I’ve been reading Carl Sagan’s excellent book, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (1996). This wise popularizer of scientific thought presents some strong reasons to “read the world” rather than ancient “revealed” books. As Sagan says, “There are wonders enough out there without our inventing any.” (p. 59)
“Science is forever whispering, ‘You’ve been wrong before.’ Despite all the talk of humility, show me something comparable in religion. Scripture is said to be divinely inspired–a phrase with many meanings. But what if it’s simply made up by fallible humans? Miracles are attested, but what if they’re instead some mix of charlatanry, unfamiliar states of consciousness, misapprehensions of natural phenomena, and mental illness? No contemporary religion and no New Age belief seems to me to take sufficient account of the grandeur, magnificence, subtlety and intricacy of the Universe revealed by science. The fact that so little of the findings of modern science is prefigured in Scripture to my mind casts further doubt on its divine inspiration.” (pp. 34-35)
“Science is far from a perfect instrument of knowledge. It’s just the best we have.” (p. 27)
More on my blog, Beyond God.