Review: I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist – Chapter 1

1: CAN WE HANDLE THE TRUTH?

The author makes a lot of assertions, but chooses to back them up with anecdotes instead of with exposition. Because of that, it’s easy to miss the point in the middle of the chapter where he goes from speaking about truth as material fact to speaking about truth as objective morality. He applies the word both to the property that the earth is roundish (p 38) and to assert that gunning down one’s classmates is ethically wrong (p 40) without making any distinction between the two or showing that codes of behavior can be true or false in the same way as statements about physical attributes.

Furthermore, the author claims to have established that truth is knowable, but he never builds a cohesive argument. He says: agnostics and skeptics make the truth claim that truth claims cannot be made. They say that truth can’t be known but then claim that their view is true. You can’t have it both ways. So we’ve established that truth can be known (p 44). First, this does not address the middle and common view that not all things are knowable and not all truth claims are verifiable, only some things are. Second, this argument does not in the least establish that the truth about any particular thing can be known. At most, we can now say that some statements are verifiable or falsifiable. The word truth seems to have shifted in meaning throughout the chapter. It has gone from describing a state of things, to being a value judgment on right and wrong ethics, to being such a broad concept that it’s almost meaningless.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: