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An argument against "school-yard atheists"

I’m not impressed.  Stanley Fish reviews Terry Eagleton’s new book criticizing atheists like Dawkins and Hitchens.  Stanley Fish loves any vaguely postmodernist crap like this where no one can really know anything and reason is just another faith blah blah.  Read it for yourself if you can stomach it.  Here’s my comment I posted to Professor Fish:

Prof Fish,

Could you please quote at least one place (or quote Eagleton’s quotation) where any of the atheists Eagleton is attacking profess a belief “that, a few hiccups apart, we are all steadily en route to a finer world?” I read all those “school-yard atheists” and I don’t remember any such statements where they idolize an idea of progress without regard to “poverty and famine.” Try arguing against something they actually say, or point out the flaws in Eagleton’s argument. The lack of quotations from Dawkins or Hitchens clearly illustrates some intellectual dishonesty, poor scholarship, or both.

Even if those atheists did falsely believe in such an idea, it would be only through reason that anyone could show that such an idea was incorrect. Your lack of critical analysis of faith is striking. Of course, most ridiculously, Eagleton claims reason to be another faith. It’s a funny criticism coming from him – does he have no sense of irony? So Prof Fish if reason is a faith and if faith is somehow a deeper way to understand the world there is no problem, right? Or are some faiths better or worse than others? If so, by what mechanism or method should we evaluate them? You or Eagleton don’t say.

Also, to equate “faith and hope” is disingenuous. The faith that most atheists criticize is not the faith people mean when they say things like “I have faith in humanity” or “I have faith that my children will always love me” but is the faith people appeal to when reasons run out for their “unsupported […] assertions” like when they say things like “I have faith that a personal God created the universe, listens to my prayers, and will return to Earth to judge humanity.” When did Dawkins or Hitchens or anyone else Eagleton writes about argue against hope? There are more problems in Eagleton’s arguments (at least presented by you) and in your own lack of scrutiny of Eagleton but I hope you can respond to these points and questions I have already raised.

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