On one side are those who inquire, examine, experiment, research, propose ideas and subject them to scrutiny, change their minds when shown to be wrong and live with uncertainty while placing reliance on the collective, self-critical, responsible and rigorous use of reason and observation to further the quest for knowledge.I've often felt that Stalinism and Marxism simply replaced one religion with another. But I feel much the same about the Libertarians and their Laissez-Faire, Market-Worshiping capitalism.
On the other side are those who espouse a belief system or ideology which pre-packages all the answers, who have faith in it, who trust the authorities, priests and prophets, and who either think that the hows and whys of the universe are explained to satisfaction by their faith, or smugly embrace ignorance. Note that although the historical majority of these latter are the epigones of one or another religion, they also include the followers of such ideologies as Marxism and Stalinism – which are also all-embracing monolithic ownerships of the Great Truth to which everyone must sign up on pain of punishment, and on whose behalf their zealots are prepared to kill and die.
If anyone does not know how to pluck from history and the contemporary world examples of these opposing mindsets and their operation then he is either deaf, dumb, blind and illiterate – or he is one of the creatures of faith.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Faith, Reason, Religion and Science...
A well-written and argued column by AC Grayling: