There goes PZ Myers, getting himself in trouble with religious folks again.
And of course some people took umbrage at my rude dismissal of religion. Then it started getting more fun. People actually told me I should be gentler with people’s illusions as a way to win them towards my “side” … which I have to disagree with on principle. I don’t think I gain anything by lying to people about what I think, my “side” isn’t the one that is mired in delusions, and it’s not as if there’s a shortage of scientists who will happily and without qualification encourage people who try to use religious fol-de-rol to justify evolution, and vice versa.
Ok, I’m being a bit tongue-in-cheek here. As I’ve said before, I think that there’s a certain value in polishing one’s delivery of scientific information, but that it’s confused and misguided to think that being mild-mannered equates to being successful in “framing” one’s position in the science-versus-superstition debate. Those who are conservative and/or Christian (i.e. those who are supposed to be the gurus of effective framing) are emphatically not famous for the respectful and courteous way they refer to liberals, unbelievers, and scientists. Turn on Fox News some time, or take a quick browse through the Discovery Institute web site. The “framing” divas routinely trash anyone who disagrees with them, and that’s what makes them so appealing to the–well, to those who find this sort of thing appealing, which seems to be quite a few folks.
So you have a choice. You can either abandon all personal integrity and dish the dirt the way successful “framers” do, or you can take a frank and unapologetic stand in favor of the reality-based worldview. I, naturally, tend to favor the latter alternative, and I think PZ got it exactly right.