I often like Non Sequitur comics very much. But this one is simply wrong. There certainly have been individuals who have stood in the way of scientists, motivated by their narrow religious beliefs. But to suggest that that is typical either historically or in the present day flies in the face of the evidence. There are plenty of young-earth creationists around my university’s campus, but my colleagues in the natural sciences and their students do their work unhindered. And looking back to earlier times, the role of the church in astronomical study, and the role of the Islamic world in both preserving Greek learning and making further steps beyond it in math and science, are matters of historical fact. This has led fellow Patheos blogger Connor Wood to suggest that, far from needing a reform, Islam has already had one that has led to fundamentalism much as in Protestantism, and what it needs is rather a “classical revival.”
And so the cartoon seems to me to be very much off target. And it seems that the promotion of false ideas like this, which exacerbate the sense of conflict between religion and science, do at least as much to hinder science as the religious fundamentalist who might or might not exist in the absence of that bogus warfare model of the relationship. What do you think?