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Both Anti-Evolutionists and New Atheists Get Science Wrong

March 25 2016

After courts repeatedly found their efforts at introducing “creation science” into school curricula to be in violation of the First Amendment, religious opponents of Darwinism in Texas have begun pressing for “intelligent-design theory” (ID) to be taught alongside evolution. Peter Berger notes a striking parallel between their misunderstanding of science and the intellectual arrogance of the so-called New Atheists:

[Intelligent design does] not challenge evolution or the modern cosmogony. Rather, it makes the argument that the order of the universe points to an intelligent mind behind it. This of course is what any Christian (or Jewish or Muslim) monotheist would say. I think that one can make a powerful philosophical argument here. The mistake made by the fundamentalists was to insist that ID was yet another scientific theory. The courts struggled a bit, but then again concluded that ID was yet another religious doctrine falsely claiming to be science. . . .

[T]he wish of religious movements to be recognized as “scientific” is not difficult to explain: science has attained enormous prestige in the modern world, not because its cognitive claims are universally understood (the scientific knowledge of most people is very limited), but because the technology created on the basis of science can be used without being understood. On the whole, this technology has greatly benefited human life on earth. One can drive an automobile without understanding why the internal-combustion engine works. . . .

[T]here is a curious resemblance between the Protestant fundamentalists besieging the Texas Board of Education and the “New Atheist” fundamentalists that have been besieging us all with their mostly silly books. Both propose a very “flat” universe—enclosed in very narrow limits, without any sense of transcendence or mystery. Real science conveys both. It creates an experience of wonder. That wonder is not yet religion. But it is its antechamber.

Read more at American Interest

More about: Charles Darwin, Education, New Atheists, Religion & Holidays, Science, Science and Religion

 

In Dealing with Iran, the U.S. Can Learn from Ronald Reagan

When Ronald Reagan arrived at the White House in 1981, the consensus was that, with regard to the Soviet Union, two responsible policy choices presented themselves: détente, or a return to the Truman-era policy of containment. Reagan, however, insisted that the USSR’s influence could not just be checked but rolled back, and without massive bloodshed. A decade later, the Soviet empire collapsed entirely. In crafting a policy toward the Islamic Republic today, David Ignatius urges the current president to draw on Reagan’s success:

A serious strategy to roll back Iran would begin with Syria. The U.S. would maintain the strong military position it has established east of the Euphrates and enhance its garrison at Tanf and other points in southern Syria. Trump’s public comments suggest, however, that he wants to pull these troops out, the sooner the better. This would all but assure continued Iranian power in Syria.

Iraq is another key pressure point. The victory of militant Iraqi nationalist Moqtada al-Sadr in [last week’s] elections should worry Tehran as much as Washington. Sadr has quietly developed good relations with Saudi Arabia, and his movement may offer the best chance of maintaining an Arab Iraq as opposed to a Persian-dominated one. But again, that’s assuming that Washington is serious about backing the Saudis in checking Iran’s regional ambitions. . . .

The Arabs, [however], want the U.S. (or Israel) to do the fighting this time. That’s a bad idea for America, for many reasons, but the biggest is that there’s no U.S. political support for a war against Iran. . . .

Rolling back an aggressive rival seems impossible, until someone dares to try it.

Read more at RealClear Politics

More about: Cold War, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs, Ronald Reagan, U.S. Foreign policy