Dinesh D’Souza now claims that “Why Atheists Aren’t Very Bright” in the latest excerpt from his new book, asserting that “atheists have been duped by a fallacy:”
The Fallacy of the Enlightenment is the glib assumption that human beings can continually find out more and more until eventually there is nothing more to discover. The Enlightenment Fallacy holds that human reason and science can, in principle, unmask the whole of reality.
He then asks, based on Kant, “What makes us think that there is no reality lies beyond our perception, reality that simply cannot be apprehended by our five senses?” The entire history of scientific advancement shows that our knowledge is not limited to mere sense-data. Take the simple example of the electromagnetic spectrum: although our eyes see only visible light, we are no longer blind to radio waves, x-rays, and ultraviolet light, to name a few. Similarly, we are capable of apprehending such seeming abstractions as gravity waves and neutrinos. Whether or not this progress will continue until “there is nothing more to discover” remains to be seen, but D’Souza’s allegedly omnipresent god is running out of places to hide.
D’Souza claims that atheists “are asking for experiential evidence in a domain which is entirely beyond the reach of experience,” and this is exactly correct: we are asking that theists provide evidence for their claims. In the absence of evidence, theists’ glib assumptions of the supernatural (gods, angels, devils, miracles, resurrections, an afterlife, etc.) are merely unsupported conjectures indistinguishable from Bertrand Russell’s celestial teapot.
update (10/22 @ 2:01pm):
PZ Myers discusses D’Souza’s dimness here, and gives his “meaningless babble” a well-deserved rhetorical bitch-slap:
The atheist position does not rest on any claim of absolute perfect knowledge. It is based on a very simple principle: that we have to be able to explain how we know what we know, and support it with some kind of independently confirmable evidence. When people make extravagant religious claims, like this invention of D'Souza's that there is an independent reality supporting the one we can see, we ask, "How do you know that?" And what do we get? Silence. Or meaningless babble that skirts the question.