Why is religion so important to most Americans and so trivial to most intellectuals?

January 21, 2002 by David Gelernter

The 5th Annual Edge Question reflects the spirit of the Edge motto: “To arrive at the edge of the world’s knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together, and have them ask each other the questions they are asking themselves.” David Gelernter asks: why is religion important to some?

Originally published January 2002 at Edge. Published on KurzweilAI.net January 21, 2002. Read Ray Kurzweil’s Edge question here.

Is it just a matter of IQ? (Though I thought intellectuals no longer believed in IQ…) But empirically it can’t be an IQ issue, because so many of history’s greatest minds based their lives on religion — from Michaelangelo or Bach to Spinoza or Dante or Kant. Do modern intellectuals actually believe that all such people are naively deluded? Or could they be missing something themselves?

Copyright © 2002 by Edge Foundation, Inc.