Religion vs science 1

January 2, 2004

David Trim (Letters, THES , December 12) suggests that the "terrible consequences" of religious belief decried by Richard Dawkins (Books, THES , November 28) are matched by similar "terrible consequences" of evolutionary science, particularly Nazi eugenics. His conclusion is that these are both minority distortions that need not undermine belief in religion or science itself.

There are two problems with this. In the first place, Nazi eugenics was based on the religious myth of the existence of race found, for example, in Genesis, but that appears to have little basis in (scientific) fact. Second, scientific hypotheses can be subject to rational criticism and refutation. Religion is, by its nature, irrational; the believer who wants to decry religious-based terrorism has no solid base from which to do so.

Peter Allmark
Northern General Hospital, Sheffield

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