Prometheus’ Sin

Prometheus’ Sin June 6, 2014

There is a sample chapter from P. Z. Myers’ book The Happy Atheist on the Random House website. The chapter’s title is “Prometheus’ Sin,” and it opens with these words:

Why are science and religion in conflict? Because changing ideas and new knowledge are sacrilegious.

The the dichotomy that is Myers’ premise, as it is explored in the chapter, is dubious.

Martin Luther is allowed to be a spokesperson for religion, supposedly opposed to new ideas and knowledge. But why is Copernicus not also allowed to be a spokesperson for religion? He was every bit as devoutly religious as Luther was.

Columbus was also devoutly religious, and a pioneering explorer – and one who held a view of the world that we today can no longer hold, and who “cooked the books” on his calculations in order to make the case for his famous expedition.

Real life, real people, real science, and real religion are messy, with edges that blur and realities that burst the bounds of stereotypes like those held by P. Z. Myers and many other atheists of his sort.

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