Atheist Arrogance Marches on Washington
Slate.com political reporter Dave Weigel tweeted with typical sarcasm yesterday "Excited for the Atheist rally tomorrow. It's usually so hard to find smug people in DC."
One of the stars of this rally is Richard Dawkins, author of "The God Delusion." In an article for the badly named "On Faith" website of The Washington Post, Dawkins displayed his contempt for the "ignorance" brigade led by Palin, Bachmann, and Santorum. Putting God aside puts the "sapiens" in "Homo sapiens," he wrote: "Sapiens literally means ‘wise,’ but we have deserved the accolade only since we crawled from the swamp of primitive superstition and supernatural gullibility and embraced reason, logic, science and evidence-based truth."
This "nonpartisan" rally (starring Democratic Rep. Pete Stark) is an effort to counter the stigma atheists carry: “Our goals in four words: social and legislative equality,” rally spokesman Jesse Galef said. It sounds almost like atheists can't get married.
Dawkins explained why the Reason Rally is something that ignorant people should not join:
Thanks to evidence-based reason we are blessedly liberated from ancient fears of ghosts and devils, evil spirits and djinns, magic spells and witches’ curses.
Who then would rally against reason? The following statements will sound all too familiar.
1. “I don’t trust educated intellectuals, élitists who know more than I do. I’d prefer to vote for somebody like me, rather than somebody who is actually qualified to be president.”
What other than this mentality accounts for the popularity of Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum--politicians who flaunt their ignorance as a vote-winning virtue? You want your airline pilot to be educated in aeronautics and navigation. You want your surgeon to be learned in anatomy. Yet when you vote for a president to lead a great country, you prefer to choose somebody who is ignorant and proud of it, someone you’d enjoy having a drink with, rather than somebody qualified for high office? If you are such a voter, you will not join the Reason Rally.
2. “Rather than have them learn modern science, I’d prefer my children to study a book written in 800 BC by unidentifed authors whose knowledge and qualifications were of their time. If I can’t trust the school to shield them from science, I’ll home-school them instead.”
Such a parent will not enjoy the Reason Rally. In 2008, at a conference of American science educators in Atlanta, Georgia, one teacher reported that students “burst into tears” when told they would be studying evolution. Another teacher described how students repeatedly screamed, “No!” when he began talking about evolution in class. If you are such a student, the Reason Rally is not for you - unless you take the precaution of stopping up your ears lest a word of unwelcome truth might penetrate.
3. “When I am faced with a mystery, with something I don’t understand, I don’t interrogate science for a solution, but jump to the conclusion that it must be supernatural and has no solution.”
This has been the lamentable but understandable first recourse of humanity for most of our history. We have grown out of it only during the past few centuries. Many people have never grown out of it, and if you are one of those the Reason Rally may have no appeal for you.