I came upon a video, made by the Center for Inquiry, that states almost the exact same beliefs that I have about science and reason. Most of the people who appear in the video are world-class scientists and philosophers, including my top 3 favorite authors (Dawkins, Dennett and Pinker).
Listen, and marvel at the rational viewpoint that the video describes. Like those in the video, I hold reason to be one of the highest values of humanity. Of course, this is not to say that there’s no room for anything else. I, and the people in this video, are not merely cold, calculating robots. We experience emotions, have a sense of wonder, feel hope, and admire beauty, just like most other people. The message that this video is trying to convey is just that when we are dealing with reality, there’s no use in fooling ourselves. And the way to avoid fooling ourselves is to use reason, evidence and scientific thinking.
The need to reclaim a place for science and reason in our ways of thinking is clear, and Prof. Dawkins succintly summarises the rationale here in the video.
"It will not be enough to believe, to wish or to pray for solutions. We have real problems that demand real answers."
Below is a transcipt, and I have provided links to some biographies in Wikipedia. Please feel free to look around.
Richard Dawkins : There was a time when people looked to the stars for answers to their problems.
Lawrence Krauss : There was a time when people flocked to witch-doctors and magic men to heal their loved ones. A time when life or death depended on their appeal to the gods and ritual sacrifice.
Steven Pinker : There was a time when people were ruled by kings. A time when men and women were tortured, even burned at the stake for their beliefs.
Susan Jacoby : Normally we would dissmiss such backward thinking as a relic of our uneducated ancestors, people of long ago who didn’t know any better. In fact, this old thinking, this ignorance, still permeates our society today.
Damon Linker : Many people in the United States and around the world still rely on ancient beliefs to tell them what is right and wrong, who to love, and who to hate. They still rely on ancient texts to form their policy and guide their nations.
E. O. Wilson : In this modern age, we should know better. We do know better. The tools and methods of scientific thinking have expanded our knowledge of life and our place in this universe.
Jennifer Michael Hecht : This knowledge, based on experience and evidence, the natural rather than the supernatural, has brought enormous benefit to humanity.
Ann Druyan : The values of science nurture our curiosity and encourage us to seek new information about our world. They give us freedom to ask questions and keep us open to new and better possibilities.
Daniel Dennett : From medicine to industry to democracy, the values of science have allowed us to question, to learn, to adapt, and to thrive.
Pinker : In the coming decades we face serious challenges and policy decisions. Hard decisions, about energy, climate change, …
Wilson : …, bio- and nano- technologies, …
Dennett : …, surveillance and privacy rights, …
Krauss : …, economic and cultural globalization.
Dawkins : It will not be enough to believe, to wish or to pray for solutions. We have real problems that demand real answers.
Druyan : There was a time when dogma, superstition and magical thinking were the best that people could do. But now is not that time. Now is the time for reason, science and freethinking.
Paul Kurtz : The Center for Inquiry is committed to science, reason and free inquiry in every area of human interest. We are here to promote a scientific outlook, to expand the understanding of the methods of science. We invite you to learn more about the ways we are advancing reason, humanist values and secularism around the world. If these values are as important to you as they are to us, we ask you to join the Center for Inquiry. Let your voice be heard. With your help, we can ensure that our time, indeed your time, will be a time of science and reason.