Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Atheists Can't Keep Their Story Straight

Excellent Discovery Institute piece packs a lot in a small space as it critiques Jerry Coyne's disingenuity.

Contains some good stuff from Chesterton:

The question of the miraculous is a philosophical and historical question. It is not a scientific question.

The scientific manner of dealing with miracles is really quite impressive as a rhetorical phenomenon: it gets the scientific rationalist out of having to do any intellectual heavy lifting. It involves making metaphysical and historical assertions without actually making any metaphysical or historical arguments. G. K. Chesterton spotted the method behind it a hundred years ago:

The philosophical case against miracles is somewhat easily dealt with. There is no philosophical case against miracles. There are such things as the laws of Nature rationally speaking. What everybody knows is this only. That there is repetition in nature.

... The historic case against miracles is also rather simple. It consists of calling miracles impossible, then saying that no one but a fool believes impossibilities: then declaring that there is no wise evidence on behalf of the miraculous. The whole trick is done by means of leaning alternately on the philosophical and historical objection. If we say miracles are theoretically possible, they say, "Yes, but there is no evidence for them." When we take all the records of the human race and say, "Here is your evidence," they say, "But these people were superstitious, they believed in impossible things."

In other words, when you show that it did happen, you are told that it doesn't matter, because it can't happen; and when you show that it can happen, you are told that it doesn't matter, because it didn't happen.

1 comment:

IlĂ­on said...

If there really were a substantive difference between 'metaphysical naturalism' and 'methodological naturalism,' as the 'atheists' are wont tirelessly to assert, and if 'methodological naturalism' in no way implies 'metaphysical naturalism,' as they further assert, then we should not be seeing from them this constant philosophical opposition to 'methodological designism.'