Posted: Jun 18, 2010 8:59 am
by Will S
CookieJon wrote:
Will S wrote:He may tell us to rely on a sacred book, or on the pronouncements of a religious authority (himself, perhaps!), but, as soon as we ask why this particular sacred book, or this particular religious authority, if he responds at all, he has to use … (wait for it!) ... reason!
The unavoidable conclusion is that, when we are trying to find out the truth about things, reason trumps everything, and nothing can trump reason.

So? Your proposed argument from the theists' point of view about reason was not that it doesn't work at all, just that it "has its limits". It doesn't follow that "reason trumps everything" if you've only used the limited ability of reason to reason that reason itself is limited, or to reason the best method of overcoming its limitations.

I can't see any problem at all with the statement '(human) reason has, or may have, its limits'.

(Aside: I come at this from biology. The seat of reason appears to be the brain. The brain is an organ, and like any other organ, it has evolved to perform particular functions. So the surprise is, not that there are things which it can't do, but that there are so many things which it can do - things which seem to have no connection with human reproduction and survival e.g it can do calculus, or play chess.)

The issue is: where do we go from here? Have we any other way of getting information, which by-passes reason? As far as I can see, we haven't, and I'd argue that, if religious people think there is, then it's down to them to convince us. N.B. if they try to convince us, what will they use .... presumably, reason!!

So when I say 'Reason trumps everything', I not so much saying how wonderful, glorious, reliable reason is; rather I'm saying that it's all we've got.