Applauding Melvin Bragg


Heroes of the Modern Age

So much credit is given these days to the thoughts and ideas of scientists as heroes of our modern age, especially prominent celebrity scientists like Richard Dawkins and to a lesser degree Brian Cox. In the mind of the collective consciousness, it is horrifying philosophically speaking, when a great scientific idea is heralded as the ‘answer’ to all things and the proposer of a new scientific theory is given god-like status.

Any new pinnacle suddenly reached in human understanding becomes, it seems by default, the platform for disbelieving all that went before. We live daily in the shock of the future, where as Toffler argued, we cannot ever keep up with the pace of the juggernaut. We have no time to reflect, so we simply jettison the past (often the riches of the past) to lighten the load so that we may keep up.

I applaud Melvin Bragg who at the Hay Literary Festival recently, when speaking of the importance of the English King James Bible, said as an aside, much to this effect that ‘he could not understand how someone like Dawkins, who obviously has great intelligence, can be so profoundly wrong about matters spiritual’. His audience was not quite prepared for such a brave statement; their silence indicated their confusion, in the face of the relentless blind acceptance of new scientific ideas often so arrogantly stated by society’s ‘heroes’.

Religion, spirituality, science, technology, justice, moral teaching and ethics, philosophy, laws and democracy in our society, all stem from the mind of man. No one subject has pre-eminence over another and no one subject can do without the rest it seems to me, and an holistic approach to answering the big questions can and should be given credence. No one should ever deny the right of any thinker to argue freely for his belief, but new ideas should be presented with respect for the views of others, an approach often disregarded by one track dogmatic scientists.

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