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Declaration on Science and Secularism

The Center for Inquiry’s new branch office in DC has issued a “Declaration on Science and Secularism” in which they lament the increasing appeal of ID among the unwashed masses. There’s a simple way for this problem to go away: stop stealing the money of the unwashed masses (in the form of taxes) to underwrite an ideologically driven materialistic conception of science; instead, get your money from secular elites like Paul Allen, George Soros, Charles Simonyi, etc.

For the text of the Declaration, go here: http://www.cfidc.org/declaration.html.

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23 Responses to Declaration on Science and Secularism

  1. “…we cannot hope to convince others that it is wrong to compel women to veil themselves when we deliberately draw a veil over scientific knowledge”.

    Oh yes, didn’t you know, Moslem women wear veils because we have screwed up our pursuit of science!!!! Sure is intuitive to me.

    “A mindset fixed in the Middle Ages cannot possibly hope to meet the challenges of our times.” Yep, if you attend a church, synagogue, or mosque you are automatically stuck in the Middle Ages. By golly, and if you drink beer or wine, you are stuck in the Middle Ages as well, because, don’t you know, they drank it back then as well.

    “to base public policy insofar as possible on empirical evidence instead of religious faith”.

    Oh, but I can sure take their point. I mean, our public policy should be based squarely on empirical data. You know, like the laws of physics command us that murder is wrong, the laws of Chemistry dictate that stealing is wrong, and nanotechnology prohibits us from speeding on the highway because we might run over very small animals!!

    OK, so how about a challenge. Please present us with one law or public policy initiative that is based entirely on empirical data, without any moral component. Please remember the definition of moral: principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong.

  2. …they lament the increasing appeal of ID among the unwashed masses. There’s a simple way for this problem to go away…

    Soap?

    Sorry. Couldn’t resist. :-)

  3. Exceedingly strange is the fact that the United States produces more scientific discoveries and technological accomplishments than any other nation yet we’re a bunch of mystics who don’t know squat about science and technology.

    Can those dummkopfs at cfidc.org spell non sequitur?

  4. There were only four “Steves” on the signature list. That must have dramatic meaning of some sort.

  5. not to permit legislation or executive action to be influenced by religious beliefs

    Wow. That’s the most unconstitutional thing I’ve heard in a very long time.

    New oath of office:

    I do hereby affirm by nothing I hold sacred that I will abandon the principles and beliefs I hold in common with a vast majority of my constituents and instead rely on the prognostications of the marginalized secular elite to guide all my decisions.

  6. 6

    Science and secularism are inextricably linked and both are indispensable if we are to have sound public policies that will promote the common good, not only of Americans but of the global community.

    Uhhhh…I guess this is explained by the utter lack of historians in this list (with the exception of an anthropologist), since it ignores how science has been practiced within a non-secular worldview. Science is only “inextricably” linked to secularism by a question-begging redefinition of what science entails.

    Science transcends borders and provides the most reliable basis for finding solutions to our problems.

    But does secularism? I guess the myth that secularism is the objectively neutral ground on which people can reason together still exists (not that I needed this to realize that fact, of course – just stating the obvious).
    By the way, I also thought the juxtaposition of facts about America’s non-acceptance of evolution with facts about its “scientific illiteracy” were quite amusing as well. So much for critical thinking, Center of Inquiry!

  7. Joseph McCarthy would be proud of these $#@!^&*^#%$(bleep)s.

    A recent poll by the Pew Research Center revealed that 64% of Americans are open to the idea of teaching intelligent design or creationism in public schools.

    That IS sad. 64% is too low.

    Some 42% totally reject evolution or believe that present forms of life existed since the beginning of time.

    Strawman. Even YECs accept evolution.

    38% would teach only creationism instead of evolutionary theory.

    That would not be a good thing.

    Only 26% agree with the predominant scientific view that life evolved by processes of natural selection without the need for divine intervention.

