Science versus Religion, Again

With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.
Steven Weinberg, quoted in The New York Times, April 20, 1999 US physicist (1933 – )

I think this shows just how short-sighted and prejudiced some people can
be. Of course in the modern era (which, we should always remind
ourselves, won’t be so modern in the next) religion is a convenient
scapegoat for those who think Dan Brown’s DaVinci code are nonfiction.
It is too easy to believe that. And so that kind of logic should be
suspect. Science could easily be substituted for religion here. But,
in the end, I believe it’s just as simplistic to say science brings evil
on us.
Even if you contend that ends justifies the means, certain means can be
considered evil. For example, it is often argued that the thousands who
died in the blasts and subsequent radiation sickness in Hiroshima and
Nagasaki, allowed for an end to the war and so saved lives. Personally
I don’t believe that argument but it would be hard to argue that what
happened to the innocent people in those two cities was not evil. Now
that bomb was the product of the Manhattan Project and so directly
caused by physicists and politicians not priests nor rabbis nor mullahs
nor any kind of religious zealot.
That isn’t to say that evil hasn’t been perpetrated in the name of a
religion. It certainly has but as I just showed, it’s been done for
other causes too.
No Mr. Weinberg. It does not take religion for good people to do evil
things. Evil happens all the time and around us all and doesn’t require
the help of religion or science or any other paradigm. It’s just
people. Stop the simple-minded scapegoating so we can deal with the
real problem.
I believe that there is, within each of us, the potential for great good
or great evil even if something lukewarm in between is the norm. We can
easily hide behind excuses about end causes but it always comes down to
a single personal choice. Who’s to know what we shall each pick?


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