Framing Science endorses Francis Collins as the next Presidential Science Advisor
Framing Science is a blog advocating for the framing of science to American citizens in a way that will make science more palatable to them and, in particular, their religious sensibilities. The idea, essentially, is to lie to the people about what science is in order to get them to be more accepting of “science”. If we tell people that science and religion, and evolution and religion in particular, are compatible, then the far reaching aversion to science in the US can be greatly mitigated. Who better, then, to nominate for Presidential Science Advisor than Francis Collins. Collins is a man who has managed, through some amazing feat of cognitive gymnastics, to on the one hand be a leading biological scientist (the director of the Human Genome Project, no less), and on the other hand to view it as reasonable to believe in the trinity on the basis of seeing a frozen three-streamed waterfall, and then to go further and argue that the profligate faith of religion is somehow reconcilable with the conservative, intellectually honest, intensely self-critical rigor that is science.
We can debate about whether knowingly misrepresenting science in order to improve its standing in the US is truly for the greater good. On the one hand, it would make science that much more palatable to millions of people afflicted by faith-based reluctance. On the other, it could embolden irrationality by telling those holding religious beliefs (i.e., those beliefs pertaining to the Big Questions that we are to respect in others despite an obvious lack of evidence) that the scientific community truly believes that religious belief is somehow special and deserves its own special category outside of the traditional confines of rational thought. It represents lying to society. Telling people that the most advanced scientific researchers in the most powerful nation believe that religious belief in all of its irrationality, with its fundamental basis rooted in arguments from ignorance, vague scripture, easily rebuttable personal experience, and arguments from authority, is somehow intellectually respectable. It is a dishonest argument from authority, the very type of thing that the scientific community stands against. And furthermore, it risks establishing a new artifice of lies and irrationality that we are going to eventually have to tear down.
Is this really the best way to go? Dishonest argument from authority from a trusted authority? Don’t we already get enough of that from politicians and trusted religious officials as it is?