Q&A from Dr. Philip Kitcher's lecture "Religion after Darwin"
Many people believe that Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection poses a threat to religion (specifically to Christianity). Dr. Kitcher suggests that, taken on its own, Darwin’s work can be assimilated by many world religions and many versions of Christianity. There is, however, a deeper problem.
The scientific approach that underlies Darwin’s achievements is inimical to all but the most liberal forms of religion. Once this point is appreciated, it is tempting to believe, as the militant Darwinian atheists of our time triumphantly proclaim, that religious practices should simply be eradicated.
Dr. Kitcher argues that this is incorrect, and that a genuinely humane secularism – a real Secular Humanism – should absorb some characteristically religious attitudes. We need to discard the myths offered by supernaturalist doctrines, but we also need what Dewey called "A Common Faith."
Dr. Philip Kitcher is the John Dewey Professor of Philosophy and James Barker Professor of Contemporary Civilization at Columbia University.