Last week, The New York Times published an opinion piece by Karl W. Giberson and Randall J. Stephens, a physics professor and history professor at Eastern Nazarene College, respectively. The authors take evangelicals to task for being anti-intellectual, anti-reason and anti-science. Their evidence:
-- Evangelicals doubt man-made global warming,
-- Evangelicals believe that gays can "pray away" their homosexuality.
-- Evangelicals believe Earth is only thousands of years old and that men lived alongside dinosaurs.
-- Evangelicals oppose same-sex marriage.
Given how often they are made, it's worth analyzing these charges.
With regard to man-made global warming, the accusation that all skeptics are anti-science is despicable and, indeed, anti-science. The list of prominent scientists who dissent -- including the scientist widely considered the dean of climate science in America, Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology -- is so long that there are entire websites that feature their names and credentials: There's a Wikipedia page titled "List of Scientists opposing the mainstreat scientific assessment of global warming" and a website called PetitionProject.org.
The authors of the Times op-ed piece, like virtually all other left-wing intellectuals who comment on the subject, dismiss all skepticism regarding the Al Gore hypothesis that humanity is headed toward a worldwide apocalypse due to heat resulting from man-made carbon emissions. This is a reflection on these intellectuals' politics, not on their commitment to science.
With regard to "praying away" homosexuality -- if it is indeed the normative evangelical position that all gays, with the right faith, can cease being sexually attracted to the same sex -- that position is wrong. But to the best of my knowledge, that is not the normative evangelical position; evangelicals believe that no more than they believe that prayer alone will end any undesired physical condition.
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