More Fish

This is a little old but good regardless. Fish discusses the atheist’s faith in “evidence.”

Dawkins voices distress at an imagined opponent who “can’t see” the evidence or “refuses to look at it because it contradicts his holy book,” but he has his own holy book of whose truth he has been persuaded, and it is within its light that he proceeds and looks forward in hope (his word) to a future stage of enlightenment he does not now experience but of which he is fully confident. Both in the vocabulary they share – “hope,” “belief,” “undoubtedly,” “there will come a time” – and the reasoning they engage in, Harris and Dawkins perfectly exemplify the definition of faith found in Hebrews 11, “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Mine is not a leveling argument; it does not say that everything is the same (that is the atheists’ claim); it says only that whatever differences there are between religious and scientific thinking, one difference that will not mark the boundary setting one off from the other is the difference between faith and reason.

Knowledge, indeed life, is impossible without faith. Imagine the hubris and naivety needed, all at once, to allow one to think he was simply navigating life, with all its complexity and mystery, by a rational objective gaze that simply considers the “evidence.” That his faith in “rationality”is lost on him, in reality, keeps him from “seeing” or “considering” the evidence at all.

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1 Response to More Fish

  1. Burk Braun says:

    <>Fishy logic<>Atheists will be happy to go toe to toe with Fish on the subject of “the evidence of things not seen”. Dawkins et al. hold to logic and evidence as conventionally defined- facts that form premises for logical conclusions. In this vein, science has revealed countless facts of our natures and of the cosmos that fully justify the “hope” of some further enlightenment of like kind, one example of which might be more knowledge about how consciousness happens, or the selective and cognitive underpinnings of religion.

    Contrariwise, Fish offers us logic such as the following:

    “In short, and it is often put this way, at every opportunity you must give reasons for your faith. The reasons you must give, however, do not come from outside your faith, but follow from it and flesh it out.”

    … which is to say, expound your faith and call it reason, then hope no one notices the difference.

    “I “believe in evolution,” Dawkins declares, “because the evidence supports it”; but the evidence is evidence only because he is seeing with Darwin-directed eyes. The evidence at once supports his faith and is evidence by virtue of it.”

    If one were seeing only with Darwin-directed eyes, as Fish says is the proper procedure in the case of faith, then we would definitely have a problem. Yet that is not the scientific method, of Dawkins or anyone else. The facts required to test hypotheses such as Darwinism come from anywhere <>but<> within this faith. They come from any possible source of critique- anatomy, paleontology, geology, information science, chemistry, yes, even from theology, (insofar as it has anything factual to say)! … you name it, you should go pursue it.

    Fish’s pathetic view of logic is reprehensible for the double reason that it clearly represents his own method, and that it so blithely smears the mountains of intellectual work done by others with far higher standards.


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