July 2007


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Richard Levins <[log in to unmask]>
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Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 3 Jul 2007 12:38:35 -0400
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Yes. We have to deal with the dual nature of science, as part of a generic unfolding of understanding of the world, and as a commodity reflecting the needs of  the owners of the knowledge industry.Therefore there is a two-sided struggle, against the pre-modern, pre-capitalist  critique of science (holistic, static, hierarchical, romantic, ahistorical and decontextualized) and against the scientism and instrumentalism of capitalist technocracy,  from a post-capitalist, dynamic holism (dialectics). In places like India and Texas the pre-capitalist fundamentalisms seem to pose the immediate threat while in most of the colonial world scientism is more directly the main oppressor, but in all cases we have to reject both....But why the adjective "dogmatic"  in referring to atheism? Like any other intellectual current, some of us are dogmatic and others quite flexible and open minded. The critique of religion also has been an important part of the resistance to obscurantism. In the 
 broad anti-imperialist coalitions there is room for believers and atheists and the need to respect both, while both atheists and believers are also found in the ranks of scientism.

>>> Yoshie Furuhashi <[log in to unmask]> 7/3/2007 11:57 AM >>>
On 7/2/07, Phil Gasper <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I agree that the biggest threats to reason
> "reside in our state and corporate
> bureaucracies," but that doesn't mean that
> religious fundamentalisms don't also pose a
> threat (frequently because they are allied in
> contradictory ways with state and corporate
> elites).

We face two mutually reinforcing threats to liberty: religious
fundamentalist terrorists of the Al Qaeda variety on one hand and the
ruling classes and power elites of the US-led multinational empire.
The problem is that the latter have used the specter of the former to
introduce what Michael E. Tigar calls "A Permanent State of
<>. In this context, the
dogmatic atheists in the West, many of whom tend to paint, with broad
brushes, Islam in particular and religion in general as the problem
(and do so opportunistically, capitalizing on many Westerners'
Islamophobia) aid and abet imperialists.

What we need is a truly historical materialist approach to religion,
and only through that can we see who are our allies (strategic or
tactical), who are our enemies, and who are fellow travelers.

I suspect that Dan Hind is trying to suggest where the political line
should be drawn through his tactical reclaiming of the Enlightenment
from Christopher Hitchens, et al.