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D'Souza on Atheism
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Via PZ Myers, here's Dinesh D'Souza misrepresenting atheists, misinterpreting Kant, and basically being an idiot.

But for all their credentials and learning, the atheists have been duped by a fallacy. This may be called the Fallacy of the Enlightenment, and it was first pointed out by that great Enlightenment philosopher, Immanuel Kant.

The Fallacy of the Enlightenment is the glib assumption that human beings can continually find out more and more until eventually there is nothing more to discover. The Enlightenment Fallacy holds that human reason and science can, in principle, unmask the whole of reality.

As Myers points out, the vast majority of scientists and atheists never make a claim of completeness (and those that do are cranks). Of course there are limits to what we can directly sense, though we can design clever instruments that can detect and measure phenomena outside the range of our own senses (like an electron microscope or a Geiger counter). And for those things we are unable to directly measure, often we can make inferences based on available evidence (as in the prediction that black holes exist before they were found). Even with aid from technology and reason, there are many things we still will not know. A scientist sees that as a good opportunity for discovery. D'Souza apparently sees it as proof of god.

But he's not nearly done saying dumb things. He's just warming up, in fact.

Kant points out, however, that we can never compare our experience of reality to reality itself. All we have is the experience, and that's all we can ever have. We have only the copies, but we never have the originals. So we have no basis for presuming that the two are even comparable. When we equate experience and reality, we are making an unjustified leap.

(emphasis mine)

Hah, that's good stuff. He's right that we are getting a second-hand interpretation of cold, hard reality, but what's this business about not being able to reasonably compare them? Your basis for comparing what you perceive to reality is that there is a statistical correlation between the two. Every time you take a step, you are comparing reality to what you perceive. For the millions of steps you took before, you observed solid ground beneath your feet, and inferred that it would support you if you took another step. You take the step, and your inference is confirmed.

Every single time you walk you are justifiably comparing your experience with reality. The day you start walking and plummet to the center of the earth is a day you can chalk up a mismatch between your senses and reality. Actually, this is what many illusions are, a quirk of your perceptual system that leads to a misinterpretation between what you're sensing and reality.

That doesn't mean everything is an illusion. If there weren't correlations between reality and what you perceive, you would be unable to function in the world because there would be no predictability in the outcomes of your actions. If the link between senses and reality were arbitrary, when you went to pick up a cup it would be just as likely to disappear, or zing across the room, or turn into a giraffe.

So that's two down: atheists don't make claims that they do or can know everything, and not only do we have a basis for comparing what we sense to reality, it is essential for us to be able to act and survive.

Now for the finale:

Christianity teaches that while reason can point to the existence of this higher domain, this is where reason stops: it cannot on its own investigate or comprehend that domain.

Thus when Christopher Hitchens and other atheists routinely dismiss religious claims on the grounds that "what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence," they are making what philosophers like to call a category mistake. We learn from Kant that within the domain of experience, human reason is sovereign, but it is in no way unreasonable to believe things on faith that simply cannot be adjudicated by reason.

Again, PZ Myers has done a nice job with this already:

So this spiritual world is different from anything we know, and we cannot investigate or comprehend it with reason.

So how does Dinesh D'Souza know anything about it?

He just knows. So what's the problem with claiming knowledge in this sort of way? Well, there's no way to tell if it's right or wrong, because you can't check it in any way. It's not open to any kind of independent confirmation. So you can use this justification to believe anything. That's right...relying on faith alone, without any kind of evidence, allows you to believe anything, from pink dragons to purple unicorns.

I'm not sure what the average believer would think of D'Souza, his book, and his "arguments". It's probably sell a few million copies, but it's pretty thin gruel.

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