Over at Cosmic Variance, Sean Carroll wants to get back to research, and so is taking a break from blogging of undetermined length. I, for one, will miss his posts on physics and his cool-headed, reasoned analysis of the faith/science question. Appropriately, his last substantive post bears the double-entendre title “Reluctance to let go”: it’s about how faith impedes understanding of the world.
. . . the public discourse is so badly distorted that it has little relationship to the real issues. Instead of taking the natural world seriously, we have discussions about “Faith.” We pretend that questions of meaning and purpose and value must be the domain of religion. We are saddled with bizarre, antiquated attitudes toward sex and love, which have terrible consequences for real human beings.
I understand the reluctance to let go of religion as the lens through which we view questions of meaning and morality. For thousands of years it was the best we could do; it provided social structures and a framework for thinking about our place in the world. But that framework turns out not to be right, and it’s time to move on.
Rather than opening our eyes and having the courage and clarity to accept the world as it is, and to tackle some of the real challenges it presents, as a society we insist on clinging to ideas that were once perfectly reasonable, but have long since outlived their usefulness. Nature obeys laws, we are part of nature, and our job is to understand our lives in the context of reality as it really is. Once that attitude goes from being “extremist” to being mainstream, we might start seeing some real progress.
Can anyone claim posts like this are strident or uncivil? Come back soon, Sean; we’ll miss you.