Religious Scientists and the Legacy of Christopher Hitchens
‘As Douglas Adams pointed out, the real challenge is coming up with a good question or two. Like Christopher Hitchens, Adams was a brilliant (and deceased) atheist author who regarded religious scientists with, at best, some concern. Regardless, this does not change the fact that grand questions about our existence can still legitimately be asked, even if in so doing we cannot expect the same level of empirical precision we receive from scientific answers. For example, how has life diversified after it began? Evolution via descent with modification. Are the Earth’s continents mobile? Plate tectonics. To answer the question “why do we exist?” with “to emulate God’s love” is to be entirely unscientific. Yet I think this answer is rational, as do philosophers and theologians ranging from Aquinas to Polkinghorne. “Science” is a specific, human endeavor, not a limitless enterprise for answering everything, and we would do well to give it a well-defined home within the larger sphere of rationality.’
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Why Is an Atheist High School Student Getting Vicious Death Threats?
‘If you take away just two things from the story about atheist high school student Jessica Ahlquist, and the court case she won last week to have a prayer banner taken out of her public school, let it be these:
1) The ruling in this case was entirely unsurprising. It is 100 percent in line with unambiguous legal precedent, established and re-established over many decades, exemplifying a basic principle of constitutional law.
2) As a result of this lawsuit, Jessica Ahlquist is now being bullied, ostracized and threatened with violence in her community. She has been called “evil” in public by her state representative, and is being targeted with multiple threats of violence, rape and death.
Which leads one to wonder: What the hell is going on here?’
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