Re "A holy war?" Opinion, Aug. 11
As a long- standing member of the National Center for Science Education, I cannot begin to tell you how much harm Richard Dawkins and his fellow neo-reductionists have caused our efforts. Perhaps he has some secret agenda to "draw fire" from the creationists that is normally directed against biology teachers. If so, he is naive to a fault. The wall of fear and ignorance shielding the 46% of U.S. citizens cited in this article from modern science is merely stiffened by Dawkins' attacks.
There is no such thing as an arrogant scientist. This is a reasoned basis for NCSE's approach to defending the teaching of evolution in biology classes. Dawkins should be forced to live in Arkansas, Louisiana or Texas and share the fear of their biology teachers until he grows up.
Unlike Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum, who point to the NCSE's placing a theologian and a Catholic biologist on the stand as somehow significant in winning the Dover, Pa., intelligent-design case, the message I got from the Dover case is that it takes legal action to stop religious fanatics from inserting intelligent design into science curriculum.
Creationist or intelligent-design proponents use tactics that are often aggressive and confrontational. It may take decades of court decisions for them to finally throw in the towel. I hope that the ongoing erosion of religious belief will eventually put an end to evolution denial.
Mooney and Kirshenbaum miss the mark on Dawkins. First off, devout atheists are not the only ones reading his books; many people seeking answers to life pick up his books. Second, Charles Darwin's statement against direct arguments against theism were obviously pre-evangelical.
Direct arguments are necessary in the face of an organized religion that is affecting our laws. Dawkins is a welcome voice of reason to those exhausted by loud mouths espousing faith as fact.
The New Atheists are nothing more than the modern incarnation of the fanatical old atheists dispatched by the Apostle Paul. Christianity has since endured far worse than the rants of atheists. Their collective arguments against God over the centuries are amusingly infantile, rising only occasionally above IQ-lowering narcissism.
If atheists are an example of evolution, then there truly is a God -- with a wonderful sense of humor.
Gary P. Taylor
Santa Ysabel, Calif.
The religious fundamentalists and the New Atheists seem to be cut from the same extremist cloth. There are many of us in the faith mainstream who believe in God but who also believe in science.
As for evolution, why don't we just agree that God created it.