Sunday, May 28, 2006

a few preliminary remarks

the neverending scary

I've been writing elsewhere, and sometimes nowhere of late. Many excuses. Perhaps I should keep all these writings together under a new blog title reflecting my rekindled interest in the psychology of faith. But then there are other interests...

It's an uphill battle, keeping the world safe for nonbelievers, but I'm prepared to fight it, folks.

Steven Pinker, early in The Blank Slate, quoted a survey showing that most Americans believed in the Biblical account of creation, and that the miracles recounted in the Bible really took place. Only 15 per cent believed that evolution provided the best explanation for the origin of life on earth. To be fair, rather than sticking the boot into the yanks again, it must be said that there are nations in which evolution would be so unheard of that it would scarcely raise a flicker on the edge of the radar, but as Pinker adds, us educated and informed folks needn't worry about them folks, even if they do threaten to blow us up from time to time. Who cares about being popular when you're right?

I'm hoping to write something next about whether evolution is compatible with religious belief, or at least Christian belief. The Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church officially proclaims their compatibility, I suspect because they don't want to be humiliatingly on the wrong side of the argument once more. Scientifically minded types too, such as the late S J Gould, have argued that they're really operating in mutually exclusive spheres. I'm sceptical about that, and I'll explore the arguments shortly - as shortly as I can be.


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