But Jerry has been on a roll of late - really, he usually is - and this post is a gem. He nails it when talking about the absurd double standards that are applied to scientists, who are often called "arrogant" despite showing considerable epistemic humility, as opposed to religious leaders, who are allowed to get away with the most breathtaking (and dogmatic) claims to extraordinary knowledge.
Religionists’ claim that scientists are arrogant always amuses me. Really, who are the arrogant ones? Scientists are nearly always tentative in their conclusions. Lately I’ve been reading a bunch of papers on evolution, and was struck by how often conclusions are qualified by words like “this suggests that” or “this conclusion should be regarded as provisional”. Many papers suggest additional lines of research that could support or falsify their conclusions. In the end, it is religious people who are the certain ones, the overbearing ones. How often do you hear, in religious discourse, that “my conclusion that there is god should, of course, be seen as provisional, subject to refutation by findings of unjustifiable evil,” or “maybe there’s a heaven, but maybe not; I don’t have much evidence.” If they relied at all on evidence, the faithful wouldn’t be able to say anything.