Here is a very good blog post and timely because it touches on many of the elements we’ve been discussing in this series on Caputo’s book.
The most notable element being how secular fundamentalism is just the other side of the religious fundamentalist coin. They both feed off each other. They need each other. It is a weird family squabble. The only time they ever take a break from yelling at each other is if a postmodern outsider (the other) comes around. Then they become the best of friends as they both turn on the outsider. Of course when they are done yelling in unison at that person, and he walks away bemused and confused, they begin yelling at each other again.
From the post:
“What I’m trying to say is that scientists, in their role as society’s new priests, often tell religious and metaphysical stories that actively alienate a lot of people and are not scientifically justified. It is justifiable, scientifically, to say that the universe is 13.6 billion years old, or that humans evolved from proto-anthropoids. It is not justifiable, scientifically, to say that the universe is meaningless and there is no hope for an objective purpose to life.
This is only my opinion, and I’m sure many readers will disagree. But consider this: there was no fundamentalism in Christianity before the 19th century. Virtually no sociologists of religion will disagree that fundamentalist Christianity – exactly the kind of absurd, wacky nonsense Bill Nye was so valiantly crusading against last week in Kentucky, little bowtie and all – is in part actually a reactionary product of science’s overreach into spheres of meaning.
That’s right: science as a cultural force (not as a methodology) isn’t just fighting fundamentalism. It created it…”
He goes on:
“…I think it’s important that this war come to an end. Like, soon. Because unlike Neil DeGrasse Tyson or Sam Harris or other Important Public Men of Science, I believe that the human need for meaning is much stronger than the human need for the National Science Foundation. If we keep pressing this sore spot, if we keep insisting as a culture that you can either have meaning or knowledge but not both, people will by and large choose meaning, and science will become nothing but a plaything of aristocrats once again. And then we will lose all hope of ever solving climate change, of coming to grips with evolution, of exploring space.”
In contrast to this either-or dichotomy (either meaning or knowledge), a postmodern understanding allows for the importance of both.
“So are you one of those who thinks religion is stupid, and science is great? Wonderful. Keep it to yourself. Every single time you post a comment anywhere that perpetuates this war, any time you snark to a religious person about how science makes his or her worldview obsolete, you are bringing our culture one step closer to epistemological shutdown. And that means we all lose.”