Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Dogmas of the New Atheists

I am atheist, I do not believe in god, or even God. I've never believed. I've tried, but it never really worked. But that never bothered me too much, I have no problem living without a god or gods. What is starting to get to me is these so called New Atheists. They annoy me to no end for a few reasons. They love them some Muslim bashing. They make claims about theologies about which they obviously know nothing. But most of all the claim to hate dogma, all the while holding dogmatic stances.

The First Dogma: Reason above all else.

Fairly self explanatory, but perhaps I'll expand. This is the apparent belief that only the use of reason applied to evidence we find in the real world can give us knowledge of the world. I've never seen this explicitly defended by the new atheists, though there are certainly philosophers, not even recent ones, who have argued for or against this position.

The Second Dogma: Causality

It may seem a silly thing to call a dogma, but it is one nonetheless. There is no one who has, to my knowledge, proved causality. I don't even know how one would go about doing such a thing.

The third Dogma: What Science can show us in the world is what really exists.

This is one of my favorite. Why? Because it clearly contradicts the First dogma. How can the fact that, as even scientists agree, theories are always tentative and are thus unable to exactly describe the world, assuming there is one, be supported by reason? Clearly the problem is the second dogma, there must be something causing those theories to be what they are.

Finally I'd like to address a point that annoys me to no end: Ockham's Razor. It is not a law of nature nor of logic. It is not always right. It is a convenience when working up a theory and is often the best way to theorize, but to say that does not mean one can use it as an argument against God, or against whatever you which to turn it. Why can I not coin Shakespeare's Razor, that says that one should always multiply entities? I suppose it wouldn't always be helpful, but neither is the stubborn belief that the simplest explination is always the closest to the truth.

P.S. And the Philosopher hating is getting on my nerves. Science wouldn't exist if it weren't for philosophers. A whole lot of stuff wouldn't, so quit with the barbed remarks. If you really think reason is so great then I suggest you try to reason your way through some philosophy before you dismiss it.

1 comment:

... said...

It's too bad that the western academic tradition decided to create subjects and areas of study so that there is now the possibility of pitting science against philosophy as if they had nothing to do with each other and are discrete and contained areas of thought.