Quote for the day

Dan Sarewitz in ‘Lies We Must Live With’:

As is so often the case when we frame a problem as bimodal, however, we get the problem itself wrong. The alleged debate between science and religion is an incoherent distraction from the real issue, which is how to most satisfactorily reduce the conflict, injustice, inequity, and suffering that seems so intimately a part of humanity itself. If the 20th century has taught us anything (and the first decade of the 21st may be suggesting that it didn’t), it’s that appeals to hegemony in moral discourse a) usually come concealed in utopian garb; b) are always authoritarian underneath; and c) can be rooted in either claims to scientific rationality or in claims to religious authority…

The antidote to irrationality is not its contrary, but its plural.  It’s about inclusiveness, pluralism, democracy, not about rationality versus irrationality.  The problem with fundamentalists is not God but fundamentalism. Conflating fundamentalism with all of religion is like conflating particle physics with all of science.  Fundamentalists and physicists might like to claim that they alone occupy the solid ground of ultimate authority, but the rest of us know differently.  A world run by like-thinking scientists is as horrific to contemplate as one run by like-thinking evangelicals.


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