Dawkins and Religion
James Crossley has a nice review of the U.K. Channel 4 program by Richard Dawkins, the leading scientist who loves telling us things we don't want to hear and need to hear. His recent dangerous idea for The Edge was beautiful, and unsettling to people. I agree with James, however, that he tends to go off the deep end with his anti-religious rhetoric.
James acknowledges "perfectly sensible points" made by Dawkins in his attack on religion, while noting that religion can hardly absorb all the blame Dawkins wants to dump on it. He writes:
"I don't think by itself [religion] is inherently good or evil (in some ways like science you could say). As I've said before, in most cases it requires some kind of specific socio-economic context to trigger off deadly responses."
Not only this, but we should be under no delusion that the evils of the world would have been diminished had religion never appeared on the scene. Stalin and Pol Pot weren't motivated by religion. The simple fact is that homo sapiens are, biologically, a violent, discriminatory, and unhappy lot, and we're always going to try to justify our hurting others and discriminating against them, whether by religion or not. A scientist like Dawkins should realize this. It should also be noted that religion has been part of the critique against injustice and ignorance, just as it has been a perpetuator of them.