I was aware of it previously, but I have become painfully aware of it just in the last few months:  theistic philosophers are not taken seriously by atheistic philosophers.  First, the Maverick Philosopher asks why atheist philosophers dismiss theism a priori, and why only theists actually weigh both sides of the argument.  Richard Dawkins et al–who are meeting this weekend in Washington DC for an ego massage–recently advocated the woefully ignorant argument that God must be super-complex to have created the universe.  He could have read to q.3 of the Prima Pars of Aquinas’ Summa Theologiae to realize that he is attacking a strawman…better yet, he could have actually read a work of any major western theist to come to that realization.  But what’s worse is that the same argument is advanced by several major philosophers.  I just read the same argument presented in Collin McGinn’s Mysterious Flame earlier this week; Bertrand Russell finds Mill’s rhetorical question, “what created God?” to be decisive against theism (isn’t this the same man who claimed that if God exists He never provided enough evidence?).  And finally, John Searle dismisses theism with a wave of the hand in more than one of his works. 

Now I am pretty convinced that God isn’t going to condemn a person who is honestly and diligently seeking the Truth but fails to find it before his death; but can any of these people be labelled as honest enquirers?  It’s not that I think atheism doesn’t have a case; indeed, I think the large majority of philosophers take atheism to be epistemically justifiable, even if they believe it is fundamentally misguided.  But honest enquiry neither begins nor ends with a curt dismissal of the opposition’s arguments.

However, that is all old ground.  What’s equally interesting is the position of evolution within academia.  Now for the sake of argument, let’s just assume that some form of evolutionary theory is ultimately true.  Let’s also assume that the scientific community widely supports such a theory, despite some large unanswered questions.  Even if this is all true, it is against the procedure of good, healthy science to resort to demonization to squelch any dissenting voices.  If there is no skepticism, then the scientific method becomes just another way of enshrining dogmas. 

But Ben Stein, in a new documentary entitled Expelled documents how evolution has become a center piece of modern biology, and those who are skeptical in any way are denied tenure, demonized, and ridiculed.  One doesn’t have to be an advocate of intelligent design to see the problem here.  I haven’t seen the documentary myself, but I wouldn’t be surprised.  I’ve seen what most professional atheists do to theists:  they ignore them without ever bothering to learn their arguments.  Does it really shock me that the same thing is going on in biology departments across the United States?

Three gold stars go to Kuhn for being honest enough to admit that paradigm shifts in science often have less to do with intellectual merit and much to do with irrational processes in academia.  It takes intellectual honesty and healthy skepticism to find the truth, not political maneuvering. 

Explore posts in the same categories: Philosophy, Uncategorized

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