Mokslas, religija ir religinis jausmas
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This book focuses on the diversity of relationships between science and religion: still persistent confrontation, possibilities of independence, dialogue and integration. Special attention is devoted to critical analysis of the seminal work The God Illusion by an outspoken atheist Richard Dawkins. The study argues that Dawkins’ ideas exhibit inconsistency, they are often contradictory to each other, scientific and historical facts tend to be presented in a biased way and the most recent findings of philosophical (epistemological) research seems to be neglected. Also, the book offers a thorough critique of Dawkins’ attempt to oppose religion and science on the basis that he does not provide either adequate definitions or explanations how he treats science and religion, having in mind that there is a considerable number of them and most remain somewhat ambiguous. This inevitably raises doubts about validity of the idea that science and religion are implacable enemies. By claiming that infamous physicists Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking were atheists, Dawkins did not try to investigate why Einstein considered himself as a “religious nonbeliever” and why Hawkins was a longtime member of the Pontifical Science Academy. He only pointed out that these scientists had an inclination to use meaningless religious metaphors. Meanwhile, his own text is full of metaphors and similes. For example, Dawkins’ application of thecargo cult metaphor to Christianity seems fairly surprising, whereas his meme theory or memetics raises doubts whether Dawkins is an atheist himself. Though this theory aims at “proving” that religion is a “mental parasite”, the logic lying behind memetics fully corresponds to the logic of occultism, differing only in terminology. Interestingly, although occultism is typically defined as a “side road of religion”, it is inseparable from religious belief. Having relied on achievements of cognitive science, Dawkins neglects the idea that cognitive linguistics has provided strong arguments that metaphors have power to reveal and highlight a person’s (including Dawkins) underlying attitudes. Thus, his assumption that Einstein and Hawking’s religious metaphors are only linguistic ornaments is likely to be erroneous. Having admitted that his text is atheist-oriented, which means biased, Dawkins constantly stresses that the basic difference between science and religion is that the former is objective while the latter is subjective. He however did not take into consideration intersubjectivity and thematic origins / teleology inherent in science. Meanwhile, Gerald Holton’s principle of thematic origins in science explains not only the phenomenon of many prominent “religious nonbelievers” such as Einstein, Hawking, Bohr, Bohm, Dirac, Gell-Mann, Planck, but also Dawkins’ atheistic attitude.