Tag: grayling

Science and Religion on the Cam, Part II

By Chris Mooney | June 10, 2010 8:33 am

800px-KingsCollegeChapelWestIn my last post, I mentioned that I would be addressing some criticisms of the Templeton-Cambridge fellowship. There is, for instance, the take of former fellow John Horgan, which is widely cited and certainly critical (although it also acknowledges the value of the fellowship–which, after all, Horgan applied for and accepted).

Among other things, Horgan writes the following:

My ambivalence about the foundation came to a head during my fellowship in Cambridge last summer. The British biologist Richard Dawkins, whose participation in the meeting helped convince me and other fellows of its legitimacy, was the only speaker who denounced religious beliefs as incompatible with science, irrational, and harmful. The other speakers— three agnostics, one Jew, a deist, and 12 Christians (a Muslim philosopher canceled at the last minute)— offered a perspective clearly skewed in favor of religion and Christianity.

First, I do not agree that I have heard skewed perspectives here. I don’t think any of the talks during the past two weeks could be said to have delivered arguments “in favor of religion and Christianity.” If anything, some of them–a presentation by Petr Granqvist that interpreted religion from the viewpoint of “attachment theory,” suggesting it might merely fulfill a psychological need from childhood; or a presentation by Kathleen Taylor on morality, which gave an evolutionary view that deeply undermined the workability of religious moral systems–could be taken as quite corrosive to traditional religion.

Yesterday, meanwhile, we heard from Robin Le Poidevin, a philosopher who is the author of (that’s right) Arguing for Atheism: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion. Read More


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