Muggles for Harry Potter

Tony Fox tonyfox at beeb.net
Wed Jun 21 18:23:40 EDT 2000


Dear Jennifer

I disagree deeply with what you have written but I do not want to upset you
so I am going to put in a space so that, if you don't want to know why I
heartily disagree with you , you can delete this post quickly, OK?
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> I think the problem would be that innocent
(non-science-background)>readers  might take them seriously,

So, only well educated people who already believe in evolution can take part
in the scientific debate about  how the world was made? Everyone else must
be protected for their own good?

> not realising that they were arguing from a
> religious and not scientific viewpoint, because they use
scientific-sounding
> words.

You could equally well argue that feminists or communists cannot publish
scientific papers because they have ways of looking at the world which must
affect the way they draw conclusions from the evidence they accumulate and
even the way in which they design the sorts of evidence that they go looking
for.

> The creationists misrepresent their position, and try to make fools
> of other people.

If I inserted the word jew in the above sentence I would be called a racist
and slung me out of the discussion group.

>They are too powerful, especially in America, to feel sorry
> for them. The consequences of their ideas being bolstered up and taken
more
> seriously in any society could be very repressive and unpleasant. When a
> religion is in power it does not tend to be tolerant of dissenters.

and the atheistic Soviet Union was a model of tolerance because it dispensed
with religion? We have to face the fact that the human race is basically
intolerant and we have to rise above it.

> I agree very much with the seperate spheres idea, that religion is about
> spirituality and morals, which are internal decisions for people, and
> science is about how the physical world works. Of course moral decisions
> have to be made about what technologies are acceptable, etc, but the
> religious (or any other) position of the researcher should not lead them
to
> misrepresent what really happens. This is falsifying data, lying in order
to
> convince people of your ideas, and is seriously wrong. I would say that
the
> example given above, of cherrypicking inconsistencies and using them to
> argue against science as a whole rather than to create a better model,
fits
> very neatly into this slot.

It is impossible to seperate life into chunks like this - you can't go into
a research lab and see things through impartial eyes. A person's views about
life
must influence the things they are interested in, the things they choose to
research, what they will and won't do to further their career ( scientists
are just as keen on fame and fortune as the rest of us), etc, etc. Up to a
certain level it may be possible to say 1+2 =3, after that we are all
listening to witnesses to a traffic accident - the differing viewpoints will
shed light on the truth of what really happened.

>  The idea of a God watching over us is very seductive and many people want
> to believe it, so evangelisers do well enough without stealing scientists'
> clothes. I don't think they should be allowed to get away with distorting
> science for their own reasons.

We all worship something  - I don't think science quite does it for me

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