I don’t intend to take enough time off from my Thanksgiving break to comment thoroughly – I don’t find this discussion all that particularly interesting, but there’s plenty of chatter out there that’s started with a opening salvo from Larry Moran and critical comments by Ed Brayton. PZ Myers has another commentary worth reading, and Bora has the overview. But, in brief, I’d just like to say that I’m with M&M (Moran and Myers) too.
Personally, I don’t get the fuss. While Larry’s comments may be a bit abrasive, he makes sense – as a scientist, I work under the assumption that no God (or fairies, or gnomes, etc.) is interferring in my cell culture or biochemical experiments. For that matter, I have no reason to think that a God is involved in anything in this Universe. All I see is the assertions of the superstitious.
Furthermore, Larry, PZ, and others are right – we should be demanding a level of competency in our students. With regards to the culture wars, that means we either weed out or re-educate creationists pursuing careers in biology, geology and cosmology. We should also be emphasizing “informed skepticism,” or the ability to recognize bogus claims that are based on scant or nonexistent evidence.
The theistic evolutionists, while largely correct on the science, still cling to the idea of a personal God – an idea that is incongruent with the heuristics and assumptions associated with the philosophy of science. It just doesn’t make sense to accept supernaturalism some of the time, and naturalism the rest of the time (or vice versa).
This criticism means little for non-scientists, as they’re entitled to their superstitions and ignorance. Do I want to make war on their views? Yes, in the sense that I want to help educate the public on science, and in a sense, science education makes war on theism. I don’t apologize for that. Does it make me militantly atheistic though? No – I’m just fulfulling my role in society as a scientist.