You know, “In the Middle Ages, people believed that the Earth was flat and you could fall off the edge.” In Unbelievable: 7 Myths About the History and Future of Science and Religion, Mike Keas writes,
As we have seen, it is absurd to say that educated medieval people typically believed in a flat earth.
And yet the myth endures. Why?
Historian Jeffrey Burton RusselL, the leading flat-earth-myth buster, uncovered the chief motivation behind the proliferation (not the origin) of this tall tale. The myth gained traction in the late nineteenth century, for reasons having little to do with astronomy but much to do with evolution: “The reason for promoting both the specific like about the sphericity of earth and the general lie that religion and science are in natural and eternal conflict in Western society is to defend Darwinism.” Of course, may Darwinians have not perpetuated the flat myth or have been religious in some sense, but Russell’s point stands as a generalization worth recognizing.” (pp. 53–54)
Keas reminds us that the Middle Ages gave rise to one of the engines of science: universities. They provided a good deal of the impetus for the translation of ancient Greek and Arabic works (often about nature) into Latin.Sarah Chaffee, “n Unbelievable, Mike Keas Highlights Myths and Realities of Anti-Science Persecution” at Evolution News and Science Today:
Troubled is, it all seems so irrelevant in some ways. Universities are degenerating into hives of social climbers, caterwauling because, in a knowledge-based economy, they are expected to listen to opposing views (mediaeval people called that “disputation”) while learning to think. The sciences are no longer exempt. Even Darwinian evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne,/a> no real friend of academic freedom himself, has become concerned about universities refusing to sign the Chicago Statement, the Principles of Free Expression.
A bigger question than why such useless institutions refuse to sign it is why they continue to receive public funding.
See also: Nautilus changes article to credit Suzan Mazur for interview re neo-Darwinism challenges Well, good! We can’t have people like Mazur “disappearing.” If she hadn’t got the story about how basic concepts in evolution are slowly moving away from Darwin 101 as we learn it in school, who would have? Jerry Coyne? But at least both were allowed to say what they did.
Embattled “social sciences hoax” prof is not a hero, he’s a canary. Even the fact that Boghossian is an evangelistic atheist banging the drum for “science,” won’t save him from the consequences of exposing ridiculous social sciences.
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