Sometimes I am driven, against my more charitable instincts, to wonder just what it takes for advocates of creationism and intelligent design (ID) to grow an intellectual conscience. I am referring, of course, to people who should know better, in fact, people who have no business not knowing better. The latest example is courtesy of Howard Smith, as cited in a recent issue of David Klinghoffer’s creationist / ID blog EvolutionNews.org. In that blog, Smith – or perhaps Klinghoffer’s citation of Smith’s text – irresponsibly misquotes Prof. Stephen Hawking and misrepresents the Anthropic Principle so as to misinterpret both as lending support to Klinghoffer’s blatantly creationist agenda.
Klinghoffer cites Smith as claiming that Hawking asserted on a TV documentary Reality on the
A little over a week ago, as this is written (28 October 2016), I published a “Skeptic’s Collection” column in which I adopted a rather “contrarian” view of three well-known texts in the Bible: Abraham’s near-sacrifice of Isaac (the Akedah), the Annunciation, and the Crucifixion. As I said at the time, though without using this analogy, all three narratives have a kind of Jungian “shadow” side, i.e., morally and psychologically dubious aspects that most Christians are careful to avoid thinking about, but that, in the name of simple intellectual integrity, deserve to be acknowledged and foregrounded, even on a cursory reading. There are several ways of dealing with this textual “shadow,” one of which is asserting that, since God gave human beings intelligence and a rational faculty,
A very modest short-range extrapolation of recent events makes it quite reasonable to predict that, in the near future, France’s zeal to stand athwart the supposed Saracen tide ostensibly menacing European civilization will lead the French Senate and National Assembly to punish Muslim women who refuse to remove their burka-like beach- and swimwear by deporting them to some small, Third World country. But even if that possibility never materializes, the whole burkini prohibition does illustrate the difference between religious liberty as it exists in the US and as it exists in France, and in the process exemplifies the differences the European Enlightenment assumed in both places. It should also caution us left-wingers / progressives that, when conservative evangelical Christians critique “