Everybody knows that it is perfectly acceptable to say anything you like about religion. Anything. Go on, try it. Nobody will care one way or the other. After all, for as long as the history of human civilization has been recorded, it has been characterized by nothing other than back-to-back episodes of pacifistic religious tolerance, featuring heart-warming collaboration across religions and between atheists and believers. I’m pretty sure about all of this. In fact, having racked my brain, I can think of absolutely no controversies at all. None whatsoever. Uh huh.
So when scientists investigate religion, they can proceed in the knowledge that everything they discover will be greeted by believer and atheist alike as representing little more than benign, banal, and dispassionate trivia. That’s why scientists never need to pussyfoot around the subject, or to give any thought to how they might choose their words in order to avoid causing offence.
But maybe things are changing. Continue reading “Euphemistic congress”