Sunday, March 04, 2007


Is Religion the World's 10th Worst Invention?

According to a poll conducted by BBC Focus Magazine this month, religion is number 10 candidate for the world's worst invention. Of course, it begs the question to assume that religion is a human invention rather than a discovery! Here's what Focus has to say about religion:

'Religion. Many blame religion for starting or fuelling wars. It has often had a difficult relationship with science. Many early scientists believed in a deity - Sir Issac Newton regognised that the Sun's gravity caused the orbits of the planets, but believed God created the solar system. Science and religion sit uncomfortably together today, with the theories of intelligent design and natural selection battling it out.'

Some observations. The 'warfare' model of the relationship between science and Christianity is largely abandoned by informed scholarship today. The comment that science and religion sit ill at ease today, 'with the theories of intelligent design and natural selection battling it out', incorrectly assumes that intelligent design theory is not a scientific theory. It also overlooks the fact that many religious people are entirely happy with the theory of evolution, as long as it is not subsumed within a metaphysically naturalistic philosophical frame (as in the writing of Richard Dawkins). Finally, it is too simplistic to say that ID is battling it out with natural selection, since ID accepts the reality of natural selection. What many ID theorists to not accept, it is extrapolated idea that natural selection acting upon random genetic variations can fully account for all of the available empirical data. ID and natural selection is a both/and, not an either/or situation.

A final observation: Many people do indeed look upon religion as a) an invention and b) a bad invention at that. However, religion only came in tenth place in this poll. Beating religion into tenth place were such horrible realities as: speed cameras (9th), fast food (8th), and television (7th). Mobile phones came in second!

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