Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Scientists talk about religion

At the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif. a forum was held featuring scientists such as Steven Weinberg, Harold Kroto, Richard Dawkins, Carolyn Porco, and many more. They discussed science & religion, and if there is an in-between.

I admire Richard Dawkins a lot, but I do acknowledge his hostility towards religion as being very hard to swallow by many. I feel it is necessary to have a figure with such a point of view to counter the extremes of religion. It is difficult to prevent that love of science & reality from seeming just as fundamental. Religious fundamentals are often called to testify their faith to everyone; so is it an atheist's duty to testify the truth as well?

Is it an issue of luring flies with honey vs. swatting at them with a rolled up newspaper? Do we want complete conversion of believers in religion to reality? Or can we accept a belief in god in the end?


Blogger Aviaa said...

I think that the more atheists can make themselves visible, the better, even if some such as Dawkins come off as more militant than we might like (I’m currently in the middle of Dawkin’s new book and while I’m enjoying it, I do cringe a bit sometimes when he throws around hyperbole like “intellectual high treason”). Visibility is something that I’ve been slowly working to establish in my own life, especially over the past year. The more I can make it known that no, I don’t believe in the supernatural (including god) but, yes, I am a nice, reasonable, amusinge person, the more people have an example of a “typical”, real-life atheist. It’s a lot harder to demonize atheism when you have a friendly atheist in your life.

As for “witnessing”, I’ve found that if I gently, politely point out when I find something particularly illogical (fate, intelligent design, whatever), it typically goes over well. People don’t change their mind on the spot, but they do at least have the alternative reasoning running through their head and may at a later point, when confronted with additional evidence, slowly begin to adapt the reasoning into their belief system.

As a side note, I’m really enjoying your blog. Your posts are well-written, well-researched, and quite informative. Thank you!

1:35 PM  
Blogger new.atheist said...

Aviaa, I'm trying to take the same approach; I don't want to get in ppl's faces about being an atheist, (at least not in person, the blog helps me vent) but if it comes up I want to be a good representative of atheism in the real-world.

Oh, and thank you for the nice comments! *blushing* I'm glad you found me because I'm enjoying your blog as well :-)

2:00 PM  

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