Part 7 of the “A Secular Age” review on the Only a Game Blog is here.

This is entitled The Imminent Frame and is a discussion on materialism versus transcendentalism.

It raises the contentious issue of belief in epistemology.

Richard Dawkins for example holds what is considered a naive interpretation of Faith when he says:

Faith, being belief that isn’t based on evidence, is the principal vice of any religion,” whereas Science “is free of the main vice of religion, which is faith”.

As a counterpoint Charles Taylor quotes evolutionary biologist Richard Lewontin as an example of a materialist who maintains a lucidity about “their prior ontological commitments”.

“Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to understanding the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori allegiance to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a divine foot in the door.”