Saturday, June 21, 2008

Religion: In a Word, Breezy

PZ Myers of Pharyngula fame is the guest on this week's Point of Inquiry podcast (and next week's too, apparently), and he turns down every polite invitation from host DJ Grothe to reconcile religion and science.

Myers' point on this could not be more straightforward: religion consists in telling people the sky is green; science disrupts this not by telling people the sky is blue but by encouraging people to look at the sky for themselves, and building on the work of others, to investigate it rigorously.

Plenty of people maintain religious beliefs alongside a scientific outlook. Nevertheless, the embrace of the scientific outlook correlates with religious skepticism because, upon encountering scientific methods and results, religious answers come to seem thin and insubstantial. After just a little physics and a little biology, the book of Genesis comes across as more than a little breezy in its presentation of what happened, how, and why.

Myers didn't use the word, but I say that's a good a one-word description of religion: breezy.

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