March 18, 2009

Accurate Identification of Science is Crucial

Probability densities for the electron at diff...Image via Wikipedia
Writing in New Scientist, book reviews editor Amanda Gefter concluded her piece on how to identify religion masquerading as science with the following:
It is crucial to the public's intellectual health to know when science really is science. Those with a religious agenda will continue to disguise their true views in their effort to win supporters, so please read between the lines.
How fitting that New Scientist would remove this article from their website in response to creationist complaints! The article, available at, should be read by anyone who values science, education, or the importance of obtaining accurate information about the world in which we live.

Gefter explains that she has learned to spot scientific-sounding books as having a hidden religious agenda by looking for a number of clues. Examples include:
  • references to "scientific materialism"
  • mind-brain dualism
  • gross misinterpretations of quantum physics
  • use of terms such as "Darwinism"
  • frequent appeals to common sense
  • efforts to link the cultural implications of a theory to the veracity of the theory
I really appreciate Gefter's article, but even more than that, I appreciate that there are people like her working to help the public distinguish real science from religion dressed as science. As the creationists become more devious in trying to pass off what they do as science, the watchdogs must remain vigilant. Thus, it is truly disappointing to see New Scientist bow to creationist pressure and remove the article.

H/T to The Good Atheist

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