Inquiry wants to be free
Hitchens has a piece in that current Free Inquiry that I mentioned. It’s about the ‘fundamentalist atheist’ bromide that is making the rounds. He doesn’t find it altogether impressive. He doesn’t find it overwhelmingly persuasive, either.
All you need is to ignore the difference between someone who believes in, say, heaven and hell and someone who doesn’t. The first has a lot of work to do by way of providing anything that even looks like evidence. The second rests his case on the extreme improbability of any such evidence being adduced. Are these positions really describable as morally or intellectually equivalent? Or take the case of someone who believes in punishment for blasphemy or in prior restraint on those who might commit it. Is this the same dogma as the argument that says that religion, since it makes such huge claims, must expect to have them submitted to rigorous questioning?…The faithful believe that certain truths have been ‘revealed.’ The skeptics and secularists believe that truth is only to be sought by free inquiry and trial and error. Only one of those positions is dogmatic.
He got the phrase ‘free inquiry’ in there. I got it into mine, too. I must say, it’s something of an honour to write for a publication called ‘free inquiry.’