Originally posted by ivangrice
Do dyed-in-the-wool atheists find this an admission of failure?
(That's 'queer' as in 'strange'...)
According to Prof. Richard Dawkins humanity may never fully understand or even comprehend the universe (presentation given at the TED Global event yesterday).
Do dyed-in-the-wool atheists fin ...[text shortened]... inevitable, given the unknowable nature of God?
Am not a dyed-in-the-wool atheist, and don’t know how Dawkins intended this statement, but—
I don’t consider it a failure to acknowledge the limits and boundaries of the human condition, intellectually or otherwise. Perhaps I should say potential
limits and boundaries, since you don’t always know the limit until you bounce up against it; and even then, that particular limit may be temporary. Adhering to pre-set limits can, well, limit you artificially.
The conditions of human existence are not a failure, just a fact. If we are never able to “fully understand or even comprehend the universe,” that will not be a failure, just a fact—unless we fail because we don’t try. To the extent that
religions engage in supernatural speculation to either 1) deny that fact, or 2) to assert that it is somehow “failure”—I tend to think that is escapist. To the extent that such speculation
is an attempt to reach outside the natural realm for explanations of the limits and boundaries of the human condition (intellectual or otherwise)—I just don’t find that particularly helpful.
Now most religious people are unlikely to acknowledge that they are engaging in such speculation—and some are not.
As regards your second question, for me to offer an answer would be to indulge in the kind of speculation I mentioned above.