Thursday, May 21, 2009

Post-modern times

A strain of indescribable post-modernism may be termed anti-scientism. According to this strain, scientific method is "just another story," along the stories told by religion, tradition, mysticism. Of course the actual argumentation is far more complex and subtle -which I do not claim to have explored-, but the common theme is more or less the same.

Recently rhe rise of religion in both eastern and western societies, and their natural clash with modern values based on truths obtained by scientific method, has undoubtedly created a problem of ontologically categorizing the places in the society and meanings of science and religion.

On the one hand there is the so called New-atheists, New-humanists, or as they describe themselves the "Brights" - to be fair they call those who are insistent on a supernatural powers the "Supers". They are of the opinion that religion should ultimately be taken out of the public discourse, and left to persons only just like what happened to astrology.

On the other hand there are the rising Islamists/Fundemental Christians, who believe it is their right to express their political positions based on their truths, which are revelations they believe in.

And in the middle, the "Accommodationists" who try to reconcile religion and science, saying these are different methods of learning the truth. This leans, in my humble opinion, on the idea I described in the beginning.

Jerry Coyne is an evolutionary biologist -whose book "Why Evolution is True" I recommend to everyone- is on a crusade against this idea in the scientific circles of the USA. In his blog he has an very interesting contest. He challenges his reader to name a truth, as defined in Oxford dictionary "Conformity with fact; agreement with reality", which was revealed by religion, and could not be obtained by secular methods.

I personally cannot name one, and that is why I am with the "Brights" when it comes to the place of religion in the society.

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