To the editor:
Seeing the Rev. Earl Meyer accuse Leonard Krishtalka of “prejudice, bias, and vituperation” and of making it hard for people to “dialogue” in “the pursuit of truth,” one doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry at the irony. The same when Mark Jarboe identifies Krishtalka’s open-minded, empirically guided world view as self-centered.
While many faiths have exemplified those vain, intolerant vices, few can rival the Catholic church for its long history and continued fondness for peremptory, vituperative, biased and prejudiced dialogue-killing. Indeed, it was Galileo’s publishing of an imagined dialogue between a geocentrist and a heliocentrist that triggered the haughty clerical outrage — the shrill indignation of the religiously invested — that earned him life-long house arrest, suppressing his candid examination of our place in the universe. Church authorities have always made a specialty of such high-handed censorship, of beating down free, honest inquiry and open discussion when the implications are disquieting to their foregone conclusions.
This of course was the point of Krishtalka’s column, that science is no friend of either human arrogance or preconceived truths, making it the natural adversary of religious authority. The church only begrudgingly comes to accept findings that contradict dogma, usually after long delay and shabby resistance, and then more to repair its image and spin the theology than to redeem those it has persecuted. When all inquiry, all dialogue, must answer to ancient ignorance and codified superstition, it’s no wonder that civility, agreement and progress are so slow to come, and so difficult to maintain.
Bruce S. Springsteen,