientific revolutions occur.
Maybe. But we’ve heard more than enough creationism to know what it is — and what it isn’t. What it is, is a waste of everyone’s time — well, maybe not for a philosopher like Gary. The letter ends with a plug for what we assume is a creationist website:
For those who wish to examine the theist-atheist debate further, I suggest the website [link omitted]. The site moderator impartially presents a wide range of views on cosmology, consciousness, and the meaning of God offered by leading scientists, philosophers, and theologians of our day.
Thanks for the tip, Gary, but your Curmudgeon already visits enough strange websites. Oh, and thanks for the letter. In some other universe, it thrilled us.
Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.