Saturday, April 30, 2005

dawkins doesn’t mince words

A refreshing read amidst the current rush-to-god froth the media insists America is in the midst of: The atheist: Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins explains why God is a delusion, religion is a virus, and America has slipped back into the Dark Ages. In Salon, by Gordy Slack. A quick snippet:

Still, so many people resist believing in evolution. Where does the resistance come from?

It comes, I’m sorry to say, from religion. And from bad religion. You won’t find any opposition to the idea of evolution among sophisticated, educated theologians. It comes from an exceedingly retarded, primitive version of religion, which unfortunately is at present undergoing an epidemic in the United States. Not in Europe, not in Britain, but in the United States.

My American friends tell me that you are slipping towards a theocratic Dark Age. Which is very disagreeable for the very large number of educated, intelligent and right-thinking people in America. Unfortunately, at present, it’s slightly outnumbered by the ignorant, uneducated people who voted Bush in.

But the broad direction of history is toward enlightenment, and so I think that what America is going through at the moment will prove to be a temporary reverse. I think there is great hope for the future. My advice would be, Don’t despair, these things pass.

and later:

How would we be better off without religion? We’d all be freed to concentrate on the only life we are ever going to have. We’d be free to exult in the privilege—the remarkable good fortune—that each one of us enjoys through having been being born. An astronomically overwhelming majority of the people who could be born never will be. You are one of the tiny minority whose number came up. Be thankful that you have a life, and forsake your vain and presumptuous desire for a second one. The world would be a better place if we all had this positive attitude to life. It would also be a better place if morality was all about doing good to others and refraining from hurting them, rather than religion’s morbid obsession with private sin and the evils of sexual enjoyment.

And, one last bit:

Some scientists say that removing religion or God from their life would leave it meaningless, that it’s God that gives meaning to life. “Unweaving the Rainbow” specifically attacks the idea that a materialist, mechanist, naturalistic worldview makes life seem meaningless. Quite the contrary, the scientific worldview is a poetic worldview, it is almost a transcendental worldview. We are amazingly privileged to be born at all and to be granted a few decades—before we die forever—in which we can understand, appreciate and enjoy the universe. And those of us fortunate enough to be living today are even more privileged than those of earlier times. We have the benefit of those earlier centuries of scientific exploration. Through no talent of our own, we have the privilege of knowing far more than past centuries. Aristotle would be blown away by what any schoolchild could tell him today. That’s the kind of privileged century in which we live. That’s what gives my life meaning. And the fact that my life is finite, and that it’s the only life I’ve got, makes me all the more eager to get up each morning and set about the business of understanding more about the world into which I am so privileged to have been born.

His books are actually readable. More later ... heading out the door soon.

posted by lee on 04/30/05 at 06:42 AM
reviews • (0) comments • (0) trackbackspermalink
Page 2 of 2 pages  <  1 2