Oh, I should probably correct myself on two points, first in saying that by "religion" I really meant faith in an infallible solution to plug the gaps in our understanding, or to satisfy our pursuit for meaningful existence -- not that I would boil religion down to either of those things, of course.* Second, I didn't mean to say that the science based benefits received from conducting wars could possibly justify their having happened, or even that there are any qualities of religion worth retaining (There aren't any, so far as I see, save perhaps for granting certain figures in artistic history the conviction to fuel their creative yearning... although even those convictions are questionable given the times in which many of these figures appear), rather that I don't look favourably upon a secular utopia due to what the consequences of such a world would mean for our overall development and learning.
Don't leave us with cliffhangers like that. I can see reasons why you might think the more benign aspects of religion are worth holding on to, but I struggle to think of the advantages of war.
WWII might be an exception. I suppose you could say it was a war worth fighting, given it was in defence of the oppression and horror wielded by the Axis powers, and that a lot of scientific and engineering progress came out of it as a byproduct. But this was one succession of conflicts; it's a stretch to use it as a model to justify every single war that's ever been waged.
Don't take this to mean that I would sooner wave onstage a conflict that I could have prevented had I held the power to do so...: It is more a remark on how conflict is not only a critical part of the human process but, indeed, the very essence of it (emotionally, intellectually, through sport, debate etc.), that I feel it is integral to our ongoing struggle for knowledge, progress, and understanding of the universe as a whole.
@Maes: Interesting :p
*Incidentally, the abolition of religion from public discourse is something I certainly would like to see.
Last edited by Alfonzo on Feb 1 2013 at 09:52