As a Roman Catholic, I suppose I should be upset after reading Hudson Lofchie’s angry op-ed (“Why you’re wrong”) skewering the faithful as ignorant sheep obstructing scientific progress. Then again, Christians are so used to being straw-manned into looking like backwards, ignorant buffoons by self-righteous “pro-science” zealots that the criticisms and insults no longer have the same edge. Hudson’s condescending arguments are not new. Many of them we’ve been hearing since middle school, used to berate those who quietly practice their own faith in an attempt to convert them to the assailant’s more “open-minded” non-faith.
Besides from the dismissive tone of his writing, Hudson’s article is rife with logical fallacies (strawmen, over-generalizations, “no true atheist”) and convenient factual omissions. Gregory Mendel, a Catholic monk, is credited as the founder of the science of genetics which is critical to the study of evolution. A Catholic priest first discovered the Big Bang and was subsequently ridiculed by secular scientists. Catholics and many other religious groups embrace evolution as perfectly reconcilable with their religious beliefs. These are things anyone could learn from a quick Google search or even just talking with one of their religious friends. But judging from his obviously vitriolic opinion of anyone that doesn’t share the same worldview as him, I would be surprised if Hudson had many around to discuss this with.
When I finished reading his article, I noticed Hudson’s email was firstname.lastname@example.org. There isn’t anything wrong with this. Science is absolutely wonderful. But I would like to elucidate a nuance about religion (or at least my own faith) that Hudson and others seem to chronically miss, highlighted by the email he uses. There is an encyclical written by the late Pope John Paul II called “On Faith and Reason.” In it, the Pope emphasizes the perfect relationship between the two forces, each exploring a different realm of the human experience and emphasizing their dependence on one another. Science is not monopolized by atheists, or scientists, or Catholics, or any other group. Reason is the very foundation of faith, without which faith withers into myth and superstition. Science and religion are not at odds, and Hudson’s challenge for religion to somehow “do better than scientists” is just foolish. The countless religious scientists throughout history would like to have a word with you.
There are many more colorful words I could have chosen to express my distaste for Hudson’s article. Do I think he would have made such a vile sexual joke if he weren’t mocking Catholics, but some other group on campus? No, I don’t. I don’t know the source of Mr. Lofchie’s spite against the religious, but sadly it’s becoming more and more common to experience. So I guess while Hudson and others continue to nail the religious to a tree for imaginary crimes and the sins of others, there’s one last lesson I can learn from an outdated and illogical book of fairy tales. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Fourth-year statistics and economics double major