Friday, August 08, 2008

New Scientist's take on animosity toward Reason

New Scientist (July 26-Aug 1) ran seven articles on Why People Hate Reason (I thought the word 'Hate' was a bit strong but that is what they chose). Seven reasons given were (and the writer who expounded it in the corresponding article are outlined below.

1. Morality can't come from reason alone - Rowan Williams (Archbishop of Canterbury).
2. Science is easily abused - sociologist David Miller and linguist Noam Chomsky
3. Reason is better with creativity - artist Keith Tyson
4. People see the world through stories not logic - bioethicist Tom Shakespeare
5. Reason doesn't even follow its own rules - mathematician Roger Penrose
6. No one really uses reason anyway - neuroscientist Chris Frith
7. Absolute faith in a single authority is never sensible - philosopher Mary Midgley

I have an 8th reason myself - comfort. Most people are creatures of habit and detest having their existing paradigms challenged - even if it means taking a stance that is not justified by reason.
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