Jun 22 2008

The New Atheism (Continued)

Published by under Meetings,The New Atheism

Our next meeting, on 27 June, will continue the theme of the new atheism. Here is a little excerpt from Richard Dawkins, which crystallises his attitude to religion. It comes from an interview for Salon magazine, some years before he published “The God Delusion.”

I follow it with a quotation from Fritjof Capra, a physicist who aims to integrate physics and Eastern religion. While Dawkins thinks that science excludes religion, Capra thinks we need both.

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

A. 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.

Mystics understand the roots of the Tao but not its branches; scientists understand its branches but not its roots. Science does not need mysticism and mysticism does not need science, but man needs both. Fritjof Capra.

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