Professor Plevak, as no less than a "Full Professor of a scientific discipline" and a teacher of "scientific methodology at the collegiate level" you must undoubtedly be aware of the argumentum ad verecundiam fallacy. This fallacy is defined as an appeal to authority, which argues from the fact that a person claiming to be an authority affirms a proposition to the claim that the proposition is true. Appeals to authority are deductively fallacious; even a legitimate authority speaking on his area of expertise may affirm a falsehood.
While dividing the world into "mean and non-mean" is perhaps the methodology of children, theologians like Mr. Marty and Krista Tippett, it is not how science looks at the world. A climate of respect for the individual? By all means. Unfortunately, theists often wilfully misinterpret scientist's rejection of their dearly held mythologies and faith in the supernatural as a lack of respect for their person. Belief in the supernatural which theists cling to forms the foundation of all religions and is not compatible with science -an evidence, fact and reason based discipline.
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