Julian Baggini on Reason (& 11 other ‘rules’ for Atheists)

[ 2 ] Comments

Spiritual Meanderings has written up an excellent summary and response to Julian Baggini’s Heathen Manifesto in the Guardian (I wrote about one of his articles recently). A lot of what Baggini writes is very helpful, and I hope many of his fellow ‘New Atheists’ pay attention to the points he brings up, not least, his corrective criticism about the place of science in the Atheistic worldview he proposes. I also thought this was worth repeating:

We use reason whenever we try to form true beliefs on the basis of the clearest thinking, using the best evidence. But reason almost always leaves us short of certain knowledge and very often leaves us with a need to make a judgment in order to come to a conclusion. We also need to accept that human beings are very imperfect users of reason, susceptible to biases, distortions and prejudices that lead even the most intelligent astray. In short, if we understand what reason is and how it works, we have very good reason to doubt those who claim rationality solely for those who accept their worldview and who deny the rationality of those who disagree.

Read the rest.

« « Impossible Church| Hoisting Hume » »

2 Responses to Julian Baggini on Reason (& 11 other ‘rules’ for Atheists)

  1. tony c, says:

    As a non-theist I think I quite like this guy. Gonna have to check him out. Reason has been being deconstructed by nontheists for some time now – Freud, Foucault, Derrida are just three that come immediately to mind. I'm no fan of Freud or Derrida particularly myself but Foucault is great IMO.

    Alas New atheists are dominated by analytical philosophers. For a slightly different perspective Rick Gervais has some great points delivered in a humourous fashion. Everybodys guessing after all. It's why I try to promote humility at my blog all the time.

    • AndrewFinden says:

      To be honest, I tend to see an ignorance & dismissal of philosophy amongst the more vocal "New Atheists" instead relying on comedians like Gervais. (I've written about his comments before here and here) I'm not so convinced he makes too many solid points.. comedy has a habit of sweeping fallacies under the carpet for the sake of a laugh (which is fine as long as we recognise it)

      Dawkins, for example, is one of the worst culprits of philosophical ignorance IMO, Hawking tried to claim that philosophy was dead (which is a rather self-defeating philosophy to have!) Sam Harris, who is much more philosophically fluent got lots of criticism for trying to bluff his way across the is-ought divide, and Lawrence Kraus just recently got taken to task for his philosophical equivocating by Columbian Uni Philosphy professor David Albert.

      The problem is that humility doesn't seem to be big on the agenda for "New Atheist" leaders like Dawkins, who used a recent rally for 'reason' to call for mocking of those he disagrees with.. so reasonable! :D Baggini is a breath of fresh air – sad that many "New Atheist" foot-soldiers are laying into him for his reasonableness.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>