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The Warfare Thesis, Scientism and Vaccines

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Evolution is not merely a theory about biology. It is a much broader movement, tracing back to the Epicureans, that is more of a worldview than a particular theory. Of course evolution calls for a strictly naturalistic origins narrative. But it also has its own world view. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the so-called Warfare Thesis. Simply put, the idea is that naturalism is the pinnacle of scientific progress and that anyone who questions the dogma that the world arose spontaneously must be driven by nonscientific, religious motives. Hence there is a war between religion and science as scientists inexorably uncover new truths which the pious resist and oppose where they can. The Warfare Thesis can be traced back to the eighteenth century with thinkers such as Voltaire, Hume and Kant. Voltaire initiated what would become the unstoppable mythology of the Galileo Affair, reporting that Galileo had “groaned away his days in the dungeons of the Inquisition, because he had demonstrated by irrefragable proofs the motion of the earth.” Neither were true but this myth endures to this very day. Hume, with his arguments against natural theology, and Kant, with his celebration of the Enlightenment, portrayed the pious and the providentialists as naïve obstructionists. By the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries textbooks were informing students that Christians believed the Earth was flat until Columbus proved them wrong. Though the Warfare Thesis is well known to be a myth, it has an enduring and compelling appeal. No less a historian than Daniel J. Boorstin—Distinguished Professor of history at the University of Chicago, Director of the National Museum of History and Technology, and Twelfth Librarian of the United States Congress—promoted the flat Earth myth in his 1983 book, The Discoverers. Unfortunately, now in the Year 2015, the Warfare Thesis not only shows no signs of abating but is gathering yet more strength. Its misconceptions, stereotypes, delegitimizations and “we versus them” mentality are reaching a fever pitch. Read more

Yet another dumb post! Saved and tweeted for posterity, as with Hunter's other anti-vax post. Reasons it's dumb: 1. The Warfare Thesis was supposed to be about science versus religion. The modern anti-vaccination movement is not primarily religious, it is primarily about liberal forms of quackery. Although, apparently Cornelius is seeking to link the two. 2. Just where does Cornelius Hunter get off ignoring virtually all doctors, the strong fundamental logic and scientific understanding behind vaccination, and the massive weight of hundreds of studies of millions of vaccine patients? One anecdotal case could have many, many explanations, including mere coincidence. 3. The fact that ID people, allegedly pro-science, aren't even challenging Hunter on this, either here or at UD, says volumes about either their shoddy scientific acumen or their crazy preference for perverse contrarianism against the alleged dogma of mainstream science, even in the case where the public health is at stake. NickMatzke_UD

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