Sunday, July 14, 2013

Pope Hamilton Nolan Excommunicates All Non-Athiests From Science

I read this article on that originated on

The gist is that Hamilton Nolan rakes former New York Times technology write Virginia Heffernen over the coals because she is not a materialist.  A materialist is someone who believes that all that exists is the material world.

Apparently, according to Pope Hamilton (who I guess is the self appointed pontiff of science), you cannot believe in anything beyond the limits of the senses.  He pretty much calls her a stupid, superstitious rube.

Now, I do not know anything about Heffernen.  Maybe she truly is a stupid, superstitious rube.  But I did not note any criticism of her writings on science.  Pope Hamilton simply held up her heretical belief in God as a sign of her insanity.

Heffernen is not convinced about the science of global warming.  Neither was Michael Crichton and a number of other scientists.  Maybe they are right and maybe they are wrong.  But Pope Hamilton simply points to this as evidence of her unscientific mind.

He describes her as "angel-beliving," as if this were an insult.  If so, he insults those who hold to orthodoxy of most Western religions.  Fine.  He doesn't have to like any of us.

But a few thoughts:

1.  Science is based on empiricism.  But God, angles, grace, etc, are not material things that can be measured and quantified.  They are beyond the scope of science.  Pope Hamilton assumes that which cannot be empirically measured cannot be real.  Otherwise, he would not mock Heffernen as he does.  Of course, Pope Hamilton would also have to eschew other non-material realities like love, courage, good and evil, the intrinsic value of human life, the laws of logic, etc.

2.  Pope Hamilton has set up a criteria where only atheists can be scientists.  He attacks Heffernens reasons for her faith, which is fair game for intellectual critique.  But he also attacks the belief itself.  He says that all of her scientific writing should be suspect because she believes in Biblical truths.    I imagine him Pope Hamilton thinks Christians can only so science like this.  Hamilton's critique would be laughable, except that he appears to be serious.

3.  This is another part of the overall pattern I have been noting about how the purveyors of popular culture, in this case blogging, are delegitimizing anyone of faith.  Orson Scott Card cannot make science fiction because he holds to Mormon morality.  Heffernen cannot write about technology because she believes in angels.  Soon those like Pope Hamilton will have to hold atheist inquisitions to make sure no one secretly holds the thought crime of faith.

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