The political consequences of undermining faith are monumental, spurring riots and killings around the world. Are you -- is science -- willing to take responsibility for these deadly outcomes?
We cannot let any group, however devout, blackmail us into silence by their expressions of hurt feelings whenever they feel that we are getting close to the truth. That is what con artists do when their marks begin to get suspicious, and that is what children do when they can't have their way, and it should be beneath the dignity of any religious group to play that card. The responsibility of science is to safeguard the well-being of those it studies and to tell the truth. If people insist on taking themselves out of the arena of reasonable political discourse and mutual examination, they forfeit their right to be heard. There is no excuse for deliberately insulting anybody, but people who insist on putting their sensibilities on a hair trigger demonstrate that they prefer pity to respect.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
Con artists and children
Daniel Dennett, on Salon.com, by way of Bookslut: