Atheist Prof Incites Near-Criminal Ignorance, Remains Unindicted
Dr. Lawrence Krauss is a world-renowned celebrity scientist, a devotedly hostile critic of Christianity, and most recently a credibly accused sexual harasser. He’s also alleged to be the source behind the quote in this week’s atheist meme, below.
I say “alleged” to be this source for two reasons. First, I can’t find where he first said this, although as far as Google is concerned, he’s the only person to whom the quote has been attributed.The meme is out there in multiple versions. So there’s no reason to doubt it’s part of his long and strong crusade to show that Christianity is wrong, evil and ignorant. And many people seem to have bought into it.
Second, if he did say it, it’s a crime. He’s misusing his authority as one of the world’s leading scientist/educators to foist complete nonsense on unsuspecting readers — the ridiculous idea that Christianity involves the choice between helping and praying.
Professors Abusing Authority to Mislead Students
My daughter had a prof try to do the same thing to her once. It was the opening class in a biology course. As an icebreaker, the prof asked students which historical person they’d most like to have a conversation with. One student, who got her turn ahead of Lisa, answered “Jesus.” This biology professor said, “No, we don’t even know if Jesus existed, and if he did, who knows, he might have been a doper.”
Professors should stick to their disciplines. Otherwise they risk using their authority to convince students of really stupid things. There is no academically credible historian in the world who doubts Jesus existed, or thinks He might have been a “doper.”
Krauss makes the same sort of mistake almost every time he speaks on religion. So does biologist/atheist extraordinaire Jerry Coyne, of the University of Chicago. So does P.Z. Myers, biologist at the University of Minnesota, Morris. So do a lot of academics.
But I don’t mean this to be a complaint against professors. It’s against stupidity instead. Look at the choice Krauss sets up in this meme: Either he gives you medical help or he prays for you. Now, Krauss teaches cosmology at Arizona State University in Tempe. The nearest hospital to that school is Tempe St. Luke’s Hospital. How do you suppose “St. Luke’s” got in its name? How do you suppose he missed that?
What’s the nearest hospital where you live? For me it’s Miami Valley South Hospital near Dayton. Its history goes back to 1890; its founders were the Protestant Deaconess Society of Dayton.
I’ve had a series of six foot surgeries over the years. One was at Mary Immaculate Hospital in Newport News Virginia. Three were at Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati. Notice anything about those names? One was at the seemingly secular Evendale Hospital; in fact it’s a Seventh-Day Adventist hospital.
Someone’s briefcase hit me on the head, falling out of the airplane overhead bin after a rough landing at LaGuardia Airport. (Those warnings about using care opening the overhead bins are true.) I had my neck x-rayed. It was just a strain, they told me — at St. Vincent’s Hospital.
A Crime Against Christianity
When my dad broke his hip, and when my cousin was shot in a senseless drive-by, both of them were treated at the same Adventist hospital in Orlando. My sister got help for a head injury at Mercy Hospital, in Saginaw, Michigan. My mother-in-law and father-in-law both received late-in-life care from Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte, which is practically across the street from Mercy Hospital. Oh, and did I mention Christ Hospital in Cincinnati?
Some of those hospitals have had name changes in recent years, and I think St. Vincent’s has shut down. But you get my point. These are Christian-founded medical centers — and they’re everywhere. We don’t exactly have a history of saying, “You’re hurting? Sorry, all I can do is pray.”
So Krauss commits quite an amazing offense against Christianity when he suggests we’ve got nothing to offer but prayer.
A Crime Against Thinking
But he commits an offense against old-fashioned thinking, too. Krauss never would have said this unless he thought it might persuade someone somehow. Chances are that someone would have to ignore evidence right under his nose — like the names of nearby medical centers — to believe him. He would have to be ignorant of the history of missionary leadership in care-giving and the thousands of Christian humanitarian aid efforts going on right now.
And Krauss wants to encourage people to ignore evidence and history that way. I know that doesn’t rise to the level of legal criminality.
As far as I can tell, the sexual misconduct he’s been accused of committing doesn’t reach that level either — but it was enough to force him to give up an extremely prestigious academic position. Why shouldn’t inciting ignorance be reason to lose his academic rank, too?
One More Thing
I’ve witnessed one Heimlich-type emergency. Someone got up and helped the choking man. Other people stopped what they were doing; several of us prayed. Who said Christians couldn’t do both? Who said it was either-or? What about the very real possibility that both actions could help? The man was soon okay.
Krauss’s options are an exercise in unindicted criminal ignorance.
Tom Gilson is a senior editor with The Stream, and the author of A Christian Mind: Thoughts on Life and Truth in Jesus Christ. Follow him on Twitter: @TomGilsonAuthor.