Stephen Uhl went through a life development fairly similar to mine: Strong belief in our respective inherited religious traditions, but we studied ourselves out of them. I share Uhl’s utopian hope for an increasingly secularist/rationalist society. And as an exercise of one man’s imagination, I have no quarrel with this book. However, I think that it does reveal some flaws and naiveties.
I am not so sure we can make a sharp distinction between political matters (where the majority deserves respect) and scientific matters (where the majority should get little respect)(p. 72).
I am not sure that young humans have a natural drive toward rationality (p. 68).
We are advised to discard our inheritance from pre-rational humans—Right! Like taming fire, invention of tools, agriculture, etc. I am not sure where the line should be drawn between pre-rational humans and rational/scientific humans. (“What we, as a species, learned early on in pre-scientific centuries, was imprinted deeply and is difficult to unlearn…” (p. 73). Do we really want to discard all what we learned in pre-scientific centuries?)
There are instances where I am not sure Uhl understands the theory of evolution. “Nature put eyes in the front of our heads so we can look forward” (p. 59). I doubt that nature cares if we follow a forward looking ideology or a backward looking ideology.
“It somehow does not seem natural for members of species homo sapiens to prey on one another” (p. 71). I suspect it seemed quite natural to our early ancestors. “[T]he predator-prey relationship within a species seems unnatural and illogical” (p. 71), but I suspect there are any number of species that evolved an intra-species predator-prey relationship (males eating their young, etc).
Uhl comes down pretty hard on Moses, but he attributes to Moses uncritically exactly what is attributed to him in the Pentateuch and by tradition the Pentateuch’s authorship.
There are times that he seems to advocate the forcible upbringing of children according to rational lights.
The Catholic Church did not teach a flat earth at the time of Galileo and Copernicus (p. 36); Dante’s earth was a sphere.