Thursday, February 3, 2011

The New Atheists: We Believe We Have No Beliefs

The new atheists like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens go to great lengths to insist that they don't believe in anything. They're purely rational, unlike you, the backward, the superstitious, the illogical. This is their first article of faith, and it's a pretty stupid one, because almost immediately after confessing it they proceed to tell you exactly what they believe.

Richard Dawkins writes, on page 14 of The God Delusion, that an atheist "is someone who believes there is nothing beyond the natural, physical world, no supernatural creative intelligence."

Hey, it's a free country. Believe whatever you want. But if it's a belief, as Dawkins admits, why carry on the supremacist rant about how your views are categorically superior because they don't rely on faith? Indeed, consider just how amazingly rational Dawkins is: his belief in material reductionism is the one presupposition of his argument--which then goes on for 400-odd pages trying to prove . . . material reductionism. If you assume there can be nothing immaterial, then you don't have to prove that God doesn't exist. You've already assumed it. So why not give the friggin' trees a break?

And remember, this is supposed to be more rational than religion.

Dawkins continues: "If there is something that appears to lie beyond the natural world as it is now imperfectly understood, we hope eventually to understand it and embrace it within the natural." This hope is the primary intellectual virtue in Dawkins's world. But is this how a scientist should behave, hoping for a certain outcome? Shouldn't a scientist merely follow the data wherever they lead? Why should it be the business of science to take a stand on whether there is or is not a metaphysics beyond the material world? Why should a scientist be promoting his beliefs on such matters as if they too were science?

In any event, Dawkins has his faith and he has his hope, but according to my particular system of belief, there is a third element, charity, without which these two are worthless.

And as you explore the works of the Ultrabrights more fully, you will see that this is precisely the problem. They despise love, because love, on the backside of which is written "forever," always testifies to an origin beyond chemistry and a destiny beyond death.

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