Archive for August, 2013

I came across this the other day –

The Atheist Credo

I believe in one method

of data, hypothesis, and experiment

which was conceived by ancient Greek thinkers,

born in the Age of Enlightenment,

suffered under superstition

is struggling under religion

is bound to make people’s lives better

and will one day bring about a perfect world.

I found it on the blog of a neuroscientist called Kathleen Taylor, having read about her in a French magazine article.

My first reaction was what?!

“data, hypothesis, and experiment” ………. “will one day bring about a perfect world”


It’s niggled away at me since. Here’s my problem. Well, two problems actually. I’ll start with the last one first. What’s a perfect world? I wonder what the author imagines a “perfect world” would look like?

Do you have an idea what a perfect world would be like?

Do you have an idea of how to bring that about?

But before we get to that closing sentence, its the earlier statement that really worries me. Right from the outset.

“I believe in one method”

OK this “one” anything always worries me. It worried me when Mrs Thatcher said “there is no alternative” (“TINA”). It worried me because it made me think of totalitarian regimes, from Stalin to who knows who else? It made me think of fundamentalists – theists, as well as atheists. Nature loves diversity. The “one method” stance strikes me as being about power over others.

It brought back to mind Deleuze and his “three ways of thinking” – science is thinking about function, philosophy is thinking about concepts and art is thinking about percepts and affects. (I know I’m way over-simplifying what he said here, but that’s the gist of it as far as I’m aware). And that quickly led me onto to that second line  – “data, hypothesis and experiment” – she means, of course, “the scientific method” – as interpreted by modern day materialists. And again, I find myself thinking “Really? Is she having a laugh? Is this tongue in cheek?” …… maybe it is. But I suspect there are people who would resonate with this all the same.

So what about music, and painting, and poetry, and novels, and the theatre, and love, and laughter, and passion, and relationships? We can make those perfect through this one method too? This one method is enough to create a perfect world full of love, laughter and flourishing?

What do you think?


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