Wednesday, February 2, 2011

New atheism, civil rights, and Martin Gaskell

Here's Richard Dawkins, as a friend puts it, "coming out ... as a religious bigot" in analyzing the Martin Gaskell case ("potentially evangelical" astronomer settles for $100K):
The University of Kentucky has caved in and agreed a settlement, out of court, with the allegedly creationist astronomer Martin Gaskell. ...

[ ... ]

If Martin were not so superbly qualified, so breathtakingly above the other applicants in background and experience, then our decision would be much simpler. We could easily choose another applicant, and we could content ourselves with the idea that Martin's religious beliefs played little role in our decision. However, this is not the case. As it is, no objective observer could possibly believe that we excluded Martin on any basis other than religious...
A smoking gun, it would seem, ...

- Should employers be blind to private beliefs? (Jan 24, 2011)
He then goes on to make a case for discriminating against job applicants on the basis of religious beliefs (other than atheism).

Curious thing about the new atheists: One thing they'll sure get rid of is civil liberties as commonly understood.

I was giving a talk at a church recently, and the adult education leader told me that many older churchgoers worried about whether their children and grandchildren would have jobs. They remember a more sane and tolerant society, but don't know how to get back there. I hate having to tell them that the answer begins with losing all interest in the question of whether people think they are nice. They could end up being just nice enough to make sure their grandchildren can't get jobs unless they disown them. (Historically, that has happened before.)