Mobile version
spiked plus
About spiked
What is spiked?
Support spiked
spiked shop
Contact us
Summer school
Top issues
Arab uprisings
British politics
Child abuse panic
For Europe, Against the EU
Free speech
Jimmy Savile scandal
Parents and kids
View all issues...
special feature
The Counter-Leveson Inquiry
other sections
 Review of Books
 Monthly archive
selected authors
Duleep Allirajah
Daniel Ben-Ami
Tim Black
Jennie Bristow
Sean Collins
Dr Michael Fitzpatrick
Frank Furedi
Helene Guldberg
Patrick Hayes
Mick Hume
Rob Lyons
Brendan O’Neill
Nathalie Rothschild
James Woudhuysen
more authors...
RSS feed
a-b c-d e-h i-l m-n o-r s-u v-z index
Professor Raymond RC Tallis
gerontologist, philosopher, and writer

The great challenge for the immediate future is to find a way of thinking about ourselves, about human nature, that does not fall into one of two traps: a supernaturalism that sees our destiny as predetermined by the essence that has been implanted in us by a Creator; and a naturalism that says that we are entirely parts of nature and subject to natural laws. Both ways of thinking lead to a self-fulfilling sense of helplessness which could be very dangerous.

In order to avoid a regression to a militant, proselytising supernaturalism which will hamper the exercise of reason in human affairs, and may result in increasing conflict, we need to underline the evidence that religion is an entirely human institution, though a dysfunctional one. In order to avoid a bleak naturalism, we should acknowledge the extraordinary achievements of humanity in distancing human life from organic existence: in short we should cultivate the habit of seeing the evidence of human difference which is in front of our nose and challenge redescriptions of animal and human life which conceal the huge gap between between ourselves and even our nearest animal kin. Without a clear view of human potential, we shall be inhibited in our attempts to address the many practical difficulties that lie ahead.

Raymond Tallis is author of books including The Knowing Animal: A Philosophical Inquiry into Knowledge and Truth (buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)), and Why the Mind Is Not a Computer: A Pocket Lexicon of Neuromythology (buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)).

Survey home
What we found
Survey responses
RSS feed
Anjana Ahuja
Michael Baum
Peter Cochrane
Richard Feachem
Frank Furedi
Michio Kaku
Ken MacLeod
Jonathan Meades
Munira Mirza
Matthew Parris
Ingo Potrykus
Roger Scruton
Ben Shneiderman
Lionel Shriver
Raymond Tallis
Peter Whittle
Josie Appleton
David Baulcombe
Claire Fox
William Higham
Paul Lauterbur
William Graeme Laver
Ken MacLeod
Fiona McEwen
Victor Stenger