Yesterday a debate took place between a few of my favorite folks … namely Chris Mooney, Eugenie Scott, Victor Stenger, and PZ. I’m not going to get bogged down into a blow by blow description, but will instead pluck out a few words said by PZ, specifically because they pushed one of my hot buttons … these are words that I find I agree with 100% …
Religion provides solace to millions, we are told, it makes them happy, and it’s mostly harmless.
“But is it true?”, we ask, as if it matters.
The religious are the majority, we hear over and over again, and we need to be pragmatic and diplomatic in dealing with them.
“But is what they believe true?”, we ask, and “What do we gain by compromising on reality?”
Religion isn’t the problem, they claim, it’s only the extremists and zealots and weirdos. The majority of believers are moderates and even share some values with us.
“But is a moderate superstition true?”, we repeat, and “How can a myth be made more true if its proponents are simply calmer in stating it?”
I mean, it’s nice and all that most Christians aren’t out chanting “God Hates Fags” and are a little embarrassed when some yokel whines that he didn’t come from no monkey, but they still go out and quietly vote against gay and lesbian rights, and they still sit at home while their school boards set fire to good science.
It’s all about the truth, people. And all the evidence is crystal clear right now: the earth is far older than 6,000 years. Evolution is a real, and it is a process built on raw chance driven by the brutal engines of selection, and there is no sign of a loving, personal god, but only billions of years of pitiless winnowing without any direction other than short-term survival and reproduction. It’s not pretty, it’s not consoling, it doesn’t sanctify virginity, or tell you that god really loves your foreskin, but it’s got one soaring virtue that trumps all the others: it’s true.
As observed by PZ, perhaps the best way to sum all this up is as follows …
A thing moderately good is not so good as it ought to be. Moderation in temper is always a virtue; but moderation in principle is always a vice. – Thomas Paine, 18th century philosopher and enlightenment thinker.
You can read more here …