A few years ago, I wrote an article criticizing Christopher Hitchens’ Razor. This morning, I found myself tweeting about the same topic, and I decided to post my string of tweets here. So now, without further ado, Christopher Hitchens’ Deepity…
One of the best examples of a deepity (i.s. a pseudo-profundity) comes from Christopher Hitchens: “What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.” Many atheists invoke Hitchens’ so-called “razor” as an excuse not to defend their views.
But if Hitchens’ Razor is itself asserted without evidence, it too can be dismissed without evidence.
Even worse, much of what we know with greatest conviction is asserted “without evidence” (i.e. as a properly basic belief). Consider, for example, our basic convictions about the nature of good and evil or rational intuitions like the law of non-contradiction or our belief that there is an external world and minds other than our own. All this is information that we reason *from* rather than *for*.
And if you were asked to defend your belief that evil should be avoided or that it is impossible that p and not-p or that there is indeed a world external to my mind (which includes other minds, too), you’d be hard-pressed to persuade the skeptic because these beliefs are typically asserted without evidence.
But to suggest that one can thereby dismiss basic moral and rational intuitions about the nature of reality simply because everyone else accepts them without argument is absurd. Hitchens’ Razor is nothing more than a deepity, a bit of nonsensical pseudo-profundity.