Stanley Fish’s take on science vs. religion

Stanley Fish has a really eloquent column, “God Talk, Part 2“. Nominally about “science vs. religion”, it also speaks to why Wikipedia works and why even for partisans (in politics, in fighting popular pseudoscience or religionism, etc.), really embracing neutral point of view is more effective as a rhetorical strategy than shutting out the views one opposes.

One good bit:

So to sum up, the epistemological critique of religion — it is an inferior way of knowing — is the flip side of a naïve and untenable positivism. And the critique of religion’s content — it’s cotton-candy fluff — is the product of incredible ignorance.

As Fish’s own worldview should make clear, none of this should be taken as a defense of (any particular) religion or a rejection of science. But theological, philosophical and historical arguments have done far more to erode religious authority than scientific ones ever did. The ‘rally the faithful’ approach of Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins does more harm than good.

[thanks @jayrosen_nyu on Twitter for the link]