Recovering from the Conservative apologetic industry

Randy Harman has just published his fascinating testimony about his experiences as a former Conservative Evangelical apologist.

Part 1

Part 2

part 3

He told us from the very beginning that ” Just as it is easy to throw the baby out with the bathwater, these posts are in no way an attempt to say apologetics as a whole is a pointless discipline, nor are they intended to say that by defining myself as an “ex-apologist” I refuse any rational argumentation or apologetic endeavors.

I am an apologist in so far as it is a “tool” in my belt, not a vocation or an identity.”

In what follows I have copied some of the passages which I find the most profound and insightful.

Reason did little to strengthen my faith, despite my repeated claim that it “saved it.” It just turned me into a jerk with a lot of ammo–a jerk who merely pretended to have things put together by the overwhelming evidence of Christianity but, in reality, who was more assuredly as confused, carnal, and lost as the person I was insistent to win over to Christ through rigorous argumentation.

The doubts that I dealt with ten years ago are the same doubts that I deal with now, albeit in different ways sometimes and I routinely pray, not read, for faith. Rationalism never quenches the thirst of doubt; it only masquerades it.

Apologetics did not save my faith. It saved my pride.”

  • Why is it that so many are threatened when popular boundaries are brought into question by none other than fellow Christians?
  • Why is it, as I have seen personally, so many apologists turn out to be jerks, little different in rhetoric and spirit than the New Atheists they so fervently wish to counter?

As the late Stan Grenz and John Franke note in their tremendous book Beyond Foundationalism: Shaping Theology in a Postmodern Context, it is somewhat ironic that modernist thinking has extended so far in both the directions of the “godless” and the “godly.” For every atheist that’s incorrigibly committed to the truth of his philosophical naturalism there is an evangelical incorrigibly committed to his theism in such a way that neither one lacks the need to feel absolutely certain.

For these evangelicals, conviction leaves no room for doubt, and so in popular Christian apologetics doubt is something to be assuaged with answers

I find beauty in the multitude of voices, for the truth is sometimes life does seem nihilistic and we need Ecclesiastes to stand beside us or Job to yell at God with us;

I find beauty in reading Scripture primarily to save my soul and teach me how to live like and within Christ, not in teaching me what to believe and how to think about Christ.

My last two posts (here and here) dealt with my testimony as a trained apologist and a transformation that took place when I allowed myself to really stop thinking of faith as a science. This post still deals with what I find to be a strange irony in the discipline of apologetics, namely, the insistence on a “rational and well thought out” faith with the insistence on upholding scriptural inerrancy and creationism.

To that end, I have to confess that I am incredibly bothered by the fact that the popular apologetics movement laments the 75% of students who leave the faith (they say, “because they don’t have intellectual answers for what they believe”) and yet they demand that one cannot embrace certain conclusions of their disciplines, no matter how well thought out and evidenced.

It is my conviction that when we insist that young people have to choose between evolution and God or the critical results of scholarship and faith, we are not at all helping students overcome some of the intellectual barriers and questions they might have. Rather, we contribute to the swath of students who find Christianity to be opposed to reason.

I have watched too many friends abandon all trust in God because they were told they need to choose between the boundaries set by evangelical apologetics and science.

Though he is still more conservative than I am, I agree with most he has written.

I also want to point out that the enlightenment leaves us with a false dichotomy, namely:

1) having no grounds for thinking that Christianity is true, therefore pretending to know what you don’t know

2) having a Christian faith warranted by evidential arguments in the same way our belief in the theory of universal gravitation is warranted.

Unlike the claims of anti-theists, there are many Evangelicals who think that their faith is grounded on reason and evidence, thereby rejecting 2).

But I think that one option has been utterly left out.

3) Faith does not mean pretending to know what you don’t know, but to passionately hope in something even if the evidence is not sufficient.

I certainly believe there are good arguments against materialism and intriguing ones for the existence of a supernatural realm and theism.

Yet I also recognize that all these arguments (as well as those for atheism) depends on some postulates which cannot be proven and whose acceptance might very well strongly hinge on one’s own psychological make up.

Let us also consider the need of intellectually humility emphasized by Einstein:

“What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of “humility.” that is to say the warranted conclusion that there might very well be many things our minds cannot fathom.

I think we have good grounds for concluding that many of our ideas about ultimate reality are pretty tentative and should never be made absolute.

But there is nothing which prevents us from passionately hoping in their truth.

Actually I know no human being who can practically live without hoping in many things he cannot asses the likelihood of.

