Sunday, July 4, 2010

Borders of irrationality

This is from a local newspaper North Shore Times:
“ORTHODOX Jews in St Ives could be freed up to leave their homes on the Sabbath and other holy days if a proposal to create a religious zone ringing the suburb is approved by Ku-ring-gai Council.

The Jewish community wants to create the zone, known as an eruv.

Once physically inside this zone, orthodox Jews would be able to do otherwise forbidden activities such as pushing and carrying objects including car keys and tissues.
The plan requires the installation of 27 poles of 6m height and connecting wires.”

Richard Dawkins said "Tradition has its place, but not where factual knowledge is concerned." and continued:
"There are many ways in which people differ from one another by virtue of traditions handed down through the generations, and these are often admirable and worthy of respect. But there is a qualitative difference between a cultural tradition and factual evidence, and we should not feel obliged to respect, or encourage the perpetuation of, beliefs about reality which we know to be untrue, simply because they form part of a tradition, even an ancient tradition. When you put it like that, I find it hard to imagine how any person of goodwill and intelligence could seriously disagree. Yet because it is usually not put like that, there are many people, even non-religious people, who have been duped into confusing the ‘cultural tradition’ side of religion with the ‘statement of facts’ side, and endowing both with the respect due only to one."
But do we need walls, wires to divide the greater society we live in based on irrational belief systems and do we have obligation to respect such nonsense even though they may merely be seem cultural elements of a tradition?

Original news link

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