... many of the moral insights we value highly today – for instance, the coherence of the cosmos and the value of the individual soul, as well as the conviction that All is Number – have originally been shaped in religious contexts. If we decide to drop those contexts as obsolete we lose half the meaning of the ideas themselves. ... The wider imaginative conceptions – the more hospitable world-pictures – that it uses must be taken seriously, as they were by the scholars who were called Humanists at the Renaissance, and as they have been ever since in the studies that are called “the humanities”. Much though we may want to ignore institutional religions and other strange beliefs, we cannot brush aside the individual experiences that lie behind them and the thoughts that grow out of them. William James was surely right to start investigating the matter by asking about the varieties of religious experience, confusing though those varieties are. In the whole sweep of our lives the physical sciences play only a marginal part, and the positivist approach that tries to rely only on them is not really workable.
I find it interesting that Richard Dawkins, who has no problem with insulting things other people feel deeply about, being so thin-skinned when someone gives him a taste of his own medicine. What a wuss.