Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hmm, what an interesting point RICHARD DAWKINS

"Men on a lower level of understanding, when brought into contact with phenomena ofa higher order, instead of making efforts to understand them, to raise themselves up to the point of view from which they must look at the subject, judge it from their lower standpoint, and the less they understand what they are talking about, the more confidently and unhesitatingly they pass judgment on it. ...From the basement one cannot judge of the effect of the spire. But this is just what the learned critics of the day try to do. For they share the erroneous idea of the orthodox believers that they are in possession of certain infallible means for investigating a subject. They fancy if they apply their so-called scientific methods of criticism, there can be no doubt of the conclusion being correct. This testing the subject by the fancied infallible method of science is the principal obstacle to understanding the Christian religion...for so-called educated people."

- Leo Tolstoy, The Kingdom of God is Within You, 1893, p. 67, 71

The New Atheists: 118 years late to the game.

Further reading (from a communist, no less - recommended by the great Kenny Gradert).

PS: I've finished Islam Without Extremes by Mustafa Aykol, and hope to review it here soon. Now I'm working on this Tolstoy book. More insights as they come.


  1. I'm not sure what you're getting at here. Are you using Tolstoy's position that the quicker you are at rejecting something without a second thought the more likely you're very ignorant of it -- and applying that with Dawkins' flippant attitude toward religion? I had to read the first paragraph a few times just to write this comment.

  2. Sorry for being inscrutable.

    YES - but more so that Dawkins believes that "scientific methods of criticism" are an "infallible method" of understanding the world. Dawkins' whole point, as I understand it, is, "God's existence can't be proven scientifically or logically, therefore believing in him is foolish." This is a line of argumentation that died in the 19th century, mostly because trying to judge transcendental truths with human observation and experimentation - trying to judge the spire from the basement - is absurd.

    I just really enjoyed finding a line in Tolstoy that so neatly refutes Dawkins 118 years ahead of the fact.