Do you?

 

Homepage of Lotharlorraine: link here
(List of topics and posts)

My blog on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) (Link Here). 

 

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(Liste von Themen und Posten).

Mein anderer umstrittener Blog: Scherben von Magonia.

 

16 thoughts on “Recovering from the Conservative apologetic industry

  1. Speaking of false dichotomies, this one really popped out at me:

    “For every atheist that’s incorrigibly committed to the truth of his philosophical naturalism, there is an evangelical…”

    Right there he makes a tremendous error: for over a decade I’ve been a New Atheist and have yet to meet a single atheist (and I’ve met hundreds if not thousands) who supports philosophical naturalism. Not. One. But I’ve encounter this charge from those who support the usefulness of theism countless times. Why does this meme persist if reality fails to support it?

    I presume that it is because it’s useful to theists to shape their position as if it were as reasonable an alternative as this untenable position… imposed on atheists as if true, as if representative, when it’s neither.

    But, to be clear, every atheist I’ve met supports the usefulness of methodological naturalism to find out stuff about the cosmos and to establish a way to enquire into everything it may contain.

    On this site, I’ve stated repeatedly that the issues between believers and non believers is about method, about epistemology, about HOW we come to know anything justified about the claims we make (about the cosmos and what it contains) and infuse with some level of confidence. Why believers don’t take this clarification I make over and over again seriously – but try to work around it all the time as if not worthy of consideration – is an indication to me of it’s disruptive power to faith-based claims and explanations.

    To admit one’s method of enquiry is poor is to undermine the confidence one places in it, and this – it seems to me – is the motivation for believers to avoid facing it head on. methodological naturalism works for everyone everywhere all the time, and it does the same job with religious claims.

    I happen to admire intellectual honesty and the courage it takes to place one’s beliefs at risk while holding one’s self accountable to how much or how little confidence an independent arbitration of them may yield. It seems very easy for me to admit I don’t know about abiogenesis, or the beginnings of the universe, or to what purpose beauty may play in a macroscopic world, but almost never do I hear a believer say the same about an equivalent faith-based belief. I suspect the reason for this lack is that the arbitration of these claims is from within, and that method suffices to grant to the believer whatever level of confidence they choose… for a while. I think serious doubts are always present. Fortunately, I’ve encountered dozens of people who have moved away from their faith-based beliefs because they’ve been challenged and have followed the reasoning to its natural conclusion… gaining good reasons from reality that are allowed to hold sway. But this willingness to part with unjustified beliefs about the cosmos and what it contains seems to me to be the domain mostly of non believers. That’s a clue. And statistics of all kinds seem to bear this out… especially concerning the next generation who are failing to remain with the unjustified beliefs of their parents. Why this process must be so regularly misrepresented by believers as an a priori philosophical position is simply untrue and will eventually die an undignified death to all those who, in spite of many people’s best efforts to communicate, assumed it had to be true.

    • Hello.
      I made quite the contrary experience, most of the New Atheists I encountered are convinced that materialism is true.

      What is the ultimate reality for you?

      “On this site, I’ve stated repeatedly that the issues between believers and non believers is about method, about epistemology, about HOW we come to know anything justified about the claims we make (about the cosmos and what it contains) and infuse with some level of confidence. Why believers don’t take this clarification I make over and over again seriously – but try to work around it all the time as if not worthy of consideration – is an indication to me of it’s disruptive power to faith-based claims and explanations.

      To admit one’s method of enquiry is poor is to undermine the confidence one places in it, and this – it seems to me – is the motivation for believers to avoid facing it head on. methodological naturalism works for everyone everywhere all the time, and it does the same job with religious claims.”

      Since for me, faith means hope and not knowledge, you are not criticizing my position here.

      Of course, if there are overwhelming reasons to give up belief in God, we should certainly do so.
      But if the evidential situation is ambiguous, I don’t see anything wrong with hoping it is true.

      • Since for me, faith means hope and not knowledge, you are not criticizing my position here.

        No, no Lothar, you’re wrong. Your definition of faith is whatever tildeb says it is, remember?

        • Unfortunately here we have a case of the ultimately pointless argument. I would concede that anyone who looks at the “miracles”, will find that they are miracles, I.e. things which go against the “normal” or “usual” ways that the cosmos works. Thoughtful Christians have been aware of this for about 2000 years now and I’m sure others were equally aware of this prior to the time of Jesus.

          Anyone who looks at the miracles whether theist or anti-theist can come to the same conclusion, yes the miracles are incredibly unusual so in most normal terms we can’t “prove” them, I.e. say they happen with significant statistical frequency, in a way in which we can “verify” them.

          So this is a bit of a red Herring when used to deny any or all “faith based systems” which include miraculous happenings, whether crucial to the system or not.

          In essence what the anti-theist argument is and rests on, is a poor (or fallacious) epistemological approach, based on the correct assertion that some theists use a poor epistemological approach on making certain claims. I can agree with someone who says that the resurrection is “unprovable”, because to all intents and purposes, using some of many definitions of “proof” it is.

          Having determined this correctly, then a significant jump is used to extrapolate this point onto many other issues and to support arguments which themselves are not based on the same approach. What we have is a very short boy with a point of view limited to about 6 inches, on seeing that the emperor wears neither shoes nor socks, then declaring that the emperor has no clothes.

          What if any evidence is there that religions are dangerous? Many old tropes such as bringing in the Crusades, burning of witches etc as incidents which are indeed horrible (though maybe being seen in a poorly contextualised fashion), are therefore used to decry a much vaster human experience. Who if anyone is going to be able to adequately explore the entirety of history and compare the goodness of many millions of Christians to the badness of others. No-one and of course the task is impossible. So we jump from one rational and reasonable assertion, that miracles are miracles and incredibly difficult, if not impossible to “prove”, to the typical straw man argument of some Christians have been bad, therefore Christianity is itself bad.

          Unfortunately it appears that the anti-theist is here using a very poor epistemology and refuses to be called on this observation, due to being unwilling or unable to admit or recognise this jump.

          Within the anti-theist camp I can see some “good” things happening. A desire to find the “truth” and the necessity to broadcast the truth is not bad, but admirable and noble. A recognition that Christians seem to be in some cases unwilling to accept the truth and in certain cases do bad things, which is “wrong”, is also a “good” thing. However it appears that these good and noble efforts are then clouded out or cancelled, by the illogical jump from reasonable observation and inference to unreasonable ones.

          Elsewhere I mentioned that anti-theism (of a particular sort at least), may be attractive to a particular “personality type”. The type of person who uses orderly and linear logical processes frequently in their appreciation of and modelling the World. This type of person may also have a great difficulty in seeing the world as the majority do, which is quite often messy and disordered. So ultimately there becomes a problem of interpretation and communication. It seems a bit pointless trying to talk to someone who cannot (or will not) hear what you are saying. We get frustrated saying things which are not “received”, we may get more frustrated thinking that they will not hear us, when maybe we should recognise that they cannot hear us. This frustration can cause us to get angry which is probably not a good thing.

          As Christians we need to “love others” including our enemies, so we need to follow this precept. For me it is incredibly hard to do this when those formed against us seem so determined to destroy and seem unwilling or unable to change this motivation.

          It would be interesting to hear how the anti-theists believe that from their own methodology and “knowledge”, they would deal with what most of Christianity deals with, such as ethics, morality, daily living, dealing with adversity etc. (how to treat enemies would be a good one!). This is what Christianity is actually about, it is not first and foremost solely obsessed with whether Miracles are miracles, even if some Christians and most anti-theists think it is.

          I can’t actually see them really discussing this, as every point they make seems to be preceded with “miracles are miracles, I’m not going to talk about anything else until you tell me miracles don’t happen”. I’m not sure how to engage with anti-theists as to do this effectively there needs to be “discussion” where a certain amount of common ground needs to be defined, so that “give and take” is able to occur. Currently what I hear from many of them is a closed polemic. not a discussion and a refusal to engage unless it is on their terms. So I’m not sure if trying to engage is actually of much value. What we can do is engage with those who are more “open minded” and see if there are any openings at all with those who aren’t, though I’m a bit pessimistic as to whether this can actually bear any fruit.

          I think Lotherson is correct when he compares anti-theists to far-right extremists, however I would broaden this out to a comparison to extremists of most ideological allegiances. I think the point is that many of them are actually dangerous. At the moment there seems to be developing an anti-theistic “movement” of ardent “evangelisation” and recruitment. This is allied with aspects of politicisation and influence in the public sphere. We need to be aware of this and hopefully many are.

