Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Critique of a NYT article "Atheism and Evidence"

Stanley Fish's article http://fish.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/06/17/atheism-and-evidence/?apage=18#comment-84763 on atheism was in bad taste. He says,

The reasons you must give, however, do not come from outside your faith, but follow from it and flesh it out.
which at best appears to be a circular argument. If the above mentioned argument is supposed to be tenable , it seems to imply that reasoning is just a tool to bolster your faith. So, what are we left with in that case ? Faith as an absolute ? This specious argument tries to ensconce itself on the nebulous nature of interaction between faith and reasoning. Faith is not derived from reasoning, at least not in entirety , it is instilled by our environment and blossomed by reasoning , but reasoning goes further than that, it challenges existing beliefs by the way of observation and transforms or expands the existing faith , depending upon the effect of observation and deductions. Thus , we find that reason doesn't depend entirely upon faith , but rather draws in from its observations power and shapes faith.

Moving further he quotes that ,

I “believe in evolution,” Dawkins declares, “because the evidence supports it”; but the evidence is evidence only because he is seeing with Darwin-directed eyes.The evidence at once supports his faith and is evidence by virtue of it.
In stating this he has completely missed the bus. We don't believe in Darwin , because we have Darwin-directed eyes. We believe in natural selection because evidence supports it. If evidence points out that natural selection was not correct in entirety , then we would , based on evidence, change our belief.

Fish's argument above implies that , if you don't look with Darwin-directed eyes, all the evidence appears absurdity, but lets see why is Darwin relevant . He is relevant because he provides a pattern (faith) based on the observation (reasoning) and evidence, which is a step towards understanding the vastly non-understood subject, but what does Fish suggest over here, " I don't believe that the pattern (faith) by Darwin is right" . Fine , then, offer evidences, and if someone has better evidence we would mold our faiths accordingly and not be sulking about the "glasses" as Fish does.

He has seriously mistaken between the faith promulgated by reasoning and reasoning justifying faith. Reasoning doesn't always justify faith, it rather shapes faith. He concludes by stating that atheists (Richard Dawkins) must revisit their arguments, and in stating that he again misses the central point expostulated by Dawkins. In his book, God Delusion, Dawkins provides arguments/evidences against the faiths established by the reasoning given in support of GOD, while at the same time , he stresses on the fact that we don't know all and urges to draw our own conclusions by our own observations.In doing that he stresses upon reasoning through observation , effects of which could be the reversal of faith. There is a single important difference between the Reasoning of Dawkins and Faith of Fish, Fish needs more evidence.

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