instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Friday, February 21, 2003

Still the arguments of the village atheist of the Ingersoll period

It took less than three weeks of completely failing to understand the point of The Secularist Critique for atheists to declare themselves tired by it.

It's too bad, because as I've written before I think theist is trying to conduct a tremendously important discussion. The atheists he's attracted, though, seem to have confused him with that geeky freshman in the dorm room by the stairs who's always trying to get them to accept Jesus as their personal savior. They are so convinced of the rightness of their position they can't even recognize when it is being critiqued, or figure out how to defend it other than by attacking Christianity.

For what it's worth, I'll quote Bertrand Russell, the great bodhisattva of Materialism, making theist's point for him:
The two dogmas that constitute the essence of materialism are: First, the sole reality of matter; second, the reign of law....

And it must also be remembered that there is no good reason to suppose materialism metaphysically true: it is a point of view which has hitherto proved useful in research, and is likely to continue useful wherever new scientific laws are being discovered, but which may well not cover the whole field, and cannot be regarded as definitely true without a wholly unwarranted dogmatism.

-- Introduction to F. Lange's A History of Materialism, emphasis added
Some day I must finish up my study on the similarities between the Berties Russell and Wooster, but whatever else may be said of him, Russell was not mentally negligible. He was able to see the true nature of materialism -- that it is a useful but wholly unwarranted dogmatism -- and honest enough to admit it.