          My final observation is getting back to the personality type which may be attracted to this “faith movement”. (I am using generalisation here, and my own position is hardly one of an academic, with a rock solid complex thesis. So treat it as you may and it would be unfair to apply to any particular individual). When forming views of the World, theories etc, we end to work from that which is familiar, “known”, and investigated. The thing we know most is ourselves. When we think of other people we “project” what we know of ourselves onto others to develop theories of “being”. This is generally a useful, valid and reasonable way to do things, but is limited if we do not bring in additional observation of more people. This technique can and does usually tell us about others, but it also tells us about ourselves, possibly more so than the other. So when Dawkins and others are describing the Christian or Religious “mind” and declare it “delusional”, maybe we are hearing more about the describer than the described!

          • Ross writes, In essence what the anti-theist argument is and rests on, is a poor (or fallacious) epistemological approach, based on the correct assertion that some theists use a poor epistemological approach on making certain claims.

            Wrong.

            New Atheism is not based on only some theists use a poor epistemology. It is based on on criticizing religious privilege and the unearned respect it is granted in the public domain because ALL such privilege and respect is founded on a poor epistemology that we know does not work to accurately and reliably describe the reality we share. The epistemology of ALL religious belief is not deserving of confidence beyond that granted to wishful thinking. Wishful thinking is not a crime but granting it confidence and respect to cause real effect on real people in real life is not justifiable using reason. And it is richly deserving of criticism when it is used to affect and influence other people without their consent.

            Miracles, for example, are deserving of our highest levels of scepticism because they are by definition events that are contrary to our understanding of how reality works, an understanding we use, we rely on, to produce stuff that does work reliably and consistently. It’s no small matter to assume a miracle did happen without also undermining confidence in this understanding. To then wave away this concern and offer ‘miracles’ as if true and therefore evidence to justify a belief does not alter this necessary level of scepticism one iota. It increases it!

            A simple example rests with daily claims of ‘coming back from the dead’ used frequently to promote the credentials of this guru over that one… as if some divine agency has granted a stamp of approval on this resurrected one but not that one who hasn’t yet died. Hence, we find almost daily claims of divine resurrections throughout sub-Asia. (There are witnesses galore but never a successful test when variable are accounted for.) How can we determine which if any of these claims are true?

            Your argument offers us no way, no means, to discriminate between daily claims about coming back from the dead and the one for Jesus…. just that it can happen! Oh really?

            This is an epistemological problem belonging to those who wish, who hope, who claim such resurrections are possible and not to New Atheists who discard all these claims equivalently for good reasons based on our understanding of how reality works. There is no evidence from reality that dead cells can be successfully reanimated, that the damage to the cell from cellular death can be returned to an undamaged state. Belief that it is possible does not come from this reality! It comes from the person willing to believe, who then imposes this belief on reality as if reasonable. It’s not reasonable. Such claims deserve scepticism because beliefs alone – no matter how fervently desired or hoped for – do not, have not, and probably shall never alter reality.

          • Ross writes, I think Lotherson is correct when he compares anti-theists to far-right extremists, however I would broaden this out to a comparison to extremists of most ideological allegiances. I think the point is that many of them are actually dangerous. At the moment there seems to be developing an anti-theistic “movement” of ardent “evangelisation” and recruitment. This is allied with aspects of politicisation and influence in the public sphere. We need to be aware of this and hopefully many are.

            Please provide us with evidence of this ‘danger’ New Atheists are responsible for. Please provide evidence of the ‘danger’ this movement of respecting reality – rather than privileging people’s beliefs about it – has brought forward.

            I’m going to keep asking you for this evidence because I think you’ve gone one step too far here: you’re doing what you accuse atheists of, namely, promoting the foundation for distrust and vilification against a group without good reasons and compelling evidence adduced from reality. In other words, I am accusing you of actively and purposefully promoting a hate group by vilifying New Atheists without cause.

      • It’s not hope that empowers claims about reality but exempts them from its arbitration. It is not hope that is privileged in society, hope that is imposed on others and funded by the public, hope that describes divinely sanctioned ways of living, roles to fill, actions to take, hope that receives tax exemptions and levies. It is not hope that drives legal discrimination and moral certitude, hope that supports creationism and other anti-scientific positions of trust and confidence. These share a common problem of epistemology, namely, a reliance on faith-based beliefs as their justification – not a shared hope. And that is why all are the target of New Atheism: because faith-based belief deserves no confidence no matter how much hope one decides to apply to any of them.

      • Of course, if there are overwhelming reasons to give up belief in God, we should certainly do so.

        There is no evidence reality can provide to substantiate any reasons you would accept to give up your belief in God. Be honest.

