May I offer 3 gentle quibbles with the points you make in your Presidential address (as summarised on the RS website)?
- Is it wise to (apparently) conflate objectivity in science with Scientific Materialism as a wider philosophical worldview? Neither the Framers nor the Founders of the RS were Scientific Materialists in real life? We both know that the 'warfare between science & religion' is a myth - what is increasingly apparent is that if societies are forced to choose between science and faith they will, in fact, choose faith. Dawkins "Selfish Gene" rhetoric has a lot to answer for.
- Isn't suggesting that the condom debate should be purely about "a scientific assessment of the effectiveness of condoms in preventing the transmission of HIV" somewhat an example of the over-simplistic thinking against which you speak so eloquently? The impact of AIDS on developing economies is going to be a function inter alia of the extent to which (w) "caring for others" is a value-in-use and of (x) "ability to attract donors". HIV transmission is a function of (y) promiscuous sexual behaviour and of (z) the probability of HIV transmission per sexual encounter. Promoting condom use may decrease (z)* but almost certainly increases (y), clearly decreases (x) and arguably decreases (w). Mathematical modelling of the interaction of these would be fascinating, but it's obvious that the system is far too complex for any definitive conclusions to be drawn for the real world.
- The teachings of the RC Church and of the evangelicals (neither of whom are, of course, Fundamentalists in the strict sense) are far from irrelevant to modern theology. They may be considered irrelevant by Modern Theology as taught at Oxbridge and Harvard but that is a different matter! It is truer to say that that kind of Modern Theology is largely irrelevant to the real world.
* Though even this is not clear cut, and certainly not equivalent to the scientific question of whether a sterile, hole free condom, correctly applied, reduces the probability of HIV transmission to nearly zero. There are of course issues of compliance, re-use, and of economics, given that condoms are really quite expensive esp. in relation to the health budgets of developing countries.