Friday, August 20, 2010

The Stupid! It Burns! (reasonable edition)

the stupid! it burns! Atheists and Reason:
The Catholic Church teaches definitively that God’s existence can be known by reason. Arguments of many stripes can be put forth demonstrating the rationality of belief in God. I have done so on this blog and betters have done so elsewhere — but for now, the simple point is that reason doesn’t end at the laboratory door. We can think rationally about deeper levels of reality. ...

When the the rational questions go beyond that which can be measured in the laboratory, these empiricists simply wave away the questions without further consideration, swallowing a myriad of necessary prior assumptions without further thought. Needless to say, such a position is itself a tremendous leap of faith.
Richard Dawkins taken to the cleaners—in The New York Times
[approvingly quoting The Last Superstition: A Refutation of the New Atheism by Edward Feser] Secularism can never truly rest on reason, but only 'faith,' as secularists themselves understand that term (or rather misunderstand it, as we shall see): an unshakeable commitment grounded not in reason but rather in sheer willfulness, a deeply ingrained desire to want things to be a certain way regardless of whether the evidence shows they are that way.

Today's pièce de résistance of burning stupidity, however, is the article cited by both previous posts, On Dawkins’s Atheism: A Response by Gary Gutting, a philosopher who admits he can't answer any questions:
As formulated, [Dawkins'] argument is an obvious non-sequitur. The premises (1-6), if true, show only that God cannot be posited as the explanation for the apparent design of the universe, which can rather be explained by natural selection. They do nothing to show that “God almost certainly does not exist” (189). ...

[P]hilosophers from Thomas Aquinas through contemporary thinkers have offered detailed discussions of the question that provide intelligent suggestions about how to think coherently about a simple substance that has the power and knowledge attributed to God. ...

Dawkins’ argument ignores the possibility that God is a necessary being (that is, a being that, by its very nature, must exist, no matter what). On this traditional view, God’s existence would be, so to speak, self-explanatory and so need no explanation, contrary to Dawkins’ premise 3.
But here's the money quote:

[S]uccessful or not, philosophers offer the best rational thinking about such questions.

Howls of derisive laughter, Bruce!


  1. It amazes me that a philosopher as bad as Gutting can get a job.

  2. In my experience, Gutting is not particularly unusual in his incompetence or stupidity.

  3. Weilenberg makes a better case:

  4. From Weilenberg's paper:

    "It turns out that Dawkins’s argument is a fragment of a more comprehensive critique of the rationality of theism that is found in Hume’s Dialogues. I will explain this more comprehensive critique and illustrate its superiority to Dawkins’s argument."

    In my next paper, I'll show that Dawkins' explanation of genetics in The Selfish Gene is a fragment of a more comprehensive explanation in the scientific literature.

    Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick. Philosophers really are the stupidest people on the face of the Earth.


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