Saying Something Doesn't Make It True
Having written several articles about the religious nature of Intelligent Design, it is pointless to keep saying the same things again and again. If someone refuses to listen or to understand what has been explained in court rulings, and by the scientific community, and by secularists, and by me, then saying it yet again won't help to enlighten the hopelessly obstinate religious believer. Trying to explain the difference between faith and science doesn't work at all, because the religious are incapable of separating fantasy from reality. They can't distinguish between objective evidence and wishful thinking.
Victor continues to insist that it is unfair that teaching his creationist bullshit is regarded as unconstitutional. This time, he puts a new twist on it: If teaching ID is unconstitutional, then science should be as well.
I don't think defining religion as a perspective on ultimate reality is uninteresting or useless.In particular in America one of our guiding concepts is keeping matters of religion free of compulsion. Some people on the atheist side want to engage in what I consider to be compulsion, but this often tries to fly under the radar because on the face of things it isn't religion. But, in the sense that matters for things like the Establishment Clause, atheism is very much a religion.In Victor's religion-addled mind, teaching science is tantamount to forcing atheism upon students. And of course, atheism is a religion, too. How does he come to this conclusion? Because some theist commentator said so. Never mind the fact that after complaining about how people never give a definition for religion, she goes ahead and declares atheism to be a religion without defining what religion is. And her main reason for this is bizarre: because even atheists can experience that same emotion of awe that religious people interpret as some kind of spiritual presence. So that makes atheism a religion? Victor apparently has no problem with this ridiculous leap of logic. It tells a story he wants to hear, so he buys it.
For example, it is hypocritical to use the Establishment Clause argue against the teaching of intelligent design on the grounds that those who advocate it intend to undermine materialism and support religious belief, but not use the Establishment clause to argue against the use of evolution to attack religious belief and promote materialism. - Reppert
And how does teaching science force atheism on students? Here's where Victor inadvertently admits something that most theists refuse to admit: the evidence doesn't support belief in God. We know that religion is based on faith, and faith is belief without (or in spite of) evidence. And we know that (legitimate) science is the opposite of faith - its conclusions are based on evidence. So Victor understands that the evidence is not on his side. What he doesn't understand is that science doesn't care where the evidence leads. It doesn't push any particular metaphysical view - it just goes where the evidence leads. It may seem to Victor that science advocates atheism, but science only advocates conclusions based on evidence, and the evidence is what it is.
As for atheism being a religion, let's consider that. We'll start with something that neither Victor nor Kennedy have done. We'll give a definition. Not a definition I make up to suit my own narrow purpose, but straight from Merriam-Webster:
: the belief in a god or in a group of godsIn this context, we can eliminate the last of these, because it is a figurative usage of the word that can apply to many things, such as enthusiasm for football. The other usages of the word involve belief in God or gods, or the system of creeds, ritual, and worship associated with that belief. Atheism is not belief in God, nor does it involve any creeds, rituals, or worship. So atheism clearly doesn't fit the Merriam-Webster definition. The Oxford definition is very similar to this.
: an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods
: an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group
Does atheism imply some metaphysical view? No. Many atheists are metaphysical naturalists, but certainly not all. Thomas Nagel for example, has supernatural beliefs. Does atheism involve any kind of organized system of belief? No. There is no atheist bible, no doctrine, and no leadership. And please don't try to tell me that Dawkins is some kind of religious leader. He's a guy who writes books and tweets his opinions, not the pope. Atheism is the absence of everything that religion is.
So Victor can say that atheism is a religion, but only by making up his own peculiar self-serving definition. And he can insist that it is hypocritical to advocate teaching science in a science class, but only by abandoning any pretense of intellectual honesty.