Re: [asa] David S Wilson

From: Merv <>
Date: Sun May 06 2007 - 10:04:44 EDT

Randy Isaac wrote:
> Religion. Wilson says there are six hypotheses of religion, 3 of them
> non-adaptive and 3 adaptive. I didn't catch the non-adaptive ones but
> the 3 adaptive ones are individual level, group level, and parasitic.
> His own approach is group level adaptive and he strongly disagrees
> with Dennett, Hitchens, Dawkins, Stenger, etc. who have focused on
> the parasitic view of religion. Wilson believe the data strongly
> favor a very positive role of religion in group survival.
Some would then be tempted to see Wilson as an ally then against Dawkins
& Co. But the question of whether or not Wilson is hostile to or
friendly to religion is a good one. This would be a case where there
is a choice: to analyze something from without, thereby denying
yourself (and your followers) any participating role in the thing
analyzed (religion). Or to participate in the thing accepted as good,
thereby giving up one's status as an independent observer. In this
regard, Wilson is coming to terms by doing what Dawkins refuses to do:
instead of banishing religion, try to replace its foundation of a
transcendent God with that of Science. Maybe this is splitting hairs,
though, as I imagine Dawkins wouldn't have much problem with this.
Wilson just doesn't seem to get so paranoid about the word "religion"
and acknowledging a potentially religious direction one could take using
science for a foundation. But his analysis, friendly though it seems at
places, must remain an alien thing to a culture that participates in
religion. As Lewis stated so well (in the "Abolition of Man" I think)
It is a shame when a man ceases to smell the rose and becomes aware of
himself smelling the rose. Or elsewhere he writes, that a man does not
consider his religion when he is practicing it -- he is too busy being
religious. He has no time to study himself being religious -- or if he
does, he has to temporarily step outside his own religion and stop being
religious to do it. Wilson's denial of God is a denial of the very
thing he wishes to see the good effects from. But for those who believe
that the sole good purpose of religion lies in this world and this world
only (which may include a great many liberal Christians today) ,
Wilson's challenge may be insurmountable. I think it wise for us to
consider how we can answer him.


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Received on Sun May 6 10:00:05 2007

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