Because We Started the Conversation…

Once the act of simply reporting or simply observing is exposed as a fiction — as something that just can’t be done — the facile opposition between faith-thinking and thinking grounded in independent evidence cannot be maintained. {Stanley Fish}

Today, Stanely Fish posted a follow-up article in the Times to his piece last week, “God-Talk.” I found this week’s installment intriguing, but also – it’s just rude to walk out on someone mid-conversation.

I think Fish could have left out the little self-congratulating plug at the bottom, but then again, if someone were taking potshots at me, I’d be tempted to rub it in their face as well. Still, though, the editorial Fish refers to by Paul Campos, even if a bit of defensive hubris, makes a point, several actually. Campos summed up Fish’s repeated mantra nicely: “No believer will find his faith shaken by evidence that is evidence only in the light of assumptions he does not share and considers flatly wrong.”

If, however, you’d like to read a more imaginative (and I’d say humble) response to all this, check out John Blase’s thoughts.

3 Replies to “Because We Started the Conversation…”

  1. Ugh.

    I would love to talk about this with you sometime, Winn. The thoughts I have are far too numerous and transitive to risk in this medium. But I will say I liked Fish’s first article much better than this one. The second article basically boils down to the age-old argument that both science and religion require faith and the notion that because Dawkins/Hitchens/Harris/et al see all evidence as evidence for their case they would not believe in God if he revealed himself to them in a firey chariot. I find both these notions difficult to swallow. Here’s some thoughts I had a few years ago on the idea that everyone starts with faith, just as a starting point.

    I must say my favorite idea from this whole discussion was presented by John Blase: “Based on everything we could see or measure via telescopes and microscopes, religion no longer offered, as Hitchens has said, ‘an explanation of anything important.’ Eagleton counters: ‘But Christianity was never meant to be an explanation of anything in the first place.’ Mercy, there’s a clear case of two wrongs making a wronger.”


  2. I would absolutely love that conversation with you, Justin – as I love most every conversation with you (and I say most only because I don’t want to exaggerate and I’m sure there’s been one at some point I didn’t care much for 🙂

    I agree with much of the post you linked, but I still agree with Fish’s central notion – the idea that there is anything that comes close to pure, objective, unfiltered reason with anybody on this topic (or any other) is just nonsense.

    And I too absolutely loved that line from John – that is pure John-speak right there. I chuckled when I read it, and I had to share it with Miska.

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