The thirteenth now in my series about the book God or Godless? As all religious discussion eventually do, the Christian here has begun to assert that atheists have faith too.
Is it a faith claim to assert that a believe should be supported by evidence? The entire debate comes down to that question. And the answer is no. This claim can be thought of it two ways: it is either a value claim, as Sam Harris argues. He asks us what reasons we might give to person to value reason, if they have already chosen not to value reason. Equally, what evidence might we present to a person who already thinks evidence is not a good route to the truth? So in some real way, the idea that beliefs should be supported by evidence and reason is simply a values claim.
Sticking with Sam Harris, has we ever had a reasoned or evidential belief to which now a faith based belief is a better answer? No. Evidence and reason have a track record for tracking truth. If faith had this track record of accurate and precise claims above that of chance we wouldn’t hold evidence in such high regard.
If you think evidence isn’t important, I challenge you to prefer a hospital that has never practiced evidential medicine over a hospital that has. Antibiotics versus something I mixed from the ingredients in my kitchen, plus faith.