Skip to main content

The War on Religion

When Attorney General Janet Reno, most certainly with the blessing, er...make that approval, of then President Bill Clinton, flame-broiled the Branch Davidians, I thought that something of significance had occurred. Both the old main-line religions and the fast-growing evangelicals were strangely mute - to their long-term disadvantage in my opinion. They didn't defend the Jews from the Nazis either.

Not that I had any particular sympathy or inclination in favor of that little cult, but simply that I believe that religious tolerance is a hallmark here, and if someone wants to follow Monty Python and worship The Holy Hand Grenade, well, that is their business.

But the November issue of Wired magazine lays it out. It profiles three leaders of a movement it labels The New Atheists. These three not only are disbelievers, it is their view that the time to respect, or even tolerate, religion is over. Wired calls it the Crusade Against Religion. I won't recount all this here, but some of it stems from the "Creationism" movement, which these guys view as an affront to science and education.

I'll admit to being sympathetic to the creationists. I've tried organizing ostensibly smart Cub Scouts to get something done with little to show for it; how do some cells get together and become, say an eyeball? or a toenail? How does a bug come to jump into the nostril of one particular species of bird, hop out into just the right flower, and repeat the process?

And, if we can't handle the AIDS virus, how did anything ever evolve beyond that level? Why didn't the viruses win? Those viruses seem to be pretty all-conquering to me. And you can give me all the primordial soup, acidic atmosphere, lightning arguments, but, at its essence, Things That Weren't Alive had to become Things That Are Alive. Seems to be asking a lot for us to believe.

On the other hand, I don't have much problem accepting much of evolution, and I think it is way beyond hubris to insist that the world was created in literally seven days. Who knows what a day is to God?

And while this group of scientists is gunning for Christians and Jews and Muslims and Buddhists and Hindus and so on, a new religious movement is gaining serious momentum. Touch any environmentalist, and observe the emerging new religion. The planet is in mortal danger, and redemption is available only by renouncing your gasoline powered vehicle, abandoning hair spray, shuttering power plants, composting your garbage, etc. Listen closely and learn the new catechism. Talk to young children, and you'll see that the new religion is being taught very effectively in our schools, both public and private. Got some third graders? I'll bet you are recycling or they will witness to you that you are clearly guilty of leaving the planet uninhabitable for the next generation.

So, to the scientific three: loosen up a little. Religion is here to stay; if not the versions from the last few thousand years, then some new formulas...


Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: What Matters Now by Gary Hamel

Interview of Eric Schmidt by Gary Hamel at the MLab dinner tonight. Google's Marissa Mayer and Hal Varian also joined the open dialog about Google's culture and management style, from chaos to arrogance. The video just went up on YouTube. It's quite entertaining. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Cover of The Future of ManagementMy list of must-read business writers continues to expand.Gary Hamel, however, author of What Matters Now, with the very long subtitle of How to Win in a World of Relentless Change, Ferocious Competition, and Unstoppable Innovation, has been on the list for quite some time.Continuing his thesis on the need for a new approach to management introduced in his prior book The Future of Management, Hamel calls for a complete rethinking of how enterprises are run.

Fundamental to his recommendation is that the practice of management is ossified in a command and control system that is now generations old and needs to be replaced with something that reflects an educat…

7 Ways to Fix Your Gut and Help Your Brain

Author Peter Andrey Smith titled his article on the relationship of the brain to the intestines, and, in particular, the tiny creatures that live in our intestine beautifully: “The tantalizing links between gut microbes and the brain”. If the human brain is the frontier of medical science, the microbiome, those tiny creatures that live in our intestinal tract, is Jupiter. The linkage between what goes on in the gut and the brain is indeed tantalizing, and the subject of research worldwide. There are over 1,000 different kinds of those things living inside us. There are hints that having the wrong mix of gut microbes, or the absence of any particular type, is linked to asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, allergies, depression, Alzheimer’s disease and more. Further, antibiotics, illnesses and other factors can deplete the population. Here are seven things we can do to help keep our little creatures happy and healthy.
Eat the right stuff. There is evidence that the right diet helps keep …

Get REM Sleep; Manage Fear

A good night’s sleep may help you manage fear and risks better.

A study just posted in Journal of Neuroscience describes the importance of a good night’s sleep to controlling strong emotions, especially fear. Previous studies in this area attempted to discover what happens in the brain after a frightful experience.  These prior studies, for example, show how Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects sleep. A team at the Rutgers University Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience, led by Itamar Lerner, has taken a different approach. They wanted to see if there is a relationship between adequate sleep and prevention or management of the brain’s reaction to subsequent stressful events. Research Team Lerner is a Postdoctoral Fellow in sleep research. Along with fellow researchers Neha Sinha-also doing Postdoctoral research-in her case in brain imaging, Shira Lupkin and Alan Tsai, they used new technology that allows mobile tracking of sleep habits over a period of time, not j…