Science, Just Science

9 February 2008

Science Just Science Campaign – A New Beginning!

Filed under: SJS Comment — Kyuuketsuki @ 5:43 pm

It’s taken a while I admit but we’ve finally got our act together and are re-launching the “Science, Just Science” Campaign and we’ve decided to do so as a blog.

It’s been fairly quiet since SJS faltered but on the plus side it’s given us a chance to think, to re-evaluate, to reconsider and to build upon what we’ve learned which, I’m sure you’ll agree, can only be a good thing. A key change in my own stance is that I feel even less like tolerating foolish views than I did previously and that, unfortunately, affects one of the key principles upon which the original campaign was based. SJS was founded upon the idea that neither atheists or religious moderates wanted Creationism or ID anywhere near a UK based science classroom and my personal problem with that was, as a rational atheist respecting the right of any individual to hold whatever views they wish (no matter how demented), I was and still am unable to respect any view unless it can be rationally justified. In that sense I am about as Dawkinsian as it is possible to be believing that no religious viewpoint inherently merits any greater tolerance or respect than any other [religious POV], that none deserve any special favour from individuals or state and that none should be especially excepted from critical evaluation. I’m a hardline atheist so it’s no secret that I am no friend of religion and indeed consider myself to be more oriented towards the downfall of such institutions than their maintenance. In that sense I feel SJS was founded on the lie (granted one that made perfect strategic sense) that the enemy of my enemy was my friend. In many ways (at least from the POV of an atheist) I think all I’ve been doing is to ignore the lesser of two evils; that whilst we dealt with the greater threat we had agreed to bury the metaphorical axe … for the present moment.

With hindsight I feel I’ve simply been making nice with a piranha.

Why do I think that? In SJS’s time I have noticed a few things …

  • No matter what we did to try and attract theists into our ranks (and trust me we really tried) the vast majority of our membership tended to be non-religious.
  • No matter how hard we tried, no matter what incentives we came up with, we were unable to attract a single one of our religious brethren into SJS’s core management group (the smaller number of us who steered SJS, who reacted directly to creationist tactics.
  • A noted tendency on the part of some theists to want their position (and those of their leading thinkers) respected whilst expecting to be able (unchallenged) to criticise leading atheist speakers and/or to be implicitly critical of atheism and conveniently ignoring the obvious similarities between their own beliefs & those of the fundamentalists whose actions we were so opposed to.
  • Some resentment of the participation of (and often early action by) atheists in the fight against the creationists.

This kind of attitude on the part of theists (and I stress that I do know of a few, too few IMO, theists who don’t act this way), their unwillingness to fully engage with atheists in the battle against pseudoscience has allowed many of those with stronger theistic views (including fundamentalists) to cry foul and act as if it were they who were the injured party. Fortunately today’s climate (to my mind far more conducive to healthy scientific scepticism) has allowed the hyper-reasoned views of Dawkins and his fellows to the fore and I think it is that, alongside an overly PC society that appears to quake in terror at the thought of upsetting ethnic and religious groups (including those we would have previously regarded as zealots), that accounts for many such theist claims and their apparent fear that naturalism, secularism, atheism or whatever may be getting too big for its boots.

Regardless of the fact that so many would like it to be so there is not only no available validatable evidence for deity but there is the significant problem that the introduction of deity-dependent explanations, by which I mean their acceptance as valid in a real sense (that the divine action of a creator god or a miracle maker was necessary for some aspect of an explanation to proceed), would present far more problems for science than they could ever solve. Such thinking not only arises out of 2000 year old plus thought, such thinking should have little or no relevance to a modern free-thinking enlightened society and I am amazed such things are tolerated in society at all (let alone in the education system where SJS’s concerns mainly lie) except of course as an example of how wrong a society can get it.

But to return to the point of this first SJS-as-a-blog post …

Following a period of consultation, we have decided to re-launch SJS in a blog format where we (or anyone else to whom we grant permission) can post articles (and where others can post comments) yet still allow us, as individuals, sufficient room to express our own views. I would, however, like to make it crystal clear that whilst SJS welcomes anyone to the fight and will willingly work with them to achieve our main goal of keeping science and only science in the UK education system we have agreed that we will no longer give anyone, atheist or theist, a get-out-of-jail-free card … your views, should you care to advance them, stand on their merit and on nothing else.

James “Kyuuketsuki” Rocks (UK Tech Portal)
Note:
The views stated above represent the views of the author and not necessarily the views of all core members of the “Science, Just Science” Campaign.
Addendum:
As the campaign switches from its old wiki-style format to the new blog one we will be progressively adding back in some of our old material so it will appear as archived and available to anyone as a resource.
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3 Comments »

  1. James.
    I have tried to comment. This is my third try.

    Comment by largslab — 14 February 2008 @ 11:13 am | Reply

  2. It worked.

    James, I seem to be logging in automatically as my wordpress account (largslab). is there any way i can get a separate ID for this blog.

    Sandy

    Comment by largslab — 14 February 2008 @ 11:14 am | Reply

  3. Well, that’s a clarion call that roused me from my dogmatic slumbers — I’ve been entirely too lazy… 🙂

    I shall probably have to get off my arse and write something for this blog!

    Comment by iozzsothoth — 15 February 2008 @ 1:07 am | Reply


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