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Top 100 Atheist Challenges

How would you respond to Victor Stenger’s stinging assertion that religious argument leads universally to dismal failure and untold suffering?

I would respond by saying that the very science he seeks to utilize so zealously is hanging in mid-air apart from philosophical presuppositions about the reality of the external world, the uniformity of nature, the capacity of the mind to understand the world—these most basic commitments undergirding his entire enterprise are all known apart from merely empirical and/or logical considerations.  Indeed, it was unflinching empiricism of David Hume that showed such presuppositions to be entirely unfounded if we restrict ourselves to “the most reliable tools we have to determine truths about the world.”  But more to the point: given evolution, our cognitive faculties were selected for in terms of their conductivity to survival.  Why think, therefore, that the particular cognitive faculties behind our theoretical beliefs (which help us little to survive, and are therefore irrelevant to natural selection) have any correlation at all with truth?