Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Danielle Bean: Faith is More Reasonier than Reason

Danielle Bean, "Catholic author" writes in the On Faith blog that she's upset that atheists are using Jon Stewart's D.C. rally to promote reason.  This is unacceptable, writes Bean:
Atheists would have you believe that science is opposed to faith, but real science is not only unopposed to faith -- real scientific study leads us to God.

For proof, she cites Robert Boyle, the father of modern chemistry, who stated that "From a knowledge of God's work we shall know Him." Congratulations to Ms. Bean on finding a seventeenth-century scientist who also believed in God. She doesn't cite any other scientist who doesn't believe in God, or who does not feel that the best way to know about the universe is to apply faith, but that might detract readers from her main point.

I am not sure just how atheists have managed to secure exclusive rights to use of the word "reason."

Well, no one ever said that atheists want "exclusive" rights, but freethinkers do argue that reason is superior to faith when obtaining information. Sure, what we learn by faith might be true, but the only way to know for sure is to A) use reason, or B) use more faith. Martin Luther called Reason "the Devil's greatest whore," but I suppose the Catholic Ms. Bean might not know what the Father of the Protestant movement would say.

Ms. Bean goes on to erect a cartoon-version of the modern scientific method:
There is nothing at all reasonable about believing that the universe is a colossal accident....Believing that the human body is a haphazard collision of cells and that the earth is randomly placed in space, at precisely the correct distance from the sun for supporting life is as reasonable as expecting a roomful of monkeys with typewriters to turn out the next great literary masterpiece.

Of course, no non-theistic cosmologist describes the origins of the universe as an accident, and no biologist calls a human being a haphazard collision of cells. She also grossly exaggerates the range of our Sun's Habitable Zone and Earth's special place in it. Not because, as I suspect, that she's had extensive scientific training, but because apologists have told her so, as I have written about before.

Anti-faith personalities like Jon Stewart and Richard Dawkins might think that they have all the answers, but real believers know that only God does. And He's not invited to the mall this weekend.

Ms. Bean seems confused. The Jon Stewart rally is not intended to be a backlash against faith in general, but a response to the Glenn Beck rally of right-wing conservatism and fear-mongering. That atheists are taking an opportunity to protest against the Religious Right and their "faith-based" politicking is not because we have all the answers. We don't, but we don't plaster faith into our gaps of knowledge and then hug ourselves because we're so special in the eyes of God.

Simply put, faith is an unreliable means of obtaining knowledge. As the saying goes, Faith is No Reason.

No comments: