Australian geologist Ian Plimer argues that, for many agnostics and atheists, the cause of environmentalism has replaced organized religion as a matter of personal faith.
While the world's religions have inspired stunning acts of creation, they also have been implicated in some of the darkest deeds in human history.
If God cannot be blamed for such moments of evil, His priests and prophets at least have a case to answer.
So what might they say? That religion is unfairly blamed -- and that we should look to other factors? Admit that there are problems but argue that on balance the good outweighs the bad? That there is no alternative; that people need religion like they need air? - Intelligence Squared
Ian Plimer is Emeritus Professor of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne and Professor of mining geology at the University of Adelaide. He is a prominent critic of creationism, and is famous for a debate with creationist Duane Gish in which he asked his opponent to hold live electrical cables to prove that electromagnetism was 'only a theory'. He has published over 120 academic papers and six popular books. He is also a prominent member of the Australian Skeptics. In 2004 he was awarded the Calrk Medal by the Rioyal Society of NSW. In the late 1990s, Plimer was involved in legal proceedings concerning the location of Noah's Ark, in which Plimer was ultimately unsuccessful. His most recent book, Telling Lies For God, has a forward by Archbishop Peter Hollingsworth. Professor Plimer argues that religion is important for the fabric of society.