Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

The organizers of the upcoming secularist Reason Rally have placed themselves in a pickle. It will be interesting to see how this plays out for these who portray themselves as the defenders of reason and science.

Every scientist knows it’s unprofessional to draw conclusions from a non-representative sample, and that it will lead to false results every time. In a word, it is both unscientific and unreasonable.

Now we have news that a vice-president of the National Atheist Party has invited the inflammatory fringe “church,” Westboro Baptist, to the rally. Notably no such invitation has been sent to the True Reason group that’s planning to bring a non-disruptive, reasoning Christian presence there. (Full disclosure: I’m involved in leadership of that initiative.)

So what will the Reason Rally representatives do with the Westboro Church’s shouts, picket signs, and expressions of hatred? The scientifically responsible, reasoning thing for them to do would be to say, “Okay, folks, draw no conclusions about Christianity or religion from this group! They are a non-representative sample! There’s no reason for us to think Christianity is at all like that!”

I’m sure that’s why they invited them there—so they could do exactly that. Right?

Comments are visible to subscribers only. Log in or subscribe to join the conversation.



Filter First Thoughts Posts

Related Articles