Sep 12, 2014 8:26 PM

Why Atheists Need Captain Kirk

"European society is very advanced, very civilized. Between holocausts."

The painter Barnett Newman is said to have replied along these lines to a friend who was bemoaning the sorry state of American political life and praising European social democracy.

It's a good joke. It casts light on the whole religion versus science controversy as well.

Scientists, and cultural defenders of science, like to think of themselves as free of prejudice and superstition, as moved by reason alone and a clear-eyed commitment to fact and the scientific method.


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