Exponents of the “New Atheism” flatter themselves as “skeptics.” But real skepticism is very different. Here’s a paradigm-case:
It is especially noteworthy in Hume’s case that he is not being any rougher on religion than on science!–for science also rests ultimately on faith in inductive principles incapable of non-inductive substantiation. Faith which, in the latter case, has a mechanism consisting in custom; but this is no justification. Anything has some mechanism.
There is such conflict, and, insofar, it is a conflict between faiths; not between faith and reason, or between faith and science, but between faith and faith; for scientific method itself goes back to faith of its own kind, in the form of acquiescence in the mechanism of custom.
Which is right it is, presumably, impossible to say except from a scientific point of view or from a religious point of view. We may prefer one, insist on it, despise those who deviate from it in favor of the other; but there is no higher court. Such is Hume’s skepticism.
W. V. Quine, “Lectures on Hume’s Philosophy,” Confessions of a Confirmed Extensionalist (Harvard 2008), 112-113 (emphasis his).