Please read this: http://faculty.ugf.edu/jgretch/syllabi/psy450DeRevolutione.pdf
A fascinating article by Michael Flynn, author of the FIRESTAR books, WRECK OF THE RIVER OF STARS, and, more recently, EIFELHEIM.
In proper Aristotlean fashion, Mr. Flynn politely demolishes the persistant myth (and I mean myth in the sense of lie) that the Middle Ages were a period of scientific backwardness. This is not merely false, it is the precise opposite of truth: the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries were when logic and reason were paramount, and the foundation stones of modern science set in place. He also offers thoughts on why the Scientific Revolution occured in Europe rather than in the long-lived civilizations of China or India. Like a proper medieval schoolman, he defines his terms -- a practice which ought to be revived for anyone intending any serious thought on any serious topic.
My most recent brush with the 'meme' that Christians burn scientists was quite accidental. I was looking up the name of an article I wrote for a Catholic newspaper (an examination of whether and how modern discoveries of the size of the universe pose a scandal to the Church) and so lazy was I, and possessed of such great faith in the Internet, I "googled" for it rather than looking in my own records. As it turned out, the article had been reprinted on the website of Richard Dawkins, global village atheist.
The comments appended to it were uniformly shocking in their sheer ignorance. Normally an ignoramus is comfortable with his ignorance, much like Sherlock Holmes dismissing the Heliocentric Theory because it was pointless for crime-detection. But these were a gaggle of geese loudly squawking about how knowledgeable and enlightened they were, how scientific and precise they were in their thoughts. They were the 'brights', you see.
Well, these brights were bright enough that they simply made up facts out of their own imaginations to suit themselves.
One poor soul dismissed the idea that I had ever been an atheist: he did not bother to check. It just suited him to believe it. He took it on faith. Another said the Catholic Church kept me in storage against a day when I could be trotted out onstage. (Hm. I am still awaiting my coded instructions beamed into my brain chip via Papal Satellite from my robotic Jesuit-ninja assassin-masters in the Holy Office.) A third said he read only until I referred to the Pope being a public figure speaking about Reason. The Bright was too bright to read to the end of the paragraph -- we all know brights do not need to do research, or read their opposition, or anything -- and too bright to read the newspapers. I was referring to the Holy Father's Regensburg speech, (entitled Faith, Reason and the University) which was famous enough to make headlines, and get its own wikipedia page.
Another bright fumed that the Church taught the world was flat. Another said science fiction writers could not be theists. Another bright criticized me for being a science fiction elitist when it came to space opera. (Me, the founder of the world-wide New Space Princess Movement, which now contains at least 3 members, and is poised to take the scifi world by storm!) And so it went, on and on, and not a single comment I read had anything to do with the topic of the article.
I admit I was flabberghasted by the uniformly low quality of the responses. You see, I am confident that I was not the last intelligent atheist to jump their sinking ship. There must be some out there who do not make simple errors in logic, or make up facts, or substitute emotion for reasoning. But this was like tearing off the roof of roaring hell, and beholding a burning cloud of malice and illogic rise up forever -- if hell were where an intellectual god had flung the smug, loud and stupid, instead of the sinful.
I wish the brights had been bright enough to read Mr. Flynn's article.
It behooves those who idolize science and reason to restrict themselves to scientific and reasonable conclusions on all topics, including the topic of religion, and not to single it out for some bizairre exception, as if it were too dangerous to touch, too dangerous to think about. There are rational atheists out there in the world I am sure, but they evidently don't gather at Richard Dawkins' website to leave comments.
(Maybe the selfish genes in which they have such touching, unquestioning faith, have programmed them not to.)