Re: A belated addition to the Science/Religion thread

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Sun Mar 25 2001 - 11:17:28 MST

From: "Jim Fehlinger" <>
> RUSSELL: Well, they exhorted people. And, uh, didn't
> bother about seeing that the armies held the frontiers
> or anything like that, or that the taxation system
> was reformed. They were occupied in founding monasteries
> and nunneries and so forth, and thought that far
> more important than preserving the Empire. Well, so, in
> the present day, when the human race is falling, I find
> that, uh, eminent divines think that it's much more
> important to prevent artificial insemination than it is
> to prevent the kind of world war that will exterminate
> the whole lot of us. And that seems to me to show
> a lack of sense of proportion.

Things haven't changed much. The US thinks it more important to teach
Political Correctitude than to defend its borders (indicating the US
Empire may be on the same trajectory, only faster). Bush's brand of
religionism doesn't bode well for non-theist extropic expansion either.
And although by no means the intellectual peer of Russell, nevertheless
Jesse Ventura summed up the situation forcefully by saying "Religion is
for weak minded people."

Russell did perhaps an even better job of summing up the relation of
religion and cruelty:
"You find this curious fact, that the more intense has been the religion
of any period and the more profound has been the dogmatic belief, the
greater has been the cruelty and the worse has been the state of affairs."
[Why I Am Not A Christian, 1927]

I liked Russell the moment I laid eyes on WINAC in the school library (at
age 12), and I still enjoy a volume of his quotations. Here's another on

"These various forms of madness -- communism, nazism, Japanese
imperialism -- are the natural result of the impact of science on nations
with a strong pre-scientific culture. The effects in Asia are still at an
early stage. The effects on the native races of Africa have hardly begun.
It is therefore unlikely that the world will recover sanity in the near
[The Science To Save Us From Science, 1950]

Great brains have their foibles... Russell was also famous for his "Ban
The Bomb" position. Seems like one of the hazards of genius is the
occasional flight into nonsense. Note the same silliness occurred with
Linus Pauling and vitamin C; Einstein and Zionism, etc.

Stay hungry,

--J. R.

Useless hypotheses:
 consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind, free will, qualia

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