28 April

Three New, Interesting Articles

  1. Science Versus Religion? The Insights and Oversights of the ‘New Atheists’ — Brad S. Gregory
    The assertion of the ‘New Atheists’ that the natural sciences somehow oppose all religious truth claims about the natural world is false. These atheists mistakenly treat all religion as one. In fact, some teachings are far superior to other blatantly mistaken ones. Moreover, while claims that believers have sinned may be true, ‘any implication that specific religious truth claims are therefore undermined is fallacious’. ‘Christian truth claims…do not stand or fall depending on the actions of Christians’. The ‘New Atheists’ have – probably unconsciously – adopted a presupposition that if God exists, he must ‘belong conceptually at least in certain respects to the same ontological order as everything else’. This departs from the Christian tradition of a God ‘distinct from and noncompetitive with his creation [sic]’ and ‘incomprehensibly transcendent’. Consequently, God ‘cannot in principle be shown to be a “delusion” on the basis of any scientific finding’; rather, ‘the epistemological self-restraints of… natural sciences precludes saying anything… about whether something might transcend the natural order’. To claim that modern science leaves no room for God is quite false and the ‘New Atheists’ must look beyond the strict ‘naturalistic horizons of [their] ontological prison’, becoming more self-conscious and self-critical.
  2. When Freedom Isn’t Free — Theodore Dalrymple
    When a bed-and-breakfast establishment refused to admit a homosexual couple, this was reported to the police by the couple in question who invoked the Equality Act 2006. While no prosecution followed the case received fresh attention when a senior Tory, Christopher Grayling, spoke out in favour of the bed-and-breakfast. The furore this provoked might have suggested he was ‘advocating medieval punishments for homosexuals’. The author argues ‘it is a necessary condition of freedom that private citizens should be allowed to treat with, or to refuse to treat with, whomever they choose…’. Liberalism, in the current public commentary, too often ‘turns into its opposite, illiberalism’.
  3. A Liberal Education Provides Freedom of Thought — Torbjorn Elensky
    Emphasis is often given to the importance of critical thinking. But thinking critically is something different than having a relativist concept of the truth or lazily questioning every authority.

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