Steven Pinker and Rebecca Goldstein Interviewed at Salon

Steven Pinker (author of The Blank Slate) and Rebecca Goldstein (author of The Mind-Body Problem) were interviewed on Salon.com today.

Here’s what the intellectual powerhouse of a couple had to say on religion:

Do both of you consider yourselves atheists?

[pause] GOLDSTEIN: Yes.

PINKER: Yes.

GOLDSTEIN: Proud atheists.

PINKER: There, we said it. [Laughs.]

So you have to hesitate for a moment before you use that dirty word?

PINKER: Atheists are the most reviled minority in the United States, so it’s no small matter to come out and say it.

But can you really equate religion with astrology, or religion with alchemy? No serious scholar still takes astrology or alchemy seriously. But there’s a lot of serious thinking about religion.

PINKER: I would put faith in that same category because faith is believing something without a good reason to believe it. I would put it in the same category as astrology and alchemy.

Those are fighting words!

GOLDSTEIN: [Laughs.] He said it, not me.

The rest of the interview is fascinating, too, if you’re into that “intelligent conversation” thing.

(via A Whore in the Temple of Reason)


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

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  • Steelman

    Interesting article. I like what I’ve read, in other articles, from Pinker in the past, although I have never (yet) read any of his books. I had no idea that Goldstein and Pinker were together. They sound like the perfect, nerdy match. 🙂

  • Polly

    I just bought “The Language Instinct” by Pinker last week, used, for a buck! I haven’t started reading it, yet. I’d never heard of him, but since buying the book his name keeps popping up wherever I look.I bought the book out of an interest in linguistics, I didn’t know he was an atheist, too. 🙂