Huxley naturally asks: is there really is meaning and value in the world? If so, what is the nature of that meaning and value? He notes that, at least in his own context, these questions appear to be entirely novel; he and his contemporaries, he asserts, simply "took it for granted" that there was no such thing as meaning and value, partly because he accepted Positivist metaphysics, but also because he had an ulterior motive for seeking and finding meaninglessness. These ulterior motives are not unique to those seeking meaninglessness; they are, rather, ubiquitous. "No philosophy," Huxley asserts, "is completely disinterested."
The philosopher who finds meaning in the world is concerned, not only to elucidate that meaning, but also to prove that is it most clearly expressed in some established religion, some accepted code of morals. The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in pure metaphysics. He is also concerned to prove that there is not valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do, or why his friends should not seize political power and govern in the way that they find most advantageous to themselves.Huxley claims that his own and his contemporaries' denial of meaning was from similar ulterior motives, in reaction to the equally ulterior motives of "Christian special pleaders to justify iniquity by an appeal to the meaning of the world."
Here Babinski leaves off his quotation, but we can imagine that Huxley follows through on his warning that "one unscrupulous distortion of the truth tends to beget other and opposite distortions. Passions may be satisfied in the process; but the disinterested love of knowledge suffers eclipse," and explores his earlier allusion to "the world we actually live in, the world that is given by our senses, our intuitions of beauty and goodness, our emotions and impulses, our moods and sentiments" from which "the man of science abstracts a simplified private universe of things possessing only... elements which can be weighed, measured, numbered, or which lend themselves in any other way to mathematical treatment." Huxley presumably goes on to argue that it is true that the world has meaning or value, and we must always stand ready to sacrifice our preferences to the truth.
Huxley's passage contradicts Schumacher's thesis — that atheists reject otherwise persuasive evidence for the existence of God because they want to escape Christianity's moral strictures — in several ways. Most obviously, atheism is not synonymous with meaninglessness. Atheism entails only that if there were meaning and value in the world, that meaning and value does not rely on any supernatural being. (It should also be noted that theism is not necessarily synonymous with meaningfulness; a deity can do anything, even act entirely arbitrarily and capriciously.) Furthermore, Huxley clearly asserts the symmetry of both the rejection of and search for meaning; Schumacher's must establish an asymmetry, that atheists (or advocates of meaninglessness) employ ulterior motives in a way that theists do not. Most importantly, while Huxley is realistic about the role of ulterior motives in philosophy, he fundamentally argues the opposite of Schumacher's thesis: from from being a justification for any philosophy, it is incumbent on all philosophers to do their best to transcend their ulterior motives.
Indeed, we can turn Huxley's essay against Schumacher. I do not, of course, want Yahweh, the villainous character depicted in the Christian Bible, to exist. Neither do I want cancer, war, pestilence, famine, murder, rape, nor child abuse to exist. But if Huxley is correct, then Schumacher probably does want Yahweh to exist. Simply pointing out that some atheists do not want Yahweh to exist (and some nihilists do not want meaning and value to exist) is to point out the obvious. We can point out — with equal banality — that some Christians want Yahweh to exist, and employ the existence of Yahweh to support their own preferences and desires. Bias is ubiquitous. The question is not what we want or don't want; the question is not whether or not reality felicitously coincides with our desires; the question is: are we able to set aside what we want the truth to be, so we can determine what the truth really is?
Is Schumacher honestly seeking what the truth really is, instead of simply rationalizing his own biases? I do not intend to single out Schumacher for special investigation; this is a question which everyone must answer; everyone falls under suspicion. As Feynman observes, "The first principle is that you must not fool yourself--and you are the easiest person to fool." Sadly, Schumacher gives every indication that he is simply rationalizing his own biases; he is projecting his own behavior onto atheists. The logical fallacies, post hoc and anecdotal, the use of quotations out of context, his use of unreliable secondary sources, and his failure to check primary sources, all argue that he is merely assembling a rationalization, not conducting an inquiry.
Most tellingly, though, he fails to directly support what ought to be the most important point: regardless of a priori bias, he does not include any direct support for any atheist, scientist, philosopher, or intellectual, ever admitting that they have ignored compelling evidence to the contrary to maintain their bias. We might forgive this omission: it is true, and perhaps important, that many atheists do indeed have an a priori bias against theism, and every honest atheist needs to carefully examine her own biases. But in the form of an anonymous quotation, Schumacher expressly asserts that not only do atheists have a bias, but they also ignore evidence to the contrary to maintain that bias. If Schumacher wants to argue this case, then it is incumbent on him to actually argue it, with direct, cited, and reliable evidence, not third-party hearsay and friend-of-a-friend urban legend. That he does not do so, that he considers his arguments compelling and persuasive on such ridiculous "evidence", decisively indicates that he is merely rationalizing his own biases; he is the pot calling not just the kettle but also the silver spoon black. Schumacher, like most Christian apologists in my experience, not only fails to honestly inquire into the truth, but appears willfully ignorant of what an honest inquiry actually entails.