Thursday, March 29, 2012

An update from the Church of Atheism

More evidence for my thesis that atheism is a Christian heresy, this time from Stanley Fish in the New York Times, discussing an interview of Richard Dawkins and Stephen Pinker by Chris Hayes on MSNBC :
Pushed by Hayes, who had observed that when we accept the conclusions of scientific investigation we necessarily do so on trust (how many of us have done or could replicate the experiments?) and are thus not so different from religious believers, Dawkins and Pinker asserted that the trust we place in scientific researchers, as opposed to religious pronouncements, has been earned by their record of achievement and by the public rigor of their procedures. In short, our trust is justified, theirs is blind. 
It was at this point that Dawkins said something amazing, although neither he nor anyone else picked up on it. He said: in the arena of science you can invoke Professor So-and-So’s study published in 2008, “you can actually cite chapter and verse.” 
With this proverbial phrase, Dawkins unwittingly (I assume) attached himself to the centuries-old practice of citing biblical verses in support of a position on any number of matters, including, but not limited to, diet, animal husbandry, agricultural policy, family governance, political governance, commercial activities and the conduct of war. Intellectual responsibility for such matters has passed in the modern era from the Bible to academic departments bearing the names of my enumerated topics. We still cite chapter and verse — we still operate on trust — but the scripture has changed (at least in this country) and is now identified with the most up-to-date research conducted by credentialed and secular investigators.
Read the rest here.


One Brow said...

If atheists in India or China start talking about quoting chapter and verse, that might mean something about atheism being connected to Christianity specifically. When a man raised in a culture where the idiom of quoting chapter and verse is commonplace, does it make more sense to credit the culture, or some mystical connection between ideas?

KyCobb said...


Do you find it amusing that you and Richard Dawkins are in agreement about Mitt Romney?