I totally see where the recent wave of religion-bashing is coming from: it's a reaction of intellectuals and those aligned with them to the recent surge of the swivel-eyed religious fundamentalist spectrum of varying degrees of militancy in all corners of the world. However, the anti-religionist argument itself is none better than the religious fundamentalism: the only actual difference is that instead of invoking a paternal projection, commonly marketed as "God", the militant atheists invoke idolised science, the infallible source of rational truth, to justify their views and actions. It could be forgiven to laymen, whose naive idea of science is of clever egg-heads shoving spadefuls of the ultimate Truth to the furnace of progress and development. Disturbingly, however, the same kind of unreflexive, self-congratulatory drivel is peddled by professional academics cum media-enhanced prophets like Neil Degrasse Tyson, Stephen Hawking, Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins. Despite or, perhaps even, because of their wide public acclaim, this is just yet another proof that natural scientists should be banned from making any statements about humanity, religion and society and stick to what they were trained to do in the first place: sticking bits of DNA up the microbes' asses, overinterpreting MRI scans, or gazing into starry skies. Thank God (sic!), their likes rarely get to any decision-making positions, but when they do, we are never too far away from carnage and rampage - Yugoslavia's genocide-mongering Biljana Plavšić, a widely published full professor of biology who incited the massacre of Bosnians using her political power and scientific reasoning, being the latest example. Science made into a god is none more rational, benign or reliable for designing social policies than any religion.
The common argument brought forward by the scientism camp is a list of all wrong-doings incurred upon humanity by religion: the Crusades to the Inquisition to witch-hunts. There's no denying, that religion did serve as justification and a rallying cry for those. For the sake of balance, however, let's look at what the Age of Reason with its deification of Science has brought us:
- ethnic cleansing,
- Ayn Rand,
- chemical weapons,
- genetically modified organisms,
- the nuclear bomb,
- scientific racism,
- two world wars,
- environmental destruction...
Let us also not forget that the peace-loving and benevolent regimes of Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and the Kim family were staunchly atheist.
As it usually goes, both sides of the argument fight over a false dilemma. The human nature is the problem, not religion or science.