Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Should Science Ally With Religion? Be Reasonable!

Oh those altruistic scientists! This is from the Guardian in the UK.

Speaking at a debate at the Guardian Hay festival, Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal who heads the Royal Society, said that science needed as many allies as it could find in the current climate. "If we give the impression that science is hostile to even mainstream religion, it will be more difficult to combat the kinds of anti-science sentiments that are really important," he said. "We need people like that as allies in dealing with extreme fundamentalism."

His fellow panellists, evolutionists Richard Dawkins and Steve Jones, disagreed. Prof Dawkins said that, though he had cooperated with the recently-retired Bishop of Oxford, Richard Harries, to complain about allowing creationists to set up schools, he urged a limit. "If we are too friendly to nice, decent bishops, we run the risk of buying into the fiction that there's something virtuous about believing things because of faith rather than because of evidence. We run the risk of betraying scientific enlightenment."

Bishops themselves never killed anybody, but possibly made the world safer for "people who do kill people by extolling the virtues of faith as opposed to reason and evidence".

Prof Jones discussed the problems he comes across when teaching students with Islamic backgrounds. "To a man and to a woman, there are parts of science they will not accept. "That means that, in their early lives, they have been told deliberate lies by people who, I'm sure, know they are deliberate lies. I don't care how charming they are, I don't care how pleasant they are, these people are evil.

"What's true for imams is, more or less, true for bishops."
Read the whole article here.

One wonders where Professors Jones and Dawkins uncovered evidence of "evil" and "virtuous". That Dawkins actually asserts "extolling the virtues of faith" as the impetus driving murders would be ludicrous if not for the many who follow his lead unreflectively (i.e., unreasonably).

I'd love to read their replies to the Holy Father's book, Values in a Time of Upheaval.

No comments: