Philosopher Keith Parsons, from the University of Houston, has given up doing philosophy of religion. According to Julia Galef, writing at Religious Dispatches, Parsons found the case for God to be insupportable. As Parsons wrote on the website The Secular Outpost:
I have to confess that I now regard “the case for theism” as a fraud and I can no longer take it seriously enough to present it to a class as a respectable philosophical position—no more than I could present intelligent design as a legitimate biological theory. BTW, in saying that I now consider the case for theism to be a fraud, I do not mean to charge that the people making that case are frauds who aim to fool us with claims they know to be empty. No, theistic philosophers and apologists are almost painfully earnest and honest… I just cannot take their arguments seriously any more, and if you cannot take something seriously, you should not try to devote serious academic attention to it.
Parsons later said he regretted using the word “fraud,” but of course the case for God is a fraud. He just can’t say that publicly. But, as Galef reports:
Parsons’ background in the sciences (he obtained his doctorate in the history and philosophy of science at University of Pittsburgh) made him wary of unfettered reasoning. “There’s so little empirical grounding and constraint in philosophy. Even in paleontology, a so-called soft science, the bones are there,” Parsons says. “You can go measure them, look at them. You can’t say anything the bones won’t let you say.”
Parsons did the right thing. Biblical scholarship is one thing, for it’s interesting and useful to dissect the human origins of religious myths. Religious philosophy: not so gud, akshually. Like many universities, mine has a divinity school whose faculty engages in both activities. I’ve always found it interesting that “elite” universities have schools and faculties devoted, at least in part, to rationalizing the existence of a fictitious being.
h/t: Brother Russell Blackford