Inspiring Article by Ann Druyan in the Nov/Dec 2003 Issue of "Skeptical Inquirer"

Fortunately, this article is available online. I strongly encourage you to read it. No article I've read in a while motivated and moved me as much as this one has. Here are a couple of quotes that resonated with me:

It seems to me that the biggest challenge we face is to evolve a language that couples the cold-eyed skepticism and rigor of science with a sense of community, a sense of belonging that religion provides. We have to make it matter what is true. If instead we say that what really matters is to have faith, what really matters is to believe, we'll never get there. It's not enough to have forty minutes of science in the daily school program, because science shouldn't be compartmentalized that way. Science is a way of looking at absolutely everything.

What I find disappointing about most religious beliefs is that they are a kind of statement of contempt for nature and reality. It's absurdly hubristic. It holds the myths of a few thousand years above nature's many billion-yeared journey. It says reality is inferior and less satisfying than the stories we make up.

To me, faith is antithetical to the values of science. Not hope, which is very different from faith. I have a lot of hope. Faith is saying that you can know the outcome of things based on what you hope is true. And science is saying in the absence of evidence, we must withhold judgment. It's so hard to do. It's so tempting to believe in the lie detector or in heaven or that you know who you are based on the day of the month that you were born. It's a sort of unearned self-esteem. It's an identity that you can slip right into, and it's tremendously reassuring. So, I don't have any faith, but I have a lot of hope, and I have a lot of dreams of what we could do with our intelligence if we had the will and the leadership and the understanding of how we could take all of our intelligence and our resources and create a world for our kids that is hopeful.

The final paragraphs where Ann talks about the late Carl Sagan are touching and emotional. I think it's well-worth your time to read it and think about Ann's statements, no matter what your views are of religion and science.

* Posted at 06.25.2004 01:58:32 PM CST | Link *

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