"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt." -- Bertrand Russell

Saturday, December 1, 2012

How to Respond to an Arrogant Catholic Newspaper

Francis Philips recently wrote an article called "How to respond to a young friend who has come under Dawkins's spell" for the Catholic Herald. In the article, Philips presents the following sort of argument (where I'm probably being more charitable than I should be):

1. Scientism, the view that science is the only legitimate source of knowledge, is false.
2. If (1) then science cannot tell us about whether God exists.
3. Therefore, science cannot tell us about whether God exists.

In support of premise (1), Philips only offers the story of a neuroscientist who recently made a visit to Lourdes and remarked that they had not ruled out the possibility for people to have immaterial spiritual experiences of some kind (whatever that is supposed to mean).

In response, I will first discuss scientism and it's relation to theology. Then, I will discuss religious experience and whether such experiences give us good reasons to conclude that God is likely to exist. I will forego discussing whether or not Philips accurately represents the view she attributes to Dawkins*.