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← Philip Kitcher - Living with Darwin

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Jump to comment 23 by Cook@Tahiti

I'd like to add my voice to the comments above - I interpreted Kitcher's argument as essentially one about effective tactics. If we want to see a secular world, and we want to adopt a scientific, evidence-based approach, then what will be the best way to get us there?

What explains the variation in religiosity between countries?

Repeatedly saying "reliigon is a load of crap. You're all idiots" may be true, but it may not be very effective in "de-programming" a society.

After all, north-western Europe didn't become largely secular because there was a Dawkins banging on about religion, but because a social liberal democracy with good health, media, education, and economic security creates conditions where religion has less purchase, less traction. On average, the less you need God, the less you believe in God.

In this sense, Kitcher's points about tone might be valid from a tactical point of view. But I think it's more complex than that - for some people, a blunt, direct approach may work, for others it may be simply following the herd - i.e. if the herd (role models, leaders, peers are atheists, then they will be too), and for others it may arise spontanteously over a generation once certain social conditions are met in society.

Why would an atheist that detests religion pursue a strategy that consolidates and radicalises religion? It's analagous to the "War on Terror" that actually creates more terrorists - counter-productive.

Mon, 30 Jul 2007 17:13:00 UTC | #56591