Race and religion are probably the two most important 'R' words that get people really riled up these days.*
You'd think that after the Crusades and Nazis, that the world would let go, at least somewhat, of these two concepts, but I don't see that happening. Everything from politics to science to children's books is infused in it.
Take for example, one of Mike Huckabee's** recent ad with the floating cross.
Absolutely ridiculous! First of all, not everyone is a Christian. Second, it's so.. snake-like to use such subtle imagery. ("subtle").
Even science is jumping on this bandwagon. The National Academies Press has released a new book called "Science, Evolution, and Creationism". It is an immensely difficult battle to wage, to convince people that science and religion are separate. Yet the only way to do so is to compare them, often in the same book or article, which confuses the hell out of people.
A NEJM article even discussed gods being an artifact of evolution:
In fact, I'm here to say that they are largely compatible. In fact, if you look up "The History and Fate of the Universe"***, you'll see an "Unknown Era" at 10^-44 seconds. That's where religion comes in! Creationism? Sure, why not!? A giant turtle hawked up a universe? That's fine, too.
You may run into some problems here with Occam's Razor, but I've been wrong at times applying this in scientific circles. I still like Parsimony (because I'm old school, aka 1992), while everyone else likes Neighbor Joining algorithms. Go figure.
Sometimes, science goes too far. Dawkins writes scathing pieces about religion, especially in one of his more recent books, The God Delusion. It is unscientific to say that there is no god. How can you assert any negative statement? Proving the absence of god is impossible, and in fact, it's generally pretty difficult to prove the absence of anything, except in Mathematics, which is mostly fiction anyway.
The bottom line? You can't consider yourself to be a scientist and assert that there is no god. You may believe there isn't one, but that's personal. In the mean time, such assertions are counterproductive to arguments against what people may see as legitimate scientific theories, like intelligent design.
I once asked someone who believed in this bullshit idea, where the 'creator' came from, and he told me that the question was irrelevant. Well, this is what I want to know. So all you right-winging conservatives better find this post and give me an answer - Where is the creator? The question can't be irrelevant, because no real scientific theory invalidates questions.
*: There's another one that starts with a, and ends with "ffirmative action" that gets me riled up, but that's personal.
**:At a time when we should be seeking other countries respect, "President Huckabee", in charge of the world's most powerful armed forces, somehow doesn't cut it (ideologically and nominally). Reminds me of this. Constantly.
***:The 'fate' thing in this title doesn't help the cause.