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Monday, March 10, 2008

Science, Religion, & Ian McEwan

In Australia for the Adelaide Festival of Art's Writers' Week, British novelist Ian McEwan spoke with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation about his book Atonement and his views on human nature. If he wasn't a writer, said McEwan, whose next novel will center around how humans can tackle the challenge of climate change, he'd like to be a scientist. "Science is a wonderful invention. I mean, it's an amazing thought system unlike any other in that it can correct itself. Skepticism is in-built. It's like a ship on a course. It can be constantly corrected and refined," he said. "Religion can't do that. Religion has its sacred text. They're fixed in time and people worship them. What's great about science I think is its flexibility. It will adjust with more information coming in."
McEwan also shared his views on religion earlier this year in an interview with The New Republic, saying that "it is crucial that people who do not have a sky god and don't have a set of supernatural beliefs assert their belief in moral values and in love and in the transcendence that they might experience in landscape or art or music or sculpture or whatever. Since they do not believe in an afterlife, it makes them give more valence to life itself. The little spark that we do have becomes all the more valuable when you can't be trading off any moments for eternity." —Heather Wax