Sunday, January 6, 2013
"Throughout the last four hundred years, during which the growth of science has gradually shown men how to acquire knowledge of the ways of nature and mastery over natural forces, the clergy have fought a losing battle against science, in astronomy and geology, in anatomy and physiology, in biology and psychology and sociology. Ousted from one position, they have taken up another. After being worsted in astronomy, they did their best to prevent the rise of geology; they fought against Darwin in biology, and at the present time they fight against scientific theories of psychology and education. At each stage, they try to make the public forget their earlier obscurantism, in order that their present obscurantism may not be recognized for what it is."
Bertrand Russell, An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish
The historical fact that the clergy have been fighting a losing battle against science doesn't prove that religious doctrines are false in entirety, but rather that whatever truth religious tradition may contain has been shrouded in obscurantism and dogma, so much so that the whole enterprise has been a major obstacle to the progress of knowledge. In a sense, the rise of science and skeptical philosophy has done (is still doing, and is yet to do more) a huge favor to the religious community by dispelling it of its errors and wrongdoings, both scientific and ethical. Religion ought to remember its past in order to be reminded of its tyrannies and sins, and how it owes its reform (not yet complete), in part, to the freethinking community, without whose assistance, in all likelihood, it was not capable of purging itself of its own delusions.
Honest advice to Religion.