This is the final installment in my dressing down of The Atheist Missionary’s slapdash approach to the pedagogy of his children. We saw him dismiss the resurrection because New Testament historians are supposedly constrained by religion and institutional affiliation to affirm the things they do. (This bizarrely contentious series of asertions demosntrates that the discrimination against “religion” continues, even if no remotely plausible definition of “religion” has yet been provided.)
As I pointed out, every field of experts has certain loyalties, orthodoxies, conservative institutions, et cetera which constrain what an individual can say within that field of discourse. So if TAM is going to marginalize one field of experts for such conservative pressures, he has to reject them all.
When faced with that dilemma he finally revealed that his objection isn’t to the fact that different fields of experts have conservative pressures which shape or guide the results of their research. That was just for show. Or perhaps a red herring to get me off the scent of the trail. Well it didn’t work, and so TAM finally revealed his real basis for rejecting particular fields of discourse. When asked how he could reject New Testament scholarship but not other fields of discourse he replied:
Easy … those other experts are not trying to convince me that someone walked on water or rose from the dead. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary supporting evidence.
I already pointed out, on multiple occasions, that this mantra “extraordinary claims require extraordinary supporting evidence” is a vacuous statement because judgements like “extraordinary” are always made relative to a background framework of interpretation. One man’s extraordinary is another man’s ordinary. So really this mindless principle has a single function: conservatism. That is, it serves as a protective hedge to protect whatever beliefs a person wants protected because they can just deem whatever claim might challenge their views “extraordinary” and thus conclude that the evidence for that “extraordinary claim” is not sufficient. Thus this mantra is the first important step in indoctrination.
That frankly disturbs me. I can picture “skeptics” with all their delusions of free thought instructing their children as follows:
“Remember little Jimmy, ‘Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence’. And of course everything mommy and daddy have taught you is very ordinary. It is everything that others try to teach you which is extraordinary. So watch out for that stuff. It requires extraordinary evidence, my little darlings.”
Shudder. Free thought, eh? If you say so.
Anyways, after all that effort I have to say that it was worth it. All the many principles The Atheist Missionary presented were really just window dressing. The real issue is this: The Atheist Missionary is committed to some form of naturalism. Thus he excludes a priori any field of experts which would propose anything which he has deemed as unnatural, miraculous or “extraordinary.” Folks, that is dogmatism of the worst sort, and it is even more insidious because it comes under the rubric of an open-minded, free thinking, unencumbered, skepticism.
So now I have to wonder two things: (1) what is the view of naturalism that TAM holds which allows him to dismiss entire fields of experts a priori; and (2) what are his reasons for thinking this naturalistic view is correct?