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Don't Fear Atheism.

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Posted by John Morgan Powell on February 17, 2001 02:19:49 UTC

Richard David Yannopoulos-Ruquist,

You wrote:

> I guess what I am hearing is that we should be
> fearful of any one religion, and I think I
> include atheism in that group, from getting
> control of our political process and our lives.

Science has advanced the fastest in societies that were characterized as having freedom of thought, but that's only by comparison to the alternative which is rigid religious thought control. What if science was completely free of the thought shackles that religious people continue trying to place upon it?

Science might be considered synonomous with freedom of thought because science is willing to use ANY method that achieves the goal of understanding cause and effect. Religious dogma expects one to rely on authority as the source of knowledge.

Science can progress reasonably well in the US partly because of the legal principle of separation of church and state. This separation was designed to prevent one religion from becoming a state religion, but had the added benefit of allowing nonreligious scientific thought to progress without as much religious impediment as might have occurred. It continues to serve us well today, considering the likelihood that the religious thought police might screw things up if it were removed. But, what if science didn't need this protection from the relgious zealots who would return us to the Dark Ages?

We don't know how fast society would progress if superstitious and religious ideas were regularly ignored in society like childish ideas are today. I suggest that society would progress faster today and would have progressed much faster in the past if science was given the credibility it deserves and religion was repudiated as it deserves.

What kind of world would it be where only rational ideas backed by well-designed and verified experiments and fitting well-tested mathematical theories were acceptable to society? What if superstitious, irrational ideas backed merely by the uneducated hopes of illogical people fitting their own unrealistic world view were casually dismissed like the childlike ideas that they are? It looks like this would be a great place to me.

What do you think? Would you like living in such a society? This is not an unrealistic question because I predict that we are moving towards just such a society. It will probably take another hundred years at least, but we'll get there eventually.

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