    And not one of them can demonstrate that scientifically.

    The percentage of individuals who accept the theory of evolution is lower in the United States than in any other developed country, with the exception of Turkey.

    If Turkey is a “developed” country I would seriously doubt that. Are Argentina, Basil, Chile and Mexico also “developed”? I would love to see the studies which show their majorities accept the present theory of evolution.

    Recent polls have illustrated other instances of scientific illiteracy:

    20% of Americans think that the Sun revolves about the Earth

    A once purely scientific view.

    Only 10% know what radiation is

    Disturbing but that reflects on the system.

    Less than one-third can identify DNA as a key to heredity

    Ditto.

    In the U.S., twelfth grade students scored lower than the average of students in 21 other countries in science and math.

    Ditto +
    Math and science require work and due diligence. Ours is a society of “instant results”. As long as entertainers garner the $$$ and fame that is where our youth’s interests will be.

    The raw spewage contained in that “declaration” is laughable. This calls for a parody…

  8. Three statements.

    “These disturbing trends can be illustrated by the push for intelligent design (a new name for creationism) and the insistence that it be taught along with evolution.

    Only 26% of Americans agree with the predominant scientific view that life evolved by processes of natural selection without the need for divine intervention.

    The cultivation of critical thinking is essential not only for science but also for an educated citizenry—especially if democracy is to flourish”

    I think the first two show how democracy is working. It seems that it is the secularists that are not interested in the “unwashed” having a say.

  9. Let’s try this again, the last attempt got caught in the spam filter.

    Yet government legislators and executives permit religion, instead of empirical, scientifically supported evidence, to shape public policy. Consider:

    then

    Embryonic stem cell research, which promises to deliver revolutionary therapies, has been needlessly impeded by the misguided claim that the embryo and/or the first division of cells in a petri dish (blastocyst) is the equivalent of a human person. This is rooted in a moral-theological doctrine that has no basis in science.

    Let’s see if this is true. It is my understanding that humanity has made a moral decision to respect every human’s “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.” This moral decision is not rooted in science. Science (social science), however, can show us that not taking this view will produce a society that kills people for all sorts of reasons. If we go this road, it might be decided that I need to be killed as well because I am diabetic, therefore a burden on healthcare, or because I am, heaven forbid, an IDer. Therefore, it can be scientifically demonstrated that a position that every person has the right to life can clearly be made. The next question asked of science is, “when does ‘person’ begin?” Science has no definitive answer to this question, except one. When human sperm enters human egg a new living organism is complete. Science surely finds this to be so. That new organism, according to science, is properly classified as “homo-sapien”.

    Therefore, though science does not directly confirm or deny that the “right to life” should be granted to all homo-sapiens, it does confirm that a firtilized egg is a homo-sapien, and shows that giving one homo-sapien the right to kill another has serious, undesireable, social consequences.

    The nation spends hundreds of millions of dollars on faith-based programs of unproven efficacy, including ill-advised abstinence-only programs in such areas as drug abuse prevention and sex education, which are more successful at promoting misinformation than abstinence.

    It would seem that science proves that we sould be welcoming the use of illicit drugs despite the scientific evidence of the harm that these drugs do to society. As far as abstinence goes vis-a-vis sex, well, I know of no organization that teaches abstinance. The church, with the exception of the Catholic position on celebacy in the clergy, promotes sexual activity within the confines of marriage. Science has demonstrated the significant social cost to a freer position on sexuality — aids, abortion, heartbreak, economic crisis (single parents are the poorest demographic… ). Whether these programs have been proven to be efficatious, well, that is an interesting question. Yet if the people with the research dollars were to seek out the optimal way of teaching abstinance (they would find that it starts with parental attituedes when the child is two) they would find efficatious ways of teaching this socially valuable doctrine.

    Abstinence policies are advocated abroad and promotion of condom use rejected, heedless of the danger of AIDS and of the need for wise policies aimed to restrain rapid population growth.

