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Áhugaverð grein eftir Paul Kurtz, Re-enchantment: A New Enlightenment (via: metafilter) Paul Kurtz er ötull talsmaður sekúlar húmanisma (manngildisstefnu) og hefur skrifað ótal bækur og greinar, ég á eina bók (ritgerðasafn) eftir hann, In Defense of Secualar Humanism, sem er ansi góð.

Í greininni bendir Kurtz á að það er kominn tími á nýja upplýsingaöld, hindurvitni vaða uppi á vorum tímum og ráðist er á vísindin úr öllum áttum.

When I say that we critically need a New Enlightenment, I mean a radical reorientation of the religious-moral outlook that now pervades so much of contemporary society. This involves a cultural reformation, the restructuring of first principles, beliefs, and values. Essential for this to occur is some confidence in the capacity of human beings to advance human knowledge, to contribute to scientific discovery, and to engage in rational inquiry.

Scientific knowledge has extended our understanding of the universe. It has altered our interpretation of the place of the human species within nature, as the theory of evolution has replaced theories of creation. It has aroused awe and astonishment, following Hubble, at the sheer size of the expanding universe. New planetary star systems and galaxies are being discovered almost daily. Scientific naturalism has thus dislodged theological supernaturalism as the cosmological outlook of the contemporary intellectual world. The promise of further exciting discoveries in science and technology, with their consequent benefits to humankind, is truly enormous.

Unfortunately, there has been a massive retreat from Enlightenment ideals in recent years, a return to pre-modern mythologies. There has been a resurgence of fundamentalist religions worldwide—Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam, Roman Catholicism, and Orthodox Judaism. Added to this are occult-paranormal claims, which allegedly transcend the existing scientific paradigm.


Regrettably, post-World War II Parisian savants spawned a vulgar post-modernist cacophony of Heideggerian-Derridian mush. Incoherent as some of their rhetoric may be, it has been influential in its rejection of the Enlightenment, the ethics of humanism, scientific objectivity, and democratic values. This literary-philosophical movement had made great inroads in the academy, especially within humanities faculties (though, fortunately, it is already being discredited in France itself). But it has taken a terrible toll, undermining confidence in any progressive agendas of emancipation.


JBJ - 06/04/04 11:56 #

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