Dave's Mormon Inquiry Weblog
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  Thursday, November 20, 2003


A Great Disturbance in the Force.  Yes, a powerful new weblog has appeared in the blogosphere, Times and Seasons.  Go check it out.  Try the Mormonism and Nature post, which includes a reference to Nafanua: Saving the Samoan Rainforest, by Paul Alan Cox, reviewed here.  Such eclectic tastes suggest an interesting future for T&S. 9:53:24 PM      

Religion News Blog reports Polygamy rehab plan is boycotted by groupAn antipolygamy group is protesting a decision by the Utah Attorney General's Office to include a plural wife in a project to aid women and children leaving the polygamous lifestyle, comparing the situation to inviting a rapist to join an anti-rape group.  In a separate story Woman loses custody to "sister wife," the Blog reports the messy details of what amounts to a polygamous custody battle.  I find these and similar articles useful for acquiring facts about polygamy as actually practiced in the real world, as opposed to the idealized portrait of polygamy often held out in discussions of its historical practice by LDS leaders in Illinois or Utah.
9:23:13 PM      

  Richard Dawkins

The Religion News Blog reports his latest remarks in Oxford Scientist Launches Sharp Critique of Religion.  Sample: Despite the massive costs religion has imposed on human society, it persists because children do not question their parentsí beliefs, renowned Oxford scientist Richard Dawkins argued in a fiery lecture last night at Lowell Lecture Hall.  I confess that I like Richard Dawkins, evolutionary writer and author of such popular books as The Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker. And I like authors who publish good science books directed to a popular audience.  And I am no fan of "creation science."   

But I think his observations, at least on this theme, are starting to exceed the scope of his expertise.  First, kids pick up all their initial beliefs and opinions, religious or secular, from parents, so that says little about why religion persists.  And fervent scientists are as religious in their devotions (to science) as believers are to their respective sects, and obtain similar psychic benefits (a sense of meaning, a code of conduct, a community of fellowship).  There are God-oriented religions, humanistic religions, secular religions, and private religions.  He doesn't seem to sense that giving a label to God-oriented religion provides little or no social content for him to critique; his model could explain why English kids grow up to be soccer fans as easily as it explains religious attachments, so it's not really saying anything about religion, is it?  For a little irony, go check out this shrine to Dawkins put up by one of his worshippers, I mean followers, I mean fans.  Notice the scientific icons arrayed before the portrait of the sacerdotal authority figure.  Hey, I like the guy.  Just stick to the knitting. 8:59:59 PM      



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