Monday 14 January 2013

The Ascent of None

On Sunday morning Nicky Campbell (isn’t he a bit old to still be called Nicky?) hosted the BBC talk show The Big Questions, this week’s question being “Is it time for all religions to accept evolution as fact?” I love this show because it manages to gather together in one place a plethora of beliefs as wide and outlandish as you’ll find in any multicultural inner city school… except these are adults!

Shakespeare’s seven ages of man kicks off with the mewling and puking infant, followed by the whining schoolboy and then the sighing lover, but he misses out the bit where you open your eyes and make your own mind up. Except, does he? Because too many people drag into adulthood unquestioned beliefs that rely entirely on blind faith. 

The assembled audience and participants were drawn from the whole range of religious beliefs in the UK, by which of course I mean mostly Islam – it is the BBC after all – and every single one of them was utterly unprepared to accept what any of the few scientists had to say about the hot topic of evolution, even those scientists who also professed a religious leaning. 

Science doesn't have all the answers – in particular it can’t answer “Why?” but religion has exactly no answers. Not a single one. I have no particular axe to grind, but religion has all the provable credibility of astrology, phrenology, homeopathy and ‘crystals’. It may provide comfort in times of despair and it may provide a soothing hub for the cohesion of many communities, but where science requires evidence, religious belief requires only blind, unquestioning faith. 

In that respect, religion and left wing politics have much in common. Brooking no argument, the articles of that faith say that left is God and right is Satan. That being caring and happy and clappy for rainbow-coloured ‘fairness’ will heal the sick and feed the poor; that, somehow, there will always be enough money to pay for all that compassion, so lacking in the legions of hell – or The Tory Party as they call it. 

And yet, despite many otherwise intelligent people being drawn to it, the policies of the left rely entirely on sufficient numbers on the right remaining to earn the money and be repeatedly plundered in the name of fairness. The doctrine says that the harder you labour the more Labour must take from you; that the less likely you are to need ‘social’ services the more you should pay to provide them. Socialism can only really work where everybody believes and if everybody believes what use will we have for evolution?

As always, I try and find a suitable picture to illustrate my theme. I can only ascribe the happy coincidence of the appearance of this tweet by Ricky Gervais on my timeline this morning to divine providence!

The European Union debate is another which revolves around constantly reciting the dogma that to leave would be a disaster but, just as with all faiths, no objective rationale is ever raised, no bottom line audited. The truth is, nobody knows. Another truth is that staying in means we will forever be enslaved to the high altar of a socialist federal dream, with no opportunity to explore our ages of man beyond the dreamy, blinded lover.

Maybe science will one day find its God Particle; the thing that, once and for all, proves the existence of a higher being. Until then I'll continue to question, continue to disbelieve and wear my scepticism on my sleeve.

(And if you're still not convinced of the Messianic monstrosity that is the EU, take a long look at this document on the 1975 Referendum Stitch-up , which pretty much sums up how I've always perceived it to be.)


  1. The religious experience you outline has not been mine at all. However when on the BBC only shouty idiots seem to get air time. Sadly very few people have studied scriptures enough to understand the true meanings from when they were written in Greek ect....

    But as the BBC has an agenda don't expect them to allow the smart ones on.

    1. It doesn't matter what was written down, in any form, long ago. Those are, at the very best, subjective historical accounts and opinions. There is no proof of the existence of any form of God, so your belief is entirely your own and if it is a comfort to you, then so be it and that's great. But, by any objective standard the ONLY scrap of evidence you have for God is that there's no evidence against his existence. By many, many, SUBjective criteria, if there IS a god he/she/it is a deeply unpleasant entity indeed.