Saturday, April 14, 2007

Scruton on Religion

Roger Scruton has posted a statement on religion at the "Right Reason" blog. He prepared this for a debate with Richard Dawkins on the question of whether "we would be better off without religion." Since Scruton is the leading conservative philosopher in Great Britain, I am pleased to see that he largely agrees with what I have written on this blog and in Darwinian Conservatism about religion and evolution.

He agrees with me in accepting the truth of evolutionary science and in seeing that there is no necessary conflict between evolution and religion, because religion answers questions about ultimate meaning and purpose that go beyond the realm of scientific reasoning. Moreover, he also agrees that religion provides support for morality and communal identity that can sustain a healthy community.

He also recognizes, of course, that religion can be harmful, even disastrous, when it promotes fanatical violence and brutality. But this only shows that we need to look to the proper development of the religious urge. Like many human goods, religion can be bad when it is practiced in the wrong way.

That Darwinian evolution and religious belief can be compatible has been the general position of the Catholic Church. But recently some Catholic leaders--such as Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn--have professed allegiance to "intelligent design theory." Now we have a news story about a new book that includes comments by Pope Benedict on this issue. Apparently, Benedict is defending a form of "theistic evolution" that would accept evolutionary history, but see it as guided by God's will. This news story does not provide a clear, detailed statement of the Pope's position. But it does seem that he rejects "intelligent design theory."


John Farrell said...

Yes...although from the translation of some extracts from the pope's book that I've seen thus far, it does appear that he repeats the tired canard about Darwin's being an 'incomplete' theory.

I impute this to the fact that too often conservatives regard Darwin's theory as a theory of the origin of life, rather than a theory of the evolution of life.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Im from Melbourne Australia.
Please find a set of related essays which provide an Illuminated understanding of religion, science & culture---and which are a critique of the half-baked (mis)understandings of conventional exoteric "religion"---and the dismal totally useless shouting matches between the likes of Scruton and Dawkins etc etc etc.

What is usually defended as "religion" being the dim-witted remnants of archaic tribal and cultic nationalisms created in the child-hood of Man.


Ref # 5 is about the self-serving/consoling Mommy-Daddy "creator" god of exoteric religion---which is the only "religion" we have.

Plus an essay which discusses the unspeakablly dreadful politics & "culture" created in the image of scientism and exoteric "religion".