Another excellent, really stimulating podcast from Chris Mooney. Thanks, Chris!
I’d love to read Dr. McCauley’s book, as his points not only seem valuable, but have considerable ramifications regarding how we non-believers should communicate with, and otherwise deal with, religious folk on a day-to-day basis.
It seems to me, though, that the terms of discussion should be broadened generally despite the title of Dr. McCauley’s book.
The battle is not simply “science vs. religion,” but rather evidence-based thinking vs. superstition, is it not? The type of automatic / intuitive / uncritical thinking that Dr. McCauley points up is not only the basis of much religion, but of virtually all superstitions, right? And of course, critical thinking is not confined only to scientific endeavors.
While we might never “get rid of” religion, we have made and are making strides in many parts of the world in literacy and education generally, which at least indirectly dampens our human tendencies toward superstition and consequently makes the world a better place.
Along the same line, understanding history, reading literature, and study of other humanities is conducive to enhancing thinking and reducing superstition, too, perhaps not as directly as a really good grounding in science, but in very key ways, nevertheless.
To think only in terms of “science vs. religion” (as Chris has so often seemed to me to do) really limits understanding of what’s going on in the world, it seems to me.
(Among other things, religion’s most horrific damage is not to science and science education, bad as that is, but to peace and fulfillment among human beings in a hundred other areas of life.)