Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Science (and Economics?) and Religion

The Church of England (in the person of the Rev Dr Malcolm Brown, their director of Mission and Public Affairs) has published a belated apology to Charles Darwin, called Good religion needs good science. For those of us worried about the sometimes contentious relation between economics and religion, in connection with repugnant transactions, for example, it is worth reading.

Dr Brown notes "It is hard to avoid the thought that the reaction against Darwin was largely based on what we would now call the 'yuk factor' (an emotional not an intellectual response) when he proposed a lineage from apes to humans."

His concluding paragraph:
"Charles Darwin: 200 years from your birth, the Church of England owes you an apology for misunderstanding you and, by getting our first reaction wrong, encouraging others to misunderstand you still. We try to practice the old virtues of 'faith seeking understanding' and hope that makes some amends. But the struggle for your reputation is not over yet, and the problem is not just your religious opponents but those who falsely claim you in support of their own interests. Good religion needs to work constructively with good science – and I dare to suggest that the opposite may be true as well."

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