I just finished reading Dinesh D'Souza's essay Why Atheists are Not Very Bright which is also an excerpt from his book, What's So Great About Christianity. I am not an atheist, but I can certainly see atheism as a reasonable point of view. Consequently I am responding to his piece.
Dinesh starts out parroting an argument from Kant that we cannot know everything about the world because we only come to know the world throught the filter of our senses. According to D'Souza, this implies that (1) we cannot know everything about that world, (2) we should not have complete faith in religion and (3) that there exists a God that knows everything.
From the article - "The atheist foolishly presumes that reason is in principle capable of figuring out all that there is, while the theist at least knows that there is a reality greater than, and beyond, that which our senses and our minds can ever apprehend."
There are so many holes in this argument... where to begin?
A. Dinesh falsely assumes that through reason everything in the world can be known.
B. Dinesh falsely assumes that there necesseraliy is a reality than our own which our senses and minds can ever apprehend... How can he say this is true without any evidence?
C. From a practical view, religion has done less to increase man's understanding of the world and to improve our material well being than science. (Interesting post that came out today nicely illustrates one side effect of this - Atheism correlates with wealth, theism with poverty.) Religions have been hindering science from Galileo's time (when the Catholic Chrurch opposed the heliocentric view of the world in favor of a geocentric one) through the present (when fundamentalist theists oppose the teaching of evolution in science classes). In the meantime, the opposite is not necessarily true... No scientists are mandating that churches and synogogues relate alternative theories to the biblical versions of creation .
D. Just like the atheists he decries, he is denouncing scientific theory without any evidence to the contrary. He invalidates his own view with his own argument... Nice.