jack_ryder

Beware the Creeper!

Iain's life as a psychotic crimefighter


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jack_ryder

Atheism-lite

Questions of belief and tolerance of other's belief systems have been obsessing me lately (ferkster and I are working on a play about it right now.) I was interested in this article by Dylan Evans which posited a kind of halfway position where atheists could appreciate some aspects of religious belief without accepting the literal truth of, say, the Bible.

Salman Rushdie has written a very good rebuttal of Evan's position.

My favourite line:

Intelligent design, an idea designed backward so as to force the antique idea of a Creator upon the beauty of creation, is so thoroughly rooted in pseudoscience, so full of false logic, so easy to attack that a little rudeness seems called for.

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Rushdie is right, I think. Evan's position - while not without merit - is naive. Hardcore religious people fight hard and dirty for their religions, and science and atheism need to recognise that, and fight hard (if not dirty) in response. Which, in many instances, they do, but I think many scientists are still a little dumbfounded by religion's refusal to back down in the face of good evidence and argument.


That's pretty much the crux of the issue, isn't it. Religion refuses to play fair because... well, it doesn't have to, it believes it's right. End of discussion. I think Rushdie nailed that well. And I think that's the current problem with the left's battle with the NeoRight - we refuse to stoop to using their tactics, so we're bulldozed as a result.

[blockquote]I think many scientists are still a little dumbfounded by religion's refusal to back down in the face of good evidence and argument.
[/blockquote]

It's more sinister than just 'being right'; it also gives legitimacy to completely intolerant and intolerable viewpoints: homophobia, misogyny and racialism are harder when you're on your own - an iggerant no-nothing lowlife - but hey if GOD establishes my prejudices for me then I'm free to form blocs and ram it into the statutes.
It's craven, it's against good practice so methodically established by science and philosophical enquiry, and it is terrible for humankind, but it suits morons right down to the ground.

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