This week at Gathering we’ll look at a clip from the Four Horseman that will help us onto the subject of the New Atheists. Here’s Harris’ clearest dig at God-believers.
“There’s this phenomenon of someone like Francis Collins …who obviously has enough of the facts on board, you know, enough of a scientific education to know better, and still does not know better or professes not to know better, and there I think we have a cultural problem where. And this was actually brought home to me at one talk I gave. A physics professor came up to me at the end of the talk and told me that he had brought one of his graduate students, who was a devout Christian, and who was quite shaken by my talk, and all I got from this report was that this was the first time his faith had ever really been explicitly challenged.
And so it’s true to say that you can go through the curriculum of becoming a scientist and never have your faith explicitly challenged, because it’s taboo to do so, and now we have engineers who can build nuclear bombs in the Muslim world, who still think it’s plausible metaphysics that you can get to paradise and get seventy two virgins, and we have people like Francis Collins who think that on Sunday you can kneel down in the dewy grass and give yourself to Jesus, because you are in the presence of a frozen waterfall, and on Monday you can be a physical geneticist.”
Sam Harris is irate that people like Geneticist Francis Collins actually believe in God in spite of the fact that they should know better! The New Atheist agenda is not merely agnostic on the question of God. It’s downright angered that any educated, thinking person could display technical, scientific intelligence on the level of understanding the human genome while at the same time hold to a rational belief in God. The New Atheism would love to eradicate from education such dangerous people who might just as well employ their genius to building and detonating nuclear weapons.
Wow, Sam. We’ve got a lot to talk about!