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← Philip Kitcher - Living with Darwin

Russell Blackford's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by Russell Blackford

Donald, I don't know what you mean by saying that religions have to be forced to be secular. If you mean that literally, then I can't agree. I have no wish to use force against religionists.

I agree with everything else that you say, and what we can do is try to create a social ethos in which the prestige of religion is downgraded, in an effort to blunt the force of its political mission. I agree that that is exactly what Dawkins, etc., are doing and that it is extremely important. That's why I get annoyed when people who should be allies, like Terry Eagleton and Stanley Fish - major secular literary intellectuals - don't get it, and why I just get dismayed and disheartened when people who essentially are allies, like Michael Ruse and Philip Kitcher - heavyweight atheistic philosophers - don't really get this aspect either.

I'm afraid that we are going to need satire, passion, and all the other weapons of public debate, if we are going to be able to reach out to the public. That may not be everyone's style or talent, but I do wish the atheist philosophers like Kitcher would understand the need. Also, not every book can do everything. It's true that we need to build a naturalistic worldview, including a naturalistic morality, but we also have a helluva lot of ground to clear to make room for it in the public sphere. I don't think we can just sit around waiting for every country, including the US, to become a Scandinavian social democracy. We could be waiting for a very long time.

Mon, 30 Jul 2007 16:26:00 UTC | #56581