Monday, May 04, 2009

Stanley Fish on Terry Eagleton & the God-Debate

(Terry Eagleston)

Stanley Fish here comments on Terry Eagleton's Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections On the God Debate. Fish is quite a writer, as is Eagleton. Fish explains Eagleton's near-NOMA thesis, except that for Eagleton the magisteria are intertwined.

Fish: "Science, says Eagleton, “does not start far back enough”; it can run its operations, but it can’t tell you what they ultimately mean or provide a corrective to its own excesses. Likewise, reason is “too skin deep a creed to tackle what is at stake”; its laws — the laws of entailment and evidence — cannot get going without some substantive proposition from which they proceed but which they cannot contain; reason is a non-starter in the absence of an a prior specification of what is real and important, and where is that going to come from? Only from some kind of faith."

I agree. Science qua science says nothing about value.

Fish writes that Eagleston is "angry, I think, at having to expend so much mental and emotional energy refuting the shallow arguments of school-yard atheists like Hitchens and Dawkins. I know just how he feels."