Title of Dinesh D’Souza’s editorial page essay in today’s Wall St. Journal on the growing trend of considering religious people dumber than atheists or agnostics, because they are clearly not being rational. More:
- It seems that in our own day some prominent atheists are agitating for greater political and social influence. In this connection, leading atheist thinkers have been writing articles declaring that they should no longer be called ‘atheists.’ Rather, they want to be called ‘brights.'”
Philosopher Daniel Dennett defined a bright as a ‘person with a naturalist as opposed to a supernaturalist world view.’ Mr. Dennett added that ‘we brights don’t believe in ghosts or elves or the Easter bunny or God.’ His implication was clear: Brights are smart people who don’t fall for silly superstitions.”
Mr. Dennett, like many atheists, is confident that atheists are simply brighter – more rational – than religious believers. Their assumption is: We nonbelievers employ critical reason while the theists rely on blind faith.”
Mr. Dennett and his fellow brights, for all their credentials and learning, have been duped by a fallacy, first pointed out by the philosopher Immanuel Kant. The Enlightenment Fallacy holds that human reason and science can, in principle, unmask the whole of reality. In his ‘Critique of Pure Reason,’ Kant showed that this premise is false. Why should we believe, Kant asked, that our five-mode instrument for apprehending reality is sufficient for capturing all of reality? What makes us think that there is no reality that goes beyond, one that simply cannot be appreciated by our five senses?”
Kant isn’t arguing against the validity of perception or science or reason. He is simply showing their significant limits. Notice that Kant’s argument is entirely secular. It does not employ any religious vocabulary, nor does it rely on any kind of faith. But in showing the limits of reason, Kant’s philosophy ‘opens the door to faith,’ as the philosopher himself noted.”
The atheist foolishly presumes that reason is in principle capable of figuring out all that there is, while the theist at least knows there is a reality greater than, and beyond, that which our senses and our minds can ever apprehend.
To me, Kant was truly a quantum thinker, centuries ahead of the science that now undergirds his revolutionary thesis. The fundamentally random, statistical/Bayesian structure of quantum reality, which, after all, undergirds our daily existence and all of our world, is a testament to the ultimately unknowable.
Besides, don’t you have just the tiniest little doubt in your mind that some little fish wiggled out onto the prehistoric mud and was, therefore, your and my oldest earth-bound ancestor? I mean, next time you’re in a pet shop, wander over to the aquarium section and have a look at our great-great-etc.-grandparents’ other descendants. Cousin, anyone?
Oh, and don’t forget the Big Bang: 13 billion or so years ago, nothing exploded, producing our universe. Oh, OK. D’oh!Powered by Sidelines