A DUMB RUSE

In The End of Faith, Sam Harris accurately argues that the most egregious miscreants in the ongoing idiocy known as [insert name of any religion here] are not the hapless fundamentalists who crow on and on about things such as the "imminent" Second Coming and the literal truth of the Bible, but the agnostics, skeptics and closet atheists who are loath to rock the boat by challenging the utter stupidity of religious dogma, thereby affording faith-based vomitus protection from scrutiny not afforded other delusional world views. Sadly, Harris' words ring increasingly true with each passing day; even in a purportedly advanced society such as 21st-century America, wingnuts playing the God card have been successful in gumming up the educational system, impeding scientific research that could potentially save or improve millions of lives, and ensuring that women and certain minority groups continue to be treated as less than human, a status that should be reserved for anyone over the age of six who believes in transubstantiation, Genesis, or any of the other wonderful fables handed down by our benighted ancestors.

One would think that the last thing a non-afflicted person would quietly abide by would be the poorly checked advancement of the yutzy agendas of a group of wild-eyed Bible-smackers; yet if anything, even many non-believers feel that criticism of outlandishly backward belief systems is, or should be, verboten. In some ways this is less forgivable than the mindset and resultant behavior of fundies themselves; the latter are invariably programmed from a tender age, senile, or suffering from organic brain disease, but sentient agnostics and atheists have no such ready excuse.

All of this by way of introducing a book, or more accurately a book review, written by one Michael Ruse, a professor at Florida State University. In the soon-to-be-released The Evolution-Creation Struggle, Ruse, an agnostic who wholly accepts the reality of evolution, argues that evolutionists have in many ways served as their own worst enemy, in part by applying evolution-based ideas to s皜cial constructs, but also by failing to give creationists an undeserved free pass. To wit, from the review:

"Ruse asserts that popular contemporary biologists like Edward O. Wilson and Richard Dawkins have also exacerbated the divisions between evolutionists and creationists by directly challenging the validity of religious belief - Dawkins by repeatedly declaring his atheism ('faith,' he once wrote, 'is one of the world's great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate'), and Wilson by describing his 'search for objective reality' as a replacement for religious seeking."

Apparently, Ruse believes that just because a large, vocal group of ninnies take umbrage at rightful questioning of patently insane assertions, their beliefs should remain largely or wholly unquestioned -- this in spite of the fact that evangelism (i.e., force-feeding claptrap to large groups of people who passively or actively resist this process) is a core element of many religious sects.

At least Ruse manages to crater his entire position with one telling quote: "'Some colleague or another is going to go through the roof on this,' he says, with a hint of enthusiasm. He predicts 'a range of reactions from the irritated to the livid. And if I don't get that I'm going to be a very sorry person.'" As an academic by trade, he's already a sorry person, but his clarification of his motives discloses his real agenda, however incidentally.
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