Alan Watts. I picked up The Wisdom of Insecurity from my bookshelf which I probably read twenty years ago when I was in a big AW phase. The first chapter strikes directly at the collision between science and religion in ways that seem resonant of Dawkins but much more respectful to the delusional (Watts began his career in the seminary). Here's a snippet I found interesting:
There is nothing, indeed, to prove that there is no God, but the burden of proof rests with those who propose the idea. If, the scientists would say, you believe in God, you must do so on purely emotional grounds, without basis in logic or fact. Practically speaking, this may amount to atheism. Theoretically, it is simple agnosticism. For it is of the essence of scientific honesty that you do not pretend to know what you do not know, and of the essence of scientific method that you do not employ hypotheses which cannot be tested.
The last sentence seems an elegant refutation of the perspective that Kurt Wise's decision to abandon evolution due to it's irreconcilability with the Bible was in any way scientifically honest or legitimate.
Further on in the first chapter Watts draws a distinction between belief and faith that I found startling.
We must here make a clear distinction between belief and faith, because in general practice, belief has come to mean a state of mind which is almost the opposite of faith. Belief, as I use the word here, is the insistence that the truth is what one would "lief" or wish it to be. The believer will open his mind to the truth on condition that it fits in with his preconceived ideas and wishes. Faith, on the other hand, is an unreserved opening of the mind to the truth, whatever it may turn out to be. Faith has no preconceptions; it is a plunge into the unknown. Belief clings, but faith lets go. In this sense of the word, faith is the essential virtue of science, and likewise of any religion that is not self-deception.
I'm not sure what dictionary Watts was using, but the online Free Dictionary has six definitions of faith, four of which are based on belief and the other two nothing like what Watts claims it means. It seems to me that what Watts is describing here is the genuine spirit of unfettered scientific inquiry itself ("no preconceptions" "a plunge into the unknown"). His use of this definition of faith has me re-thinking my faithlessness. I suppose I have to call myself a SPLB (Spiritual Progressive Lacking Belief) rather than a SPLF. Too bad since I kind of have a warm spot for spliffs.