Lawrence Krauss to Nicholas Kristof: Praise Reason

In case you missed it, here’s the letter that physicist Lawrence Krauss sent to The New York Times in response to Nicholas Kristof’s column on the recent science and religion books by Robert Wright, Karen Armstrong, and Nicholas Wade:

There seems something facile about Robert Wright’s suggestion that the fact that “god” grows better over time reflects evidence that there is higher purpose, or Karen Armstrong’s notion that pushing reasoning powers to their limit, stretching language and living compassionately produce a transcendence that should be interpreted in a religious sense, and I am surprised that Mr. Kristof presents their arguments as if they offer some rational middle ground for discussion.
“God” has gotten more moral over time because even organized religions have been dragged forward, often kicking and screaming, by human reason, which itself has been pushed forward by our discoveries about nature—discoveries that belied obviously false notions about superiority of one race over another or the need to impose divine vengeance to respond to simple, explicable acts of nature.
While it is surely true that faith itself may exist beyond the bounds of rationality, what Mr. Kristof should be praising is reason and not faith.
If one wants to find transcendent examples of pushing reasoning to its limit and stretching language to the end of its tether, one could do worse than to read the books of my colleagues Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris.

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