Should religion be debated?  

Friday, April 13, 2007

3 Quarks Daily has an article up about Taking Sides in the Recent Religious Debates. It's a defense of the arguments against books like Breaking the Spell, The God Delusion, The End of Faith, and Letter to a Christian Nation. I have not read any of the books. Perhaps by the end of the year I can get to them, but my book list is huge at the moment.

More interestingly he references another of his articles about a study in infants that shows how religion over-extends of some of the very mental mechanisms that underlie and make rationality possible. I'm reserving judgement until I can actually read the study. I'm skeptical of studies that aren't backed by good data, especially in the day and age of hearing how X is related to X health problem every other day in the news, but it is a thought-provoking article.

No one would dispute the right of free speech in America, but many have said that the non-religious should not be part of the religious debate. But even within religion people believe differently. It's the equivalent of asking a Christian to not comment on Islam or a Muslim to not comment on Hinduism, or a Protestant to not comment on Catholicism.

Abbas Raza puts forward this argument:

Leaving religion aside, we find the same things morally repugnant: incest, murder, rape, dishonesty, theft, etc., and we even find the same things beautiful: sunsets, poetry, music, Angelina Jolie, whatever. Why then is religion the exception? Well, because religion can be seen as just one more phenomenon in the natural world, this, I believe, is properly a scientific question, and the greatest value of the books I have been discussing has, at least for me, been to present new scientific work in anthropology, in psychology, in neuroscience, and many other fields, which bears on this question and is suggestive of possible answers.

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6 comments: to “ Should religion be debated?

  • glomgold
    Friday, April 13, 2007 at 10:36:00 AM CDT  

    But why shouldn't non-religious have any input into religious debates? How could they possibly ever arrive at new conclusions if it were 100% insiders discussing everything all the time?? Weirdos!

  • encephalophone
    Friday, April 13, 2007 at 3:51:00 PM CDT  

    Miss Jolie--she eat all dem babies.

  • Venjanz
    Saturday, April 14, 2007 at 11:23:00 PM CDT  

    Religion should be debated, but it will never be on a wide scale (in the West) during the current political climate.

    There is not a single polarizing topic in the history of the entire world.


  • Venjanz
    Saturday, April 14, 2007 at 11:25:00 PM CDT  

    (edit)There is not a single "MORE" polarizing topic in the history of the entire world.


  • cranreuch
    Tuesday, April 17, 2007 at 9:24:00 PM CDT  

    You have a "book list"!?

  • ordinarygirl
    Tuesday, April 17, 2007 at 10:03:00 PM CDT  

    Yep, I have a "book list." Actually, right now it's a stack of books that I want to read eventually. Sometimes books get read when other books are purchased.

    What I'm working towards is moving all the books I've read to my less accessible bookshelves and the ones I want to read to one bookshelf that's easy to get to. I only have about 10 books on it right now though, but at least it's cleared and ready for some organization.

    I am also trying out Book Collector, a piece of software that stores information about books. It has crazy amounts of information, but it'll take me forever to get all of my books in if I just make sure the cover is correct and some of the more important information (like have I read it) are noted.

    The software is pretty neat and you can download it and try it out as a demo (and store up to 100 books in demo mode). The URL is


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