    • “Right there he makes a tremendous error: for over a decade I’ve been a New Atheist and have yet to meet a single atheist (and I’ve met hundreds if not thousands) who supports philosophical naturalism. Not. One. But I’ve encounter this charge from those who support the usefulness of theism countless times. Why does this meme persist if reality fails to support it?”

      There are of course different views of philosophical naturalism.

      http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/naturalism/

      But in general I think naturalism is the belief that the natural world is all there is. In other words a naturalist will not believe in supernatural or non-natural things or properties.

      Are you saying the atheists you know believe in supernatural or non natural things/properties? If so what are some common ones? I know of one who said he believes in Ghosts. (whether he thinks Ghosts are truly supernatural I am not sure but that is pretty close.) On the meta-ethical front many atheists tend to be non-naturalist when it comes to morals. Russ Shaefer-Landau is one such philosopher. Or perhaps we don’t understand naturalism the same way.

      Naturalism and materialism are not necessarily the same thing.

      “On this site, I’ve stated repeatedly that the issues between believers and non believers is about method, about epistemology, about HOW we come to know anything justified about the claims we make (about the cosmos and what it contains) and infuse with some level of confidence. Why believers don’t take this clarification I make over and over again seriously – but try to work around it all the time as if not worthy of consideration – is an indication to me of it’s disruptive power to faith-based claims and explanations.”

      I am very interested in these questions. And sort of do the same thing you do on atheist blogs. Yet I find they are not interested in these questions. I see you do not have a blog but if you were to post some blogs on these topics I would be happy to give my own views. Also I have a blog where I talk about these issues. (more blogs to come!) and would welcome your comments and thoughts.

      I don’t think religious people are the only ones “working around” these issues. I think allot of people just aren’t very interested in them.

    • “Miracles, for example, are deserving of our highest levels of scepticism because they are by definition events that are contrary to our understanding of how reality works”

      You seem to define away the possibility of miracles. The definition of miracles is generally understood by Christians as something along the lines of: a suspension of natural law in which God played a role.

      I see you have a blog. I will take a look at it.

    • I went through your blog for about 2 years of posts. I didn’t find any with the tag “epistemology.”

      It seems like you are very interested in pointing out some religious people are bad people. But that seems pretty obvious isn’t it?

      Do you have any blogs on epistemology?

  2. From C.S. Lewis’s “The Great Divorce”. Lewis, of course, thought of himself as an apologist (as well he should have). George MacDonald, a Professor that Lewis greatly admired, is the one speaking. He is Lewis’s adviser, basically, in the afterlife. Lewis is the narrator.:

    Proofs-and more proofs-and then more proofs again-were what he wanted…in good time, the poor creature died and came here: and there was no power in the universe would have prevented him staying and going on to the mountains. But do ye think that did him any good? This country was no use to him at all….There was nothing more to prove. His occupation was clean gone. Of course if he would only have admitted that he’d mistaken the means for the end and had a good laugh at himself he could have begun all over again like a little child and entered into joy. But he would not do that. He cared nothing about joy. In the end he went away.”

    “How fantastic!” said I.

    “Do ye think so?” said the Teacher with a piercing glance. “It is nearer to such as you than ye think. There have been men before now who got so interested in proving the existence of God that they came to care nothing for God Himself … as if the good Lord had nothing to do but exist! There have been some who were so occupied in spreading Christianity that they never gave a thought to
    Christ. Man! Ye see it in smaller matters. Did ye never know a lover of books that with all his first editions and signed copies had lost the power to read them? Or an organiser of charities that had lost all love for the poor? It is the subtlest of all the snares.”

  3. I’ve been thinking some more along these lines too, and had followed Randy’s posts on Patheos.

    I would say that there are marked similarities between the apologist that Randy was and the anti-theist argument as it is often put across. That is one of following rather knowledge-obsessed trains of thought, which are rather reductionist and simplistic. They are not always necessarily “wrong” but to a greater or lesser extent incomplete.

    The humility aspect here is important and I think you are correct thinking there is a link to psychological make up. I think there is the problem of dealing with the “metaphysical” and possibly an issue with “conceptualising” metaphysics, on the one hand and problems with understanding or accepting the “rational evidential approach” to the “physical” on the other. If we think of a “cosmology” which includes both “metaphysics” and “physics” which need to be proportionately related to each other to give a “correct” view, then maybe we could generalise as an explanation that there can be a problem with an unbalanced view.

