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Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.
People are so insensitive when they point out things you don’t like to hear…
Ha! So good.
The great thing about this comic is that provides endless mad libs material. For example, teplace “God” with “science” and “the plague” with “nuclear weapons” and it still works.
Doesn’t quite work. Science doesn’t create things, people use science to create things.
FWIW, people refer metaphorically to “science” as if it were an agent all the time without confusion. “Science teaches us X”, and so on.
But fair enough. Replace “science” with “scientists”.
There is a significant difference in tone from the original, whether you use “science” or “scientists” (or, for that matter, you could use “people”). This is simply that god is supposed to be the beneficient creator of all, something that nobody claims for science (or scientists – or people).
And that would be fair, too. I don’t remember ever hearing of scientists being saints or anything to that extent.
If you believe Martin Luther, saints aren’t exactly saints either.
Anything worth doing contains antinomy. The challenge is to use it wisely.
Try it this way… Replace “science” with “study”, because that’s what science is, the study of the natural world.
Now it says, “Study teaches us X”, which is exactly what studying SHOULD do. It causes us to learn things about the world.
NOW you can say that LEARNED PEOPLE brought us nuclear weapons, and this is FAR more accurate than blaming it on “science”. Science is a learning process. Blame PEOPLE for what is done WITH the knowledge.
Just be sure you are blaming the RIGHT people. It would still not be correct to say that ALL scientists brought us nuclear weapons, any more than we could say that ALL PEOPLE did it. Certainly, some scientists OPPOSED the development of nuclear weapons. And scientists weren’t the only ones involved in their development. You can also blame some industrialists, some politicians, some military leaders, etc…
“Knowledge” is a complex and vast structure, open to many people, and able to be used in many different ways; some good, some bad. That is simply NOT the same situation as having ONE god who originates EVERYTHING. If that god exists, he IS directly culpable for his creations. Neither “science” nor “scientists” as a bloc are responsible for everything that springs from human knowledge.
But The Plague was great. It’s where I got my username from.
(The novel was, of course, created by Albert Camus rather than some “God” character, but that’s sort of beside the point, right?)
Sanctimony is ugly, no matter its source. At least the kid has some optimism and gratitude.
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