Atheist and theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss recently opined in an interview that religion could be gone in a generation. Consider his reasoning in support of this staggering conclusion (as quoted in the above-linked Salon.com article):
“This issue of gay marriage, it is going to go away, because if you’re a a child, a 13-year-old, they can’t understand what the issue is,” he continued. ”It’s gone. One generation is all it takes.”
“So, I can tell you a generation ago people said there is no way people would allow gay marriage, and slavery — essentially — [gone in] a generation; we got rid of it,” Krauss stated. “Change is always one generation away. So if we can plant the seeds of doubt in our children, religion will go away in a generation, or at least largely go away. And that’s what I think we have an obligation to do.”
So the idea is as follows. Attitudes toward the legality of gay marriage or the morality of slavery can change in a generation (i.e. approximately 30 years). Therefore, it is plausible that religion might disappear (or largely disappear) in thirty years.
That’s an interesting way to reason. Let’s consider applying that type of reasoning in another case.
A generation ago folks said that Sears, that retail juggernaut, was here to stay. Now Sears sits empty at one end of a decaying ghost mall while shoppers drive on to Walmart and Dollar Tree. Therefore, politics might disappear in the next thirty years.
From gay marriage to religion and from Sears to politics.
Lawrence Krauss is a theoretical physicist. In goes without saying that he is a very smart man. But being really smart in one area does not necessarily translate to other areas. Brilliance as a Wall Street investor does not ensure brilliance as a relationship guru. Likewise, brilliance in physics does not ensure brilliance as a religion prognosticator.
The really interesting thing is that many people today assume that just because a scientist like Lawrence Krauss has achieved expertise in one area of science, that his opinions in other areas are trustworthy. That surprising deference to the opinions of scientific-talking heads is an intriguing manifestation of faith.
Indeed, you might even call it religious.