Newsflash for New Athiests

The next few paragraphs are extracts taken from the ABC.net.au opinion article “There Is Nothing Blind About Faith“:

The New Atheism seems to have some kind of aversion to using the word “faith,” believing it denotes some kind of intellectual perversity reserved for deluded religious fools. Faith, we are told, is invariably blind faith.

[Scientists] believe – but cannot prove – that their interpretation is correct. And nobody thinks they are deluded, mentally ill, or immoral for believing such things.

This doesn’t fit at all with (famous author of “The God Delusion“) Richard Dawkins’s bold declaration that “if there were good supporting evidence, then faith would be superfluous, for the evidence would compel us to believe it anyway.”

To judge by his comments in The God Delusion, Dawkins himself clearly believes in the “multiverse” theory. But the evidence for it just isn’t good enough to compel him – or anyone else – to accept it (or its alternatives).

So is this irrational, as the New Atheist orthodoxy declares? Christianity holds that faith is basically warranted belief. Faith goes beyond what is logically demonstrable, yet is nevertheless capable of rational motivation and foundation.

Read more: There is nothing blind about faith – ABC Religion & Ethics – Opinion.

As you would expect, the comment war has begun.
As you would expect, the comment war has begun.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Categories: Beliefs, Morals

Author:Andrew Beato

CEO, Chief Editor and founder of Intentious. Passionate comment enthusiast, amateur philosopher, Quora contributor, audiobook and general knowledge addict.

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2 Comments on “Newsflash for New Athiests”

  1. February 18, 2011 at 6:42 pm #

    First, Dawkins never said he believed in the multiverse theory. It is true that he discussed it in “The God Delusion”, but he asserted that there was no evidence for it. The point that he was making was that there are several different theories for the cosmogony. It is quite pathetic whenever a debater resorts to fallacious quote mining.

    Secondly, it is a common misapprehension among theists that atheists also have a belief system. Let me take this opportunity to quell this grave misunderstanding now. Atheism is, specifically, a non-belief. It is patently absurd to say we believe in a non-belief. Furthermore, scientists do not believe in anything. They put trust in theories that have shown to stand the test of time. However, whenever evidence is presented that controverts accepted theories, then scientists are humble enough to change what they “believe” so that it corroborates with reality.

    • February 19, 2011 at 3:31 am #

      I’ll reiterate this because people are going to continue missing it no matter how often we say it: This article is simply conflating “trust” and “provisional belief” with religious definitions of faith. There’s nothing new about this mistake– it’s been made consistently for years and based on available evidence I suspect it will continue to be made for years.

      Painting scientists as “just as faithful as theists” also creates both a false dichotomy and a straw-man. Plenty of people are both scientists and theists. Most of them apply different standards in these two realms. Which is where the straw-man comes in: This article and others like it assert or imply that science or scientists set 100% certainty as the standard, as here:

      “[Scientists] believe – but cannot prove – that their interpretation is correct.”

      Outside of mathematics or formal logic, “proof” as such has little relevance. The idea that current hypotheses can and will be overturned is integral to the scientific method. The same is not true of most religions.

      Finally, the piece fails to accurately represent the diversity of opinion within religion about the proper role and nature of faith. While members of the Orthodox tradition did elevate reason and scholarship and derived some of their ideas from classical thinkers, later Protestant offshoots have chosen to emphasize personal experience and in some cases explicitly encourage /blind/ faith. To assert that all religious people agree on this matter, and further that this imagined agreement is indistinguishable from continually revised scientific theory, is so comprehensively wrong that it borders on meaningless.

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