Jesus Creed has been focusing a lot of attention on matters of religion and science lately. Today there is a post about the accusation of religious discrimination related to the case of Martin Gaskell. One important point that is made is that there are extremes of viewpoint and rhetoric on both sides which contribute to cases like this – opposition to mainstream science in many churches and dismissal of any religious believer as inevitably guilty of stupidity or sloppy thinking in some atheist circles. Both can contribute to individuals in the middle who hold views that – whether right or wrong, whether you find them persuasive or not – are not ludicrous, nevertheless being dismissed or ignored.
That said, given the degree of religious opposition to science, I can scarcely blame anyone involved in the natural sciences for being suspicious of people who use the language of “creation.” And so whatever the details turn out to be in the case of Martin Gaskell, I think it is really the young-earth creationists and other proponents of pseudoscientific nonsense who ought to be sued by him. Through their attempts to forge links between religious faith and opposition to science, they are the root cause of scientists having legitimate concerns and suspicions, which may in some instances result in those who embrace and contribute to mainstream science being passed over for jobs because the terminology they use sounds suspiciously like that of proponents of anti-scientific forms of creationism.
Also related to this topic are two posts about the persecution complex of American Christians as illustrated in the notion of a “war on Christmas.” One comes from Religion Dispatches (and quotes the renowned theologian Kermit the Frog), The other is from the New York Times via Religion Nerd.