    I would posit that the “New atheists” (and a lot of the old ones too) are pretty much predominantly if not totally stuck in the “physical” realm, at least very wary of the metaphysical, or because it is metaphysical and not actually subject to the physical, in denial of its validity or existence. Many religious people are possibly stuck far too far into the metaphysical and may well be ignorant of the “physical” and in their minds very wary of this, even if their bodies and experience largely rest here.

    Of course, here I am using generalisations, which due to their nature do not fit everyone or every situation and possibly fit none necessarily perfectly.

    When thinking of the metaphysical and the physical I think there may well be “languages” of both, at least in the conceptualisation of each. If one is not aware of the language of the other then I can see a real failure to communicate, which is what we see in the theist v anti-theist debate (if we can call it a debate as it often just appears to be two opposing polemics). To be “balanced” one needs to have an understanding of both, without this one will not really see “reality”.

    There also needs to be a humility, recognising the finite nature of being. In this we may obtain sufficient but not exhaustive knowledge of one or the other. Part of this is down to the volume of information out there, which we just cannot gather all of. We also need to realise that it is probably impossible to get exhaustive knowledge of everything, as Lotharson said “there might very well be many things our minds cannot fathom. Maybe this is much more true of the metaphysical, than the physical.

    Here, if we do not have a humility we just become arrogant, which is a charge which can be made of fundamentalists and equally of anti-theists, or anyone else for that matter.

    • Ross writes, I would posit that the “New atheists” (and a lot of the old ones too) are pretty much predominantly if not totally stuck in the “physical” realm, at least very wary of the metaphysical, or because it is metaphysical and not actually subject to the physical, in denial of its validity or existence.

      What you call ‘stuck’ I call ‘respect for’. These are not synonyms. I respect reality’s arbitration of claims made about it. And I do this for compelling reasons: using this model, we produce stuff that works… for everyone everywhere all the time. That’s not insignificant achievement.

      In contrast, the use of metaphysics to describe the reality we share produces no stuff that works. I think there are compelling reasons adduced from reality that explain why this approach is, has been, and shall continue to be, a way to fool ourselves by using our wishful beliefs to be considered an equivalent adjudicator for of claims made about reality. The argument often presented in defense of the use of metaphysics is that to disallow equivalency to one that deals with physics is somehow not fair or arrogant or intolerant.

      Hardly. It’s justifiable by its products that work, which rests solely on the physics side of this supposed equivalency.

      It’s simply not true that New Atheists assume a wariness about metaphysics as if by fiat; we are wary of metaphysics – and you should be, too, if your respect reality – because it has a long and rich history of misleading us when used to offer explanations about how reality works. There is cause to be wary of metaphysics when it used this way and evidence of a compelling nature that it does not, has not, and probably never shall lead us towards knowledge of the very reality its use tries – and fails spectacularly – to describe. This framework – the use of metaphysical explanations and justifications – does not yield models of reality upon which we can build therapies, applications, and technologies that work. Ever. This track record – and not some a priori assumption – is an excellent reason, the demonstrable cause, for New Atheists to be very wary of its use to import confidence to claims based on this method because we know it doesn’t work to produce knowledge deserving of confidence about the supposed reality it describes. This observation is not arrogance in need of humility, thank you very much; it is justifiable, demonstrable, and compelling evidence how people fool themselves by using metaphysics to support the immortal idea that their beliefs and not reality describe reality.

      This willingness to be fooled (even under the banner of hope) is fine if kept completely in the private domain where its use affects only those who decide to empower it. Good luck with that. But as soon as its use is brought into the public domain and used to effect, then expect New Atheists to stand up and loudly criticize those who attempt to foist claims and conclusions and explanations based on this foolish method on others. That’s not an exercise of hate; it’s an exercise of responsible reasoning that far too few people exercise consistently.

      If you run true to form, you will read this, reject it because of some suspected motivation or character flaw you presume I must have, and then continue merrily along to misrepresent and malign New Atheists and New Atheism.

      • “This framework – the use of metaphysical explanations and justifications – does not yield models of reality upon which we can build therapies, applications, and technologies that work.”

        The thing is, there is more to life than building therapies, applications, and technologies. They are all good but they don’t seem to be the end goal.

        To say life is all about figuring out how to live longer is a bit silly isn’t it? If life were all about making better i pads fine, science is the key. But science is not going to answer all the questions.

  4. This is quite a refreshing article after so much reason.
    Reason and logic can make rather dry bedfellows.
    But uncertainty and wonder open us to new horizons.
    Thank you.

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