I'm writing this feeling nauseous and disgusted. It was not my cooking this time, but a pizza. It was consumed right after my jogging, which seems to have been highly inappropriate. But let's not dwell on the possible contributory factors to my illness.
Instead, I'd like to discuss a set of ideas that I often ecounter when talking with co-students at Humanistiska fakulteten at Åbo Akademi or other students in the humanities. Here's a kind-of fictive example:
“To believe that the universe was created in a Big Bang is still only a belief. I think it's interesting what meaning the scientists ascribe to the concept of a Big Bang. Isn't the Big Bang a really masculine concept; the primal ejaculation? I find it all rather pointless. I find it much nicer to think of the universe as created by God.”
But the person in question, still fictive, is not religious and does not really believe in anything “supernatural”. Still, this person find the idea of irrational faith charming, while obviously frowning upon the idea of science discovering truths about the universe. Instead, this person would happily underline the statement that “science is the religion of our time”.
The same person is also highly critical of any claims about the superiority of our society in contrast to others, since that by necessity classifies as cultural imperialism. The claims are just reflecting our personal opinions and certainly not truths about the world, since “truth” is relative to the society we live in.
The notion that “science is the religon of our time” seems to be popular both among people who are “culturally aware” and people who are deeply religious. It's easy to understand the motives of the former group. But why would anyone who's not religious come to that conclusion? I suspect that they are comparing the belief in the power of science to the belief in a divine force. And of course, an unquestioning belief in anything can be classified as a religion. But then we are talking about belief, faith, and not science inself. Furthermore, I can't see how the practice of science bear any resemblance to the practice of religion.
To believe in something just because it is nice or it gives you comfort is all very well, but I'd rather lead an awful life as long as I wouldn't live in an illusion. In other words, if you're not interested in finding truth, then of coure you can believe anything that suits you.
“It's scarcely an exaggeration”, writes Dawkins in his ‘The God Delusion’, “to say that the majority of atheists I know disguise their atheism behind a pious façade. They do not believe in anything supernatural themselves, but remain a vague soft spot for irrational belief. They believe in belief. It's amazing how many people seemingly cannot tell the difference between ‘X is true’ and ‘It is desirable that people should believe that X is true’. Or maybe they don't really fall for this logical error, but simply rate truth as unimportant compared with human feelings.”
Sorry, I realise I have to continue tomorrow. I'm feeling terrible.
written by Mattias