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Published on Nov 6, 2013
Have the new atheists won the battle of ideas by proving that religion isn’t true? Scientists and philosophers such as Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and Lawrence Krauss have brought a new fire to debates on religion and belief by using the tools of logic and scientific method to dismantle the ‘God Hypothesis.’ But the response of ‘new religion’ is that theology cannot necessarily be understood by evidence or facts. As with the belief in equality or the belief that torture is wrong, defending religious belief in this misses the point. According to Peter Rollins, “faith is not placed into danger by being exposed as counter-factual,” and to try and defend it in this way is to undermine its very nature. Can these contemporary views of religion open a new front in the atheism vs. religion battle? Or are they just a strategy to co-opt the middle ground for the religious? Join new atheism’s most entertaining exponent Lawrence Krauss and postmodern religious firebrand Peter Rollins for a challenging debate.
Chair: Simon Longstaff is Executive Director of St James Ethics Centre, and is co-curator of Festival of Dangerous Ideas.
Lawrence M. Krauss is a renowned cosmologist and science communicator, and is the author of recent bestseller A Universe From Nothing.
Peter Rollins is a leading figure of the postmodern Christianity movement and author of books such as How (Not) to Speak of God and Insurrection.
In the ideology of Bolsheviks, intelligentsia is not a real class; its status is described by the Russian word “prosloyka”, which is normally translated as “stratum,” but in this context has a negative connotation, meaning “liner” or “separating layer”. In other words, intelligentsia does not have a “real” place in the structure of the society: it is a midlayer between “toilers” and “exploiters”.
Intelligentsia grows by means of “recruiting” from among the people of labor, but its produce, i.e., the produce of its intellectual labor is just a sort of goods ordered and paid by the exploiter class. Hence its independence is a mere ideological illusion, and in fact intelligentsia is by large a class of “lackeys” of bourgeoisie and landowners. While de facto being an exploited category, en masse it lacks the revolutionary drive. Ironically, this theory was put forth by the representatives of intelligentsia itself, notably Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky among many others. In particular, Lenin is famous for his caustic remark that “[the] intelligentsia is not the ‘brain of the nation’, it is the ‘feces of the nation’”.