There is something strange about atheism and science-ism these days in that they have come to resemble that which they despise:
If somebody is wrong or dubious about, say, quantum mechanics or special relativity (which likewise present us with claims about the universe that are a bit hard to comprehend or swallow), the answer to their dubiousness or confusion is not “SHUT UP!” But that has been the approach of the scientific establishment to people who have doubts about evolution–for decades. It’s lousy pedagogy and it tends to create conformists and skeptics, but not inquirers. I favor inquiry.But people who are looking for an excuse to ignore God are not really interested in reason, however much they may bill themselves as “Brights”. They are looking for a very powerful aesthetic appeal to a pre-conceived and pre-rational choice to reject God. As I noted some time ago:
In God Is Not Great, Hitchens describes how, at the age of nine, he concluded that his teacher’s claim that the world must be designed was wrong:
I simply knew, almost as if I had privileged access to a higher authority, that my teacher had managed to get everything wrong.
Hitchens’s brother, Peter, drily replies:
At the time of this revelation, he knew nothing of the vast, unending argument between those who maintain that the shape of the world is evidence of design, and those who say the same world is evidence of random, undirected natural selection.
It’s my view that he still doesn’t know all that much about this interesting dispute. Yet at the age of nine, he “simply knew” who had won one of the oldest debates in the history of mankind.
What is marvelous is how nakedly Hitchens reveals his own atheist convictions to be entirely faith-based and — what is more — based on faith in a mystical epiphany to a nine-year-old boy. All the massive artillery of his adult wit and eloquence is, in the final analysis, ranked and ranged to protect that boy and his emotional epiphany. In contrast, all Christ asks of us is to have hearts like children, not minds like children. St. Thomas’s faith was childlike; his intellect was formidably adult. Hitchens, in contrast, demands we reject St. Thomas’s fifth demonstration of the existence of God — because a nine-year-old boy had a really strong feeling once half-a-century ago.