Monday, January 09, 2006


If you want to pick up a good read, get Jared Diamond's "Guns, Germs and Steel." It's about the factors that allowed Western civilization, including capitalism, to progress while other civilizations did not. It's being made into a PBS series and it won a Pulitzer Prize.

If you're looking for the sequel, however, avoid "The Victory of Reason" by Rodney Stark. It's not a continuation of the topic; rather, Stark credits God Almighty for the west's success at running things.

"The success of the West, including the rise of science, rested entirely on religious foundations, and the people who brought it about were devout Christians," he argues in his book. "All of these remarkable developments can be traced to the unique Christian conviction that progress was a God-given obligation, entailed in the gift of reason...While the other world religions emphasized mystery and intuition, Christianity alone embraced reason and logic as the primary guide to religious truth."

The San Francisco Chronicle thinks that the book won't further discussion as it will polarize proponents of both sides.

Most of you are probably chuckling about that part about the gift of reason. Most scientists during the scientific revolution were indeed devoutly religious, including Newton, Kepler, Darwin, and Linnaeus. But don't forget that while they were Christian, they followed the scientific method to reach their conclusions. Sad that reason and logic are not traits found with creation-scientists, intelligent design supporters, fear-mongering homophobes and other poor examples of Christians today.

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