On Non-Nihilistic “Scientific” Atheism

Nobel laureate in physics Steven Weinberg recently revamped his 2008 Phi Beta Kappa Oration at Harvard University for an essay entitled “Without God” in The New York Review of Books. As the essay moves toward a close, Weinberg tells us: the worldview of science is rather chilling. Not only do we not find any point to life laid out for us in nature, no objective basis for our moral principles, no correspondence between what we think is the moral law and the laws of nature, of the sort imagined by philosophers from Anaximander and Plato to Emerson. We even learn that the emotions that we most treasure, our love for our wives and husbands and children, are made possible by Read More ›

Evolution for a Few or Evolution for Everyone? A Survey of Hypotheses about the Evolutionary Origin of Religion

Why did religion arise in the human species? Stanley Fish has a blog post at the New York Times observing that Richard Dawkins, “finds that the manufacturing and growth of religion is best described in evolutionary terms: ‘[R]eligions, like languages, evolve with sufficient randomness, from beginnings that are sufficiently arbitrary, to generate the bewildering — and sometimes dangerous — richness of diversity.’” Dawkins isn’t the only scientist who takes this kind of approach. David Sloan Wilson is getting a lot of attention these days regarding his views on the evolutionary origin of religion. Wilson is much more serious in his approach than Dawkins, but Wilson has been frank regarding how many academics view religion through an evolutionary perspective. In his Read More ›