Richard Dawkins slays faith dragon
Richard Dawkins is one of the world's most erudite thinkers and well known scientists. And now he has turned his attention to a topic of interest to this site: The God Delusion.
A review in the Economist, which can't be read on-line unfortunately, says that as Dawkins sees it "religious moderates make the world safe for fundamentalists by promoting faith as a virtue and reinforcing an overly pious respect for religion."
As an evolutionary biologist Dawkins asks why it is that something as absurd as religion continus to exist. Why hasn't it been breed out? I should note that for most practical purposes it has all but disappeared in the most functioning societies around. Only in highly dysfunctional nations such as in Africa, the Islamic world and the United States is religion a major force. But Dawkins explains, according to the review, "that religion is a by-product of mental abilities that evolved for other purposes. One form of this theory is that children are "programmed" to believe anything their parents tell them, which is quite sensible in light of all the useful information parents can share. But this system is vulnerable to becoming a conduit for worthless information that is passed on for no other reason than tradition."
There is more to the book and the review both. But you ought to read it yourself and draw your own conclusions. One thought I liked from the review is that Dawkins says that we atheists need to be more energetic in opposing the evils of relgion. As the review says: "If nothing else, his book should help bring the atheists out of the closet." I think that is happening. Atheists are sick and tired of being pushed around by religious nut cases and becoming more vocal. One great benefit for us atheists is that organized religion, especially the nutty fundies, have been so linked to the Bush Administration that his imcompetency and malignancy reflects badly on them. They sucked up to the State and now the State is making them look like idiots. A true reflection perhaps but one more obvious to lots more people today.