    I bet I can scientifically demonstrate that both AIDS and rapid population growth are more effectively curbed by abstinance than by condoms.

    (Isn’t it interesting that condoms are seen as only 90% effective at preventing pregnancies, yet I have yet to see a single individual’s case published where that individual contracted AIDS dispite using a condom. We know it happens from statistics, but we don’t want to put the victim’s face on the TV.)

    Scientific evidence of global warming is dismissed and the destruction of other species on the planet is ignored, driven by the misguided view that the Earth has been given to the human species as its dominion.

    Though there is a community that has not found the science of human-caused global warming to be compelling, I have yet to see anyone take the position opposing either global warming or the erratication of species on the grounds of, “the Earth has been given to the human species as its dominion.” In fact, I understand that there is a clear movement afoot within Christian circles to recognize that in the Biblical command to “Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Geneis 1:28b NIV) as a responsibility given to us by God to be environmental “stewards” — ie to be “environmentalists”.

    The obligation that the scientific community has is to obtain clearer data on global warming, or to do a better job of communicating the data that they have. This, rather than riling agianst religion, will bring more people on side — or will cause science to realise that they are in error.

  10. “Unfortunately, not only do too many well-meaning people base their conceptions of the universe on ancient books—such as the Bible and the Koran—****rather than**** scientific inquiry, but politicians of all parties encourage and abet this scientific ignorance.”

    Either or fallacy.

    People, like Newton for a great example, can favor the Bible, or another holy book, and still do science.

    Obviously.

  11. More Darwinian alarmism, scare mongering and “the sky is falling!” mentality.
    The way that page starts is kind of ironic:

    “Working to promote and defend reason, science and fredom of inquiry”

    I might add..

    ..EXCEPT if that “freedom” causes people to doubt Darwinism.

    Our concern has been compounded by the failure exhibited by far too many Americans, including influential decision-makers, to understand the nature of scientific inquiry and the integrity of empirical research. This disdain for science is aggravated by the excessive influence of religious doctrine on our public policies.

    Strange words, given that the USA leads the world in scientific research. One would think that Darwinian totalists would rejoice that the USA is such a high star in the domains their claim to be “defending”. But, no. Darwinists are not happy. The USA is a huge thorn in their flesh since here is a prosperous and scientifically sucessful nation whose population is largely skeptic of unguided evolutionism. The USA seems to be the darwinian nightmare.

    We are concerned with the resurgence of fundamentalist religions across the nation, and their alliance with political-ideological movements to block science.

    Wait a moment! I thought that the fundamentalists (AKA Christian Fundamentalists) were a tiny minority inside Christianity..?!!

    We are troubled by the persistence of paranormal and occult beliefs, and by the denial of the findings of scientific research.

    Then go after the paranormalists and the occultists, and leave the “fundamentlists” alone. However, they won’t go after the occultists since many of them have new age evolutionary deceptive world views.

    This is both troubling and puzzling since the hypotheses and theories of evolution are central to modern science.

    Nonsense! One can do his job perfectly well, without believing that biological systems are the result of a long line of “accidents”, filtered by non-random death (“natural selection”). Many of the founding fathers of branches in modern science had a diferent worldview (Christian) but that didn’t stop their scientific research (Kepler, Boyle, Galileo, etc).

    We think that these dismal facts portend a clear and present danger to the role of science in the U.S.

    Nonsense.

    In our view it is not enough to teach specific technical subjects—important as that is—but to convey to the public a general understanding of how science works.

    I think most people are aware of science works (testing/experimentation, hypothesis, collection of data, etc, etc). What most people don’t buy is the metaphysical belief Darwinian totalists bring into the discussion. People are ok with the science which God uses to make our life better/helthier, etc, etc.People are ok with the science that took people to the moon, made planes, healed deseases, etc, etc. People are, however, skeptical of the claim which postulates that the brains which invented planes, and discovered deseases, and draw space shuttles are the result of a long line of accidents.

    Unfortunately, not only do too many well-meaning people base their conceptions of the universe on ancient books—such as the Bible and the Koran

    Notice the guilty by association fallacy.

    The way this “declaration” is written, one gets the feeling that these people live in another world. They havent read any ID material, so it seems, or don’t want to portray ID as it should.

    Scientific evidence of global warming is dismissed and the destruction of other species on the planet is ignored, .

    What’s wrong with the destruction of other species? It’s evolution, baby! The strongest survive, and the weakest die. Darwin’s theory is being confirmed in our eyes. What more evidence do we need ?!!!!!

    We cannot hope to convince those in other countries of the dangers of religious fundamentalism when religious fundamentalists influence our policies at home; we cannot hope to convince others that it is wrong to compel women to veil themselves when we deliberately draw a veil over scientific knowledge;

    Notice the guilty by association nonsense again. I for once am sick and tired of being lumped together with the “Religion of Peace”, just bkz I am skeptical of unguided evolutionism. I am sure other Christians might have similar feelings.

    Science transcends borders and provides the most reliable basis for finding solutions to our problems.

    Replace the word “science” for the word “Christ” and you might have a point.
    Bythe way, whose version of science should one follow? Eugenie’s version? Dawkins’ version?

    To find common ground, we must reason together, and we can do so only if we are willing to put personal religious beliefs aside when we craft public policy.

    Ok. Let’s all put aside our “personal religious beliefs”. Does “naturalism” count as a religious belief?

    For these reasons, we call upon political leaders of all parties:

    * to protect and promote scientific inquiry

    I can’t believe they are giving this advice to the most scientifically evolved nation on the plannet.

    to provide an impartial and reliable source of scientific analysis to assist Congress,

    Like NCSE? Or NAS ?

    to maintain a strict separation between church and state and, in particular, not to permit legislation or executive action to be influenced by religious beliefs.

    Too late for that. Religious naturalism is already king in academia.

  12. I love to see posts like this. It means the ID “infidels” are winning. It’s quite obvious that Darwinists are terrified of ID, and the more public acknowledgement ID gets the more screaming and gnashing of teeth we here from the Darwinists. Without Darwin, atheism doesn’t have a prayer, and that’s the real issue on their side.

  13. “To find common ground, we must reason together, and we can do so only if we are willing to put personal religious beliefs aside when we craft public policy.”
    This comes back to the Star Trek philosophy; Where Kirk (along with Spock) told an alien how science has solved all of mans’ problems and how it made us better then turn around threaten to blow up Enterprise if the alien didn’t give control of the ship back to Kirk. Kind of like a baby wanting he bottle or else. Thus science has become a religion to some people.

  14. Finally, a secular Wedge document. It is, however, far more militant than its counterpart. For this secularist version is calling for a full-orbed atheocracy including public marginalization of all heretics. Here’s a tip: whenever someone thinks he is advancing Reason’s march through history, the enemies of Reason are disposable (if they are not willing to shut up and stop shaping their communities). This is a secular jihad.

  15. …and the declaration is its fatwa.

  16. Beckwith,

    it is only now become public, it has been an declared group fatwa behind closed doors for a long time. Also, Congrats on tenure!

    offtopic moderators, possible news discussion: Genetic variation between humans larger than thought – originally considered an “error.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....115741.htm
    hattip: telicthoughts

  17. During the French Revolution, on November 10, 1793, a Goddess of Reason was proclaimed by the French Convention at the suggestion of Chaumette.
    wikipedia
    I think the story goes that certain wenches in a small village, when presented with Her to worship, lifted up their skirts and exposed their backsides to this Goddess. It would behoove Americans to do the same to this fatwa.

  18. Secular jihad? ??? wow!

    you say “stealing the money of the unwashed masses (in the form of taxes) to underwrite an ideologically driven materialistic conception of science…”

    How would ID be any less ideological?

    Wouldn’t it be impossible to get away from public funding?

    Is there room for compromise? ID does not have hard data… evolution has some soft spots. Nothing should ever claim to explain everything. Can’t the two build off of each other? One thing is certain, they each have value.

  19. Here’s a tip: whenever someone thinks he is advancing Reason’s march through history, the enemies of Reason are disposable (if they are not willing to shut up and stop shaping their communities). This is a secular jihad.

    Comment by francisbeckwith — November 29, 2006 @ 9:46 pm

    Indeed. Word on the street is that Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris have begun circulating a document encouraging atheists to begin violent protests outside of churches on Sunday mornings. I’m told that this document also advances the hope that public executions of outspoken religious people will occur within 25 years. This is what we can expect when reason takes over our government.

  20. “unwashed masses” ?

    Such pathetic scientific elitism and arrogance should be publicly condemned.

    They should have said – “un-brain-washed masses”.

    Would fit the Darweenie scientists world view & plans very nicely.

    Unfortunately, their favorite high priest says that the masses are simply victims of memes! Just like they themselves must necessarily be, if memes were true! ;-)

    The idiocies of Darwinian fundamentalist “we must rule the world!” like statements are so blatant that any kid on the street can see through them.

    They really should be stopped by the “nice young men in their clean white coats”.

    They’re losing it in a major way.

  21. If only they could get their way! They would quickly mutate and evolve into the Center for the Inquisition Against Darwin Doubters and Other Heretics, expressly mandated to make America, and the world, safe for secular atheism.

    Perhaps even now, they’re working on a new US Constitution:

    Preamble: “We, the Truly Enlightened Secular Atheists of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Elitism, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Neo Darwinian Random Mutations to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    And a new Declaration of Dependence:

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are not created equal, but are the result of Darwinian evolution by Means of Natural Selection or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life; that they are endowed by Random Mutations with whatever Rights, we, The Truly Enlightened Secular Atheists, shall deem proper for them to have. To secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their powers from the consent of the Secular Atheistic Elite, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the Elite to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to the Elite shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

    Welcome to Brave New World!

    (And just for the record, here’s a Wikipedia resume on the novel by that name: “Brave New World is a dystopian novel by Aldous Huxley, first published in 1932. Set in London in the 26th century, the novel anticipates developments in reproductive technology, biological engineering, and sleep-learning that combine to change society.

    “The world it describes could also be a utopia, albeit an ironic one: Humanity is carefree, healthy and technologically advanced. Warfare and poverty have been eliminated and everyone is permanently happy. The irony is that all of these things have been achieved by eliminating many things people currently derive happiness from — family, cultural diversity, art, literature, science, religion and philosophy. It is also a hedonistic society, deriving pleasure from promiscuous sex and drug use, especially the use of soma, a powerful stimulant taken to escape pain and bad memories through hallucinatory fantasies…”)

    Seems like Huxley’s “prophecy” was five centuries off — or perhaps his impatient disciples have the Ahmadinejad syndrome: they desire Utopia now!

  22. Is the “unwashed masses” terminology in the document or added here for hyperbole?

  23. Remember that the document explicitly states that the commodification of embryos is justified because “science” says so: “Embryonic stem cell research, which promises to deliver revolutionary therapies, has been needlessly impeded by the misguided claim that the embryo and/or the first division of cells in a petri dish (blastocyst) is the equivalent of a human person. This is rooted in a moral-theological doctrine that has no basis in science.”

    Notice the bait and switch. We are offered “science,” Reason writ large, but what we get is a philosophical anthropology that excludes embryos from the human community so that we can tinker with them without moral scruples. There’s no “science” here, let alone “Reason.” What we have is stipulation of a controversial view of the human person cloaked in the language of “science.” I think there was an Austrian painter who once thought that way.

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