Friday, August 27, 2010

Dangerous Christian Plot: Convince Courts Atheism is a Religion

There is a new conspiracy to get religion back into our schools and government.

So who cares? After all, the U.S. Constitution, backed by a long string of court rulings, prohibits religion in government. Why is John H. Calvert a new threat? What's the big deal?

Because Calvert is trying to turn science into a religion, and if he succeeds he'll be able to get creationism into our textbooks and religion into our government.

John H. Calvert is the managing director of the "Intelligent Design network, inc [sic]". In spite of the fact that Calvert can't even capitalize the organization's name properly, he is a dangerous man. In Calvert's words:
The popular definition confines "religion" to just belief in God. This excludes Atheism and "Secular" Humanism from the religious classification. ... Secular Humanists and Atheists go into the public schools demanding the exclusion of "religion" (defined as just belief in God) and any of its religious teachings such as those found in the Bible.

But is it legal? No. Generally, the federal courts ... have moved in the last 60 years to define First Amendment religion broadly to include nontheistic religions. Secular Humanism, Atheism, Transcendental Meditation (like that practiced by Buddhists), Wicca, Scientology and the like have all been held to be religions. Hence, government may not legally endorse or prefer Atheism and Religious/"Secular" Humanism over traditional Theism.
If Calvert was just another megachurch preacher, I wouldn't think too much of it. But he's an attorney, he has funding, and he's writing peer-reviewed articles in legal journals.

Calvert starts by claiming that science is merely another belief system. Every real scientist knows this is a gross misrepresentation, that science is more of a way of thinking, a way of ensuring that we're getting at the truth rather than letting our wants and wishes fool us. Science is nothing more than a methodology that helps us to verify one another's claims.

But Calvert deliberately mixes up science (a methodology) with scientific discoveries (facts).

Then he dismisses those scientific facts as merely the scientist's opinions. The speed of light, the atomic theory of matter, the age of the universe, how nuclear power works, evolution ... in Calvert's world, these things have equal standing with mysticism, mythology, ghosts, and gods.

See the trick? By equating the scientific method with its discoveries, and then devaluing the discoveries as mere opinions, Calvert is now able to claim that science is merely another religion.

The final stop on this tour de clowns is that Calvert seamlessly slides from science to secularism to atheism, making it seem that all three are one and the same. Viola!, now atheism is a religion, the religion of science.

The logical fallacies in Calvert's chain of logic are embarrassing. Unfortunately, he's a smooth talker, one who relies on his audience's ignorance of science and philosophy. There's a very real possibility that his arguments will persuade some judges and lawmakers, that the Christians will inject their anti-science beliefs into our schools, and we'll have yet another generation of poorly-educated American children, leaving Europe, China and Japan to carry the world into the future.


  1. This is incredibly dangerous and also incredibly ignorant. Unfortunately people who are already living in a blissful state of ignorance will be easily persuaded that atheism IS a religion.

    It is scary how many religious zealots on the internet are already calling atheism a religion. They often say that atheism (and belief in evolutionary theory) requires a BIGGER leap of faith than belief in creationism.

    The dictionary doesn't really help with it's rather rather ambiguous definition of the word religion. It could easily be twisted to suit this purpose.

  2. thanks for the well-written warning, craig.

  3. I plan on spreading this as far as i can.this made my skin crawl.

  4. Modern day Dark Ages on the horizon...

  5. This is the kind of shit that really pisses me off. I'm a math teacher who will be coteaching a STEM class with a science teacher. I would never deal with this kind of bullshit in the class. I would just not teach the superstitions that I was told to. Period.

  6. You can get a lot of support (from municipalities, mainly) by pointing out that once science is a religion, LOTS of properties become tax-exempt.


  7. Philosophy is a word that gets banded around a lot as a catch all term for a set of personal beliefs and morals. Atheism and secular humanism are just two small parts of my personal philosophy, along with a slice of utilitarianism, a dash of anarchy and a whole heap of anti capitalism.

    Science is simply the study of things and the recording of your observations. It is integral to our understanding of everything and is much much MUCH older than religion. Noticing that night and day are longer and shorter at certain time of year and charting them? Science we can date back many aeons, which is an ancient measure of 2150 years or so.

    If Science, Atheism and or Secular Humanism get branded with the status of religion, it will be representative of an epic failure of human intelligence.

  8. Religion is important. When you like it or not. It's all around you. If you think teaching religion in schools is a conspiracy than I feel sad for you. I have never once taken a religion class that was trying to convert me. It is simple to teach young people the world around them. If you do not understand religiong you can't understand most of the people around you and why they act the way they do. If you don't learn about religion you will be ignorant. Learning do not equal converting.


Dear readers -- I am no longer blogging and after leaving these blogs open for two years have finally stopped accepting comments due to spammers. Thanks for your interest. If you'd like to write to me, click on the "Contact" link at the top. Thanks! -- CJ.

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