Posted by: Skeptical Moose | September 12, 2009

Religion: The Abandonment of Art and Science

[This is the first of many articles related to religion and its features]

 

Have you ever noticed how many totalitarian regimes choose to kick off a ‘cultural revolution’ by burning books[1]. Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin … all gave their libraries a good clean out and we see the dismissal of truth as a common feature of many autocratic leaders.

 

“Where books are burned in the end people will burn.” Heinrich Heine

 

Religion brings everything to the lowest level in order to indoctrinate most effectively. Hitler stated:

 

“We stand at the end of the age of reason … a new era of the magical explanation of the world – an explanation based on will rather than knowledge.”[2]

 

It’s hard to believe it now, but Islam was once revered for its mathematics and science. The Economist (in the report noted above) notes how Islam, once famed for its skepticism, closed off its scientific, literary and mathematical doors to the world. Book translations stopped; minds closed!

 

“There is little Arab writing, or translation from other languages: in the 1,000 years since the Caliph Mamoun, the Arabs have translated as many books as Spain translates in a single year.”

 

Ziauddin Sardar has written over forty books on Islam and states in a 2003 article[3] that, “the problem with all varieties of Islam as it is practiced today is that it has lost its humanity … and has become a monster that devours all that is most humane and open-minded.” He questions how reason can ever be brought to a religious society, if there is no reason within the religion itself.

 

What possible civilised progress can be made, considering this intellectual ‘dis-Enlightenment’?

 

 

Remember, faith makes a virtue of not thinking. This is not be admired. Science and religion should not and CAN not converge. Science works on problems; religion claims to have the solutions.

 

“Theologians should make a choice! You can claim your own magisterium, separate from science, but … you must renounce miracles. Or you can keep your miracles and enjoy their huge recruiting potential among the uneducated. But then kiss goodbye to separate magisteria and your high-minded aspiration to converge with science.” Richard Dawkins

 

Astonishingly, when Ipsos Mori surveyed 10,000 adults across ten countries worldwide for the British Council’s Darwin Now project, they found that “nearly a quarter of Londoners and one in seven people nationwide believe in creationism”. How, in this country, at this time, is that still possible?!

 

Americans go ballistic about stem cell research! Let’s assess this logic: you don’t like this because it is hurting a cell?

Right!

Even there is no proof that this is in any way what we understand as ‘life’?

Yes!

OK, and if you care so much about people, what about all the millions who will die because of treatment that is dependent on stem cell research?

 

As celebrities such as Jenny McCarthy continue to harm children with her campaign of unreason against the MMR vaccine[4], we live in a world where tabloid endorsement is often given more credence than evidence-based judgments (especially if you can get Queen Oprah Winfrey behind you). Many religious people endorse ‘Eugenics’ (the ‘self direction of human evolution’: Hitler’s preferred form of artificial selection) and are therefore happy to see the weak suffer, such that we may achieve a stronger gene pool. Or, you might choose to adopt the Mother Teresa Approach; letting people suffer because their pain is ‘the kisses of Jesus’.

 

“Science was an antidote to the filth and fascism that polluted the sky.” Primo Levi (Author and concentration camp survivor)

 


[1] It is a shame that English uses the word ‘book’ as our Latin friends stick with the ‘li’ root; as in, libertas (liberty) and libra (scales … justice) comes from reading a livre, or libro, etc

[2] G Holton (1993), ‘Can science be about the end of modern culture?’ (Pub Understanding of science, p302)

[3] Read it here to learn plenty more about Islam

[4] Oprah’s favourite Playboy bunny can be stopped here and her body count is here. Oprah must take her share of the blame as well

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