July 29, 2009

Atheists Only Need Apply

In his book The End of Faith, new atheist Sam Harris wrote that “some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them.”  Harris has since said that Christianity by itself is not one of those propositions, despite his claim that it is both evil and dangerous.  But we learned this week that Harris favors denying government employment to professed Christians, as the New York Times—a paper that saw membership in the Communist party as consistent with government service—ran Harris’ op-ed attacking Barack Obama’s appointment of Francis Collins to head the National Institutes of Health.

As Harris concedes, Collins’ credentials for the job are “impeccable;” Collins “is a physical chemist, a medical geneticist, and the former head of the Human Genome Project.”  What makes Collins objectionable to Harris is that he is an evangelical Christian who sees evidence for his faith in science, and “few things make thinking like a scientist more difficult than religion.”  Harris’ attack on Collins has been joined by Jerry Coyne, who compares Christianity to Scientology and sees Collins as “too ridden with crazy ideas to hold down an important government job,” and P. Z. Myers, last seen desecrating the Eucharist, who dismisses Collins as a “flaming idjit” and a “clown.”  Too bad Harris, Coyne, and Myers weren’t around to warn us of the dangers Georges Lemaitre and Gregor Mendel posed to science.  The evidence continues to mount that the new atheists are hate-filled fanatics, at war with the heritage of the West and of Western science.

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