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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Dismantling Dawkins's Case Against God

I've been enjoying Scott Hahn and Benjamin Wiker's Answering the New Atheism.

When Mario's and my agent suggested that we write an Introduction to The Spiritual Brain, our editor suggested I read Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion.

I felt that Delusion was - like most "new atheist" works - far inferior to the earlier generation of such works by such figures as Bertrand Russell or Antony Flew. The new atheists have inherited that self-righteous post-Sixties vehemence which doubtless feels good to the venter and those who share the venter's views, but makes no new point and advances no worthwhile discussion. Anyway, Hahn and Wiker write,
For anyone who has read his other works, The God Delusion is a decided letdown. It is caustic and peevish, rather than genuinely witty or insightful, and has the feel of a book dashed off by someone who is annoyed that his opponents still exist and can barely condescend to dismiss them. As a result, The God Delusionis filled with self-congratulatory smugness appropriate to gala dinners thrown by people of the same tightly-wound (pp. 4-5) intellectual circle who, after too much wine, trade in spiteful quips about the incomprehensible stupidity of anyone not sharing their opinions.
Antony Flew has gone as far as to call Dawkins a bigot,
An academic attacking some ideological position which s/he believes to be mistaken must of course attack that position in its strongest form. This Dawkins does not do in the case of Einstein and his failure is the crucial index of his insincerity of academic purpose and therefore warrants me in charging him with having become, what he has probably believed to be an impossibility, a secularist bigot.
I thought Hahn and Wiker's cover (below) hilarious, and hope